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Summary

A. A. Gill's memoir begins in the dark of a dormitory with six strangers. He is an alcoholic, dying in the last-chance saloon - driven to dry out, not out of a desire to change but mainly through weariness. He tells the truth - as far as he can remember it - about drinking and about what it is like to be drunk.

Pour Me is about the blackouts, the collapse, the despair: 'Pockets were a constant source of surprise - a lamb chop, a votive candle, earrings, notes written on paper and ripped from books' and even, once, a pigeon. 'Morning pockets,' he says, 'were like tiny crime scenes.' He recalls the lost days, lost friends, failed marriages.... But there was also 'an optimum inebriation, a time when it was all golden, when the drink and the pleasure made sense and were brilliant'.

Sobriety regained, there are painterly descriptions of people and places, unforgettable musings about childhood and family, art and religion, friendships and fatherhood and, most movingly, the connections between his cooking, dyslexia and his missing brother.

Full of raw and unvarnished truths, exquisitely written throughout, Pour Me is about lost time and self-discovery. Lacerating, unflinching, uplifting, it is a classic about drunken abandon.

Read by Dougray Scott.

©2015 A. A. Gill (P)2017 Orion Publishing Group

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The author would not approve

...of an old sentimentalist writing a review of a critic’s work, but I find it difficult to listen to this without missing the honesty, wit and style of A A Gill.

This book is a fine example of his work and reminded me of what I miss every Sunday morning.

3 people found this helpful

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'Every long, hallowed word'


Michele deserves to be named and credited for this, and all of Adrian Gill’s writing. Gill is severely dyslexic, writes on screen and then dictates it all to her. If he leaves it on screen for more than a couple of weeks, he can’t interpret it. This memoir isn’t really a book as a consequence, it’s a kaleidoscopic torrent of engaging, witty, always engaging, disorderly, dictated experiences which may or not be true, anecdotes and musings. This makes it particularly successful on audio. Dougray Scott’s spot-on narration rattles along at high speed, but he mangles many words and his attempt at French (louche, raconteur…) is rubbish. A pity.

Words are Gill’s life blood and this memoir is led by words and not chronology as he darts about from childhood (born in the hospital where Burke and Hare sold their corpses; learning the ‘kiddy patois of internment’ at his boarding school for dyslexics; failure at art school (where the life model’s ‘histrionically hideous’ scrotum dangled to his knees); failure at various jobs including in a Soho sex shop; years of alcoholism until stopping drinking at aged 30 (having been told he wouldn’t see Christmas if he didn’t); years of brilliant journalism; the disappearance of his chef-brother (still a source of deep anguish); the birth of his children and his visceral love for them (very moving); his religion (finding transubstantiation in oil and egg becoming mayonnaise)…. It goes on and on.

Similes (many 30 words long or more as the words spill out like lava) pour out from Gill as generously as he once poured the drink down his throat. Although they can be overdone or just silly, they usually make you laugh. The copy editors discuss sex (one described being ‘shagged by a minaret’ ); the Tatler editor’s smile is ‘like a string of pearls breaking into a urinal’ ; snobbery is like ‘peeing in your pants.’ He’s full of garnered facts – did you know humans are the only species who can eat and make eye contact at the same time?

There are some brilliant parts: one which had particular punch and insight for me was the impassioned talk he gave to a group of dyslexic children - the English language is ‘bigger than any god ever imagined’; words are ‘subtle as dew on a web’ – showing them that they CAN access its riches. Gill certainly has.

5 people found this helpful

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Great Story, Horrible Telling...

If you want to read this then I would recommend the physical copy. Mr. Dooogray Scott's narration must have been done in a single take because it is listless and, as many people have said, full of errors.

Fascinating author though. Can't fault the content.

1 person found this helpful

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Sobering

I love AAGill's way with words, and his own story is no exception. Amazing that he managed to bring himself back from the brink with no remission for the rest of his life. Smoking 60 a day is telling of his addictive personality and most likely contributed to his final illness. If you enjoyed his stark writing, this book will make you both laugh and cry.

1 person found this helpful

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Disappointing

Nothing much here. The narrator has a completely different accent to A.A.Gill and just reads it out like he is reading out some boriing rules. Why choose someone with a regional accent? Only stories from when he was very young - nothing about his later life.

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Blood and Wine

Engaging but uneven narrative, for what made AA Gill a great columnist restrains his longer prose, here and elsewhere. He is insightful and often sardonically amusing on a range of subjects, from his own alcoholism to education, but - as he admits - he can't quite rein himself in. The result is wildly uneven, yet there are deeply affecting, perceptive passages such as his account of his lost brother, Nick. Dougray Scott seems a slightly strange choice for narrator, with some bizarre pronunciations throughout, yet he keeps the pace brisk and lively. Gill's untimely death adds poignancy to the recording. An affecting, honest yet optimistic memoir, and not too long.

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A Man of Letters reflects...

Wistful and poignant with great passages of warmth and humour amidst the sadness. His parents, his brother and the Tatler stand out. Also, the war reporting. The depiction of alcoholism is gut wrenching like watching a train wreck.

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superb

Thoughtful and lyrical narration of a full and complex life. AA Gill, a journalist that WILL be remembered.

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Rambling and tedious

Could have been a good book but ruined for me by constant rambling on and going off on tangents - just not for me

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Pour me a life.

I absolutely loved it. Recommended by a good friend. I wonderful moving book. A fantastic writer and great Narrator. Thoroughly recommend!

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  • Florence
  • 11-08-21

Sumptuously written and read

Going to listen to this again, it’s piece of literary art, I love Adrian’s voice, his thoughtfulness, ideas and raw honesty. There’s great humour too.

Dougray Scott is a wonderful actor and reader, he brings the book and characters alive with his accents, emphasis, and timing - just sumptuous the book and his voice are a perfect match. Loved it and highly recommend it.