09 May 2012
Surely an expert's expertise is the thing they should be judged on, not their appearance.
Is it official that AA Gill is a cunt?
I assume it's not only my opinion...
The DH and I watched the third episode of Meet the Romans on our DVD recorder this lunchtime, and I fired off an email to Mary to say how much I'd enjoyed it. And only then did I find out about the 'AA Gill insults Mary Beard' controversy.
Nasty little shite that he is.
I've only read selected quotes from his article because I'm not about to subscribe to anything owned by Satan And All His Works, so the Sunday Times has long been out of my orbit. But what I've read is both nasty and cruel.
Well, AA Gill can go fuck himself, frankly.
Aside from the fact that it's utterly irrelevant to the job in question, personally I have always loved Mary's car-crash style, especially as I'm a bit of a fashion queen myself. Thirty years ago, she had the same fantastic dress sense she has now - I remember her once turning up to college in a gold disco skirt and blue striped rugby socks. She always gave the (accurate, I think) impression that she'd just picked up the nearest things she found lying around. And always the trademark flat shoes (for riding a bike), long hair (brown in those days) and no bra.
Fag in one hand and quite often a bottle of wine in the other, she was foul-mouthed, erudite, witty and as far removed from my preconceived notions of a lecturer as you could hope to get. Exasperated beyond measure by my idiocy (she once told me I couldn't organise myself out of a paper bag), she introduced me to retsina; the beaujolais nouveau cure for incipient flu; and the concept that I should never fuck anyone less than 25 years older than me (in the latter case we had to agree to differ...).
All of we students loved her, but Mary's finest attribute both then and now is her thundering intelligence - something with which Gill is perhaps unfamiliar in women. It is a delight to see her again on TV after all these years, still erudite, still fascinating, still pulling Fuck Me Rigid moments out of a hat. And I am heartened that so many people have spoken up in defence of her. Documentary programmes should be presented by experts, and Mary is one of the best in her field - a return to the golden age when TV was informative and not just mindless entertainment. We NEED more women - and men - like this on television. Where is the wonderful, cigar-chewing Maggie Hambling these days, for instance? Can we have her back too?
Mary's programme, while it lasted, was one of the few hours of TV per week that I had permitted myself to indulge in: I hope that she makes another series too.