Gary Rhodes and the problem with attention

I need not tell anyone tuned into the food media world that Gary Rhodes passed away a few days ago.

Outpourings from fellow chefs have been prolific (including an apparently ill-judged tweet – since deleted – from Jamie Oliver mentioning a “tragic fall” before the official cause of death had been confirmed as a “brain bleed”).

Rhodes (or Gary?) was always on my radar as an early TV chef as I was trying to figure out what on earth made people who knew how to cook food into celebrities – plus, I enjoyed his spiky hair and funky trousers.

But then he, much like Keith Floyd, pretty much disappeared from the media scene. And much like “colleagues” rushed to claim Floyd as an amazing inspiration when he died (even though they had pretty much ignored him for all the years that he was wasting away in France), now everyone from Ramsay to Oliver to Prue Leith is singing Rhodes’ praises:

Don’t get me wrong: the praise for Gary Rhodes is entirely appropriate, and his early death very sad. But public demonstrations of care only in response to tragedy are just another reminder of how often we forget to show that we give a shit when it actually matters – like when people are alive to appreciate admiration from their peers.

More plausibly, and sadly, these comments are just bids for a place in the hollow attention game – I didn’t much care much about this person in life, but I *must* be part of the conversation of their demise.

We are truly not well.

One Reply to “Gary Rhodes and the problem with attention”

  1. As always, a great post Signe. So many hollow words, it seems. Maybe both Floyd and Rhodes are best remembered by the ‘real’ lives they touched. From Keith Floyd, I will always remember that “a wine is not good enough to cook with if it is not good enough to drink”; Gary Rhodes taught me the secret to a really good chicken mayo sandwich and how to make a decadent risotto! Plus he taught me you didn’t have to permanently rant and swear in the kitchen to get produce a good dish.

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