Posted by: debrakolkka | July 20, 2011

Do you read A A Gill?

I first started reading A A Gill’s travel articles in Australian Gourmet Traveller. He writes the best stories about travel. He is honest and doesn’t always give places glowing reports. His writing is always interesting and often very funny.

I have just bought his book A A Gill,  Here & There and I love it. One of my favourite stories is the one called Big, bold Budapest, especially this bit.

“The city has a deep, abiding rythm. Gypsy violinists lurk wherever two tables are gathered. The ancient syncopated extortionists of Middle Europe, they stalk the alleys of restaurants and cafes with the insouciant mission of mafia hit-men. I watched one large, gold incisored grinning fiddler intimidate a Japanese tourist with lightning bow work flicked past the poor man’s head like a samuri sword. His victim reached into his pocket and handed over his wallet. The violinist picked out three or four of the juiciest notes and bowed before shimmering off like a hungry shark, trailing Mendelssohn behind him.”

I don’t know about you, but I can see this scene unfolding before me and I can definitely see the fiddler sauntering off, happy with the spoils, his gold teeth glinting in the light of a street lamp. I even feel inclined to head off to Budapest to search for him.

Do yourselves a favour and look for A A Gill.


  1. I will be on the look out for this book. Budapest was our last European city on our recent trip. It is one of the most vibrant cities and like the Japanese tourist we were almost assaulted by musicians at a restaurant in an old brewery underground – imagine the cacophony of sounds that could not escape those walls. We would go back in a heart beat – maybe for a little revenge, but mostly to enjoy more of this lively and beautiful cities.

    • There is a bit about Bratislava later in this story, which I didn’t repeat that is very funny. I’m sure you will love A A Gill’s stories.

  2. I love A A Gill’s play on words! Please share the Bratislava bit with us. I agree that books do leap alive when written wittily and well. I’ll definitely get his book. Thanks for sharing Mr Gill with us., Deb!

    • I will email it to you.

  3. Looks good – will check it out.
    Another good book is ” Fork It Over” by Alan Richman. ( American)

    • I will look for it. Thanks.

  4. AWESOME – love the gill

    • His new book is great. You will love it.

  5. Now that made me laugh! I’ll look out for the book – thanks for the headsup, Deb!

    • I really like his take on travel. It is not always rosy.

  6. love it. Thanks Debra, will look out for the book.

    • I find his style of writing very entertaining.

  7. Yes Ma’am. I’m on it!!!! 🙂

  8. Yes it is very vivid indeed! A friend of mine wasn’t such a fan of the book though. I’m having dinner with her tonight and ask her why.

    • I guess it is not your average travel writing. Everybody likes something different.

  9. I have read articles by him before and found them very interesting. I did not realise he had a book out, next time I am in a book store will look out for it. Thanks Debra.

    • It is a collection of short articles about his travels and thoughts. I really like his writing.

  10. That’s some excellent writing – I’ll be keeping him in mind next time I’m looking for a new read.

    • I’m sure you will like his writing.

  11. Seeing the world through AA Gill’s eyes is fun. I was imagining what I would do if I was being given a good ‘bowing-over’ in Budapest. Peter plays Blues harmonica (not many people know that). He could whip out his harmonica and I could do my syncopated rendition of unhappy-cat-on-a-hot-tin-roof which might very well ping Mr Gold Tooth’s fiddling strings.

    • I’d like to see that.

  12. I loved the one on Rome & Italian men – particularly about the European Soccer Cup & the lack of hairdryers in the change rooms – so Italian – especially & ‘your point was’ !!!!so good

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