A A Gill is paid to write entertaining reviews. The public love it when he puts the boot in and I suppose it’s easier for him if the venom comes from the depth of his soul. Truth and objectivity can’t get much of a look in when you have to write something amusing every week of the year.
When it comes to reviews of gardens, we have the opposite problem. Everyone is so damn nice. I had a bit of a rant about this when I wrote about Monty Don’s never-ending niceness in his series on Italian gardens and I was delighted to see Anne Wareham pick up the baton in her piece in the Spectator about The Laskett. She wrote about how exasperated she gets when she hears all the endless unthinking praise which is heaped on a garden which, in her opinion, is so second rate.
Anne Wareham is dead right in asking for a little bit more truthfulness and objectivity in reviews of gardens, but from the reaction of the gardening establishment you’d have thought that she had committed treason. Andrew Lawson, a garden writer, in a letter to the Spectator, said that she belonged to the “taste gestapo” and that her views were “poisonous”. AA Gill would be proud.