Sunday, May 22, 2011

Missing AA Gill

The writer AA Gill is in town for the Sydney Writer's Week which concludes today. Infamous for once blasting a baboon to death to 'see how it felt' the grovelling to the scribe around town was embarrassing. The Shuttle missed his interview on Thursday (one of the few events that wasn't sold out) and we lost count of the number of restaurant workers phoning us to impart the news that "AA Gill is here eating "

Even at the launch party at Porteno for the second season of Foxtel's 'Spirited' a waiter collared the Shuttle and solemnly informed us that Gill was downstairs if we wished "to pop down and get a snap  ". We passed.

We did manage to hear him on radio being interviewed by local foodie God and long time Shuttle pal Tony Bilson along with American ex-chef Anthony Bourdain . When Bilson commented that large food corporations were colluding to force manufacturers to list ingredients and that he believed it was a conspiracy to drive small providers out of business Gill launched into a diatribe about the importance of those tiny lists on the side of products. Ten minutes later when Bilson defended vegetarians Gill railed against foodies who included endless claims about the ingredients their nosh was complied of.

Emma Forrest
Later when a female audience member asked a question and Gill interrupted, she scolded him with "oh shut-up Anthony, you're no better than some yapping kid at the back of the bus ". The applause was deafening.

We did make it to the small cocktail party given by the advertising agency BWM for American /English writer Emma Forrest. Emma has just published an autobiography Your Voice In My Head.

Forrest was diagnosed as a manic depressive (bi-polar!) at 14 and began self harming, slashing her legs and arms.

She became fascinated and obsessed by sex whilst being repulsed by it and remained virginal until she finally flung herself into a series of destructive relationships. Emma wouldn't confirm or deny that the 'famous actor who broke her heart' was the long rumored Colin Farrell-she simply told us that she 'knows and likes his work'.
Emma now writes movie scripts and lives between New York and Beverley Hills. 
"I couldn't handle the grey skies of London anymore "said Emma when the Shuttle commented on her breezy outlook for someone who had gotten off an 18 hour flight at 11am that morning.

"I love LA, no matter who bad it is the sun always shines. This morning I bounded off the plane when I saw the brilliant sunshine".

She told us of the interview she once did with Brad Pitt who told her obsessively of how he and Angelina Jolie wanted to have a 'surrogate' baby. The following day Pitt phoned and left a voicemail message asking her to phone him urgently. 2 more messages followed over the same number of days. She never called him back. She thought he may ask her to have his baby !

Murdoch : "you're fired!'
Your Voice in My Head  is to be made into a film. I asked Emma who she would like to play her in the film
"Cate Blanchet" she responded." but when I told the producers they said 'oh no'. It doesn't matter that Blanchet has won Oscars. They don't know her in Middle America. They only know 2 actresses- Sandra Bullock and Julia Roberts"

Honourable mentions at writer's week : * Booker Prize winner Howard Jacobson in discussion with Frank Moorhouse celebrating the return of the comic mode in fiction. Brilliant.
 *Elisabeth Wynhausen and Bruce Guthrie telling Mike Carlton about the shock and the fury of getting fired by Rupert Murdoch. Very funny.