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Young Ones

Hugh Barnes

5 June 1986
Damaged Gods 
by Julie Burchill.
Century, 152 pp., £8.95, March 1986, 0 7126 1140 1
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Love it or shove it: The Best of Julie​ Burchill 
Century, 148 pp., £3.95, September 1985, 0 7126 0746 3Show More
Girls on Film 
by Julie Burchill.
Virgin, 192 pp., £5.99, March 1986, 9780863691348
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Less than Zero 
by Bret Easton Ellis.
Picador, 208 pp., £2.95, February 1986, 0 330 29400 8
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... Sid Vicious emerged, and our friend launched into his adoring volley of abuse. Sid took one look, snarled and told him to fuck off. Back at school the boy became an instant celebrity. We acknowledged JulieBurchill as the archetypal punk. She was self-regarding, bolshy and judgmental, and we were her proselytes. Every Friday in the New Musical Express she meted out punishment to ideological offenders ...

Don’t

Jenny Diski

5 November 1992
Sex 
by Madonna.
Secker, 128 pp., £25, October 1992, 0 436 27084 6
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Sex and Sensibility 
by Julie Burchill.
Grafton, 269 pp., £5.99, October 1992, 0 00 637858 7
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Too hot to handle 
by Fiona Pitt-Kethley.
Peter Owen, 134 pp., £15.50, November 1992, 0 7206 0875 9
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... parts at the camera, giggling, or trying to look very serious, and the Michelin man seems more enticing. So, Madonna fails as the queen of self-revelation, but she’s not the only girl in the game. JulieBurchill has a book out, too. Airing opinions in magazines and tabloids is another kind of stripping bare. Burchill, more than anybody, yells, ‘This is me’ as she tells you in fifteen hundred ...

Bully off

Susannah Clapp

5 November 1992
Dunedin 
by Shena Mackay.
Heinemann, 341 pp., £14.99, July 1992, 0 434 44048 5
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... helps to make Dunedin as original as any of Mackay’s earlier books. It was one of the few things not praised in the unexpected eulogy bestowed upon Mackay by the pit-bull of the literary pages JulieBurchill when, in Elle magazine, she dismissed other contemporary women authors as ‘a mannered, marginal bunch of second bananas’, and went on to proclaim Mackay as ‘the best writer in the ...

Short Cuts

Daniel Soar: The Big Issue

20 September 2001
... editions, now sells 250,000 copies a week. There has been good journalism on drug addiction, domestic violence, deaths in police custody and poverty. But there are funny bits and star turns too. JulieBurchill has been a contributor; so has Noam Chomsky. It hit the big time a while ago, with sought-after interviews with the Stone Roses and George Michael (‘breaking a six-year silence’). Guest ...
6 August 1992
Curriculum Vitae 
by Muriel Spark.
Constable, 213 pp., £14.95, July 1992, 0 09 469650 0
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... head-on but with the necessary protective clothing, with the horror she seems to feel for her biological destiny. Dorothy Parker did this with brilliance and bitterness, and so in her way does JulieBurchill. If you’re not grossly fat you’re probably too thin, and with a nasty skinny mind to go with it. If you’re not irredeemably stupid you’re no doubt so sharp you’ll end up cutting ...

Making It

Melissa Benn: New Feminism?

5 February 1998
Different for Girls: How Culture Creates Women 
by Joan Smith.
Chatto, 176 pp., £10.99, September 1997, 9780701165123
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The New Feminism 
by Natasha Walter.
Little, Brown, 278 pp., £17.50, January 1998, 0 316 88234 8
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A Century of Women: The History of Women in Britain and the United States 
by Sheila Rowbotham.
Penguin, 752 pp., £20, June 1997, 0 670 87420 5
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... photographs, radio and television appearances have done their bit and an array of cultural critics and journalists – Suzanne Moore, Linda Grant, Joan Smith, Beatrix Campbell, Susie Orbach, even JulieBurchill – have established a niche in newspaper and broadcast journalism. Others, like Lynne Segal and Lisa Jardine, have climbed the academic ladder. Even so, the shortage of media stars, as ...

Openly reticent

Jonathan Coe

9 November 1989
Grand Inquisitor: Memoirs 
by Robin Day.
Weidenfeld, 296 pp., £14.95, October 1989, 0 297 79660 7
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Beginning 
by Kenneth Branagh.
Chatto, 244 pp., £12.99, September 1989, 0 7011 3388 0
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Storm over 4: A Personal Account 
by Jeremy Isaacs.
Weidenfeld, 215 pp., £14.95, September 1989, 0 297 79538 4
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... this is a book about thwarted ambition. Which brings us on to Kenneth Branagh. Ambition, that is, not thwarted ambition. In fact Ambition would surely have been the best title for this memoir if JulieBurchill hadn’t gone and beaten him to it. For the characters in Burchill’s little novel, after all, ambition is really nothing more than the sum of their routine material aspirations: but for ...

Secretly Sublime

Iain Sinclair: The Great Ian Penman

19 March 1998
Vital Signs 
by Ian Penman.
Serpent’s Tail, 374 pp., £10.99, February 1998, 1 85242 523 7
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... middle-English middle name (like those cricketers whose superfluous initials signal careers of fretful indecision), Penman might have been tempted by hubris. He could have come to believe, along with JulieBurchill, who kicks in an Introduction to Vital Signs, Penman’s eclectic retrievals from time lost, that he had become a ‘signature’. A logo. A mark. A neon sign that culture buffs will chase ...

Hindsight Tickling

Christopher Tayler: Disappointing sequels

21 October 2004
The Closed Circle 
by Jonathan Coe.
Viking, 433 pp., £17.99, September 2004, 0 670 89254 8
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... cast get out and see history in the making – picket lines, the National Front, the coming of punk and Thatcher. Blue Nun flows in torrents. Countercultural types speak fondly of Richard Branson. JulieBurchill and Tony Parsons are hip. In other words, there’s a fair amount of easy, nostalgic, hindsight-tickling fun, combined with multiple coming-of-age tales, some forecasts of political gloom ...

Diary

Stephanie Burt: My Life as Stephanie

11 April 2013
... transsexual’. Trans people of all body shapes, and our allies, turned some of their anger towards Moore, who responded intemperately on Twitter and in the Guardian. Moore and her defenders – JulieBurchill wrote in an article published and then retracted by the Observer that transwomen were just men who wanted to have their ‘cock cut off and then plead special privileges … above natural ...

Utterly in Awe

Jenny Turner: Lynn Barber

4 June 2014
A Curious Career 
by Lynn Barber.
Bloomsbury, 224 pp., £16.99, May 2014, 978 1 4088 3719 1
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... a little nervous – though she pretends not to be – around the hedgehogs, such as Hilary Mantel, in this book, and Muriel Spark (1990). She leaves them, maybe, feeling – as she wrote in 2004 of JulieBurchill – that ‘she has frittered her talent away.’ ‘But at the end of the day,’ Burchill said when Barber put this to her, ‘when my little spellcheck’s on, the pleasure from the ...
19 December 1991
England’s dreaming: The Sex Pistols and Punk Rock 
by Jon Savage.
Faber, 602 pp., £17.50, October 1991, 0 571 13975 2
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... Punk rock has been dealt with in print in three main ways. Early artefacts like Fred and Judy Vermorel’s Sex Pistols (1978), a snapshot album with trashy, knowing captions and Tony Parsons and JulieBurchill’s The boy looked at Johnny (also 1978), a book of scurrilous mythologies adapted from Kenneth Anger’s Hollywood Babylon, are elegantly tacky and anti-intellectual exercises in mimetic ...
2 June 1988
The Graphic Language of Neville Brody 
by Jon Wozencroft.
Thames and Hudson, 160 pp., £14.95, April 1988, 0 500 27496 7
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The Making of the ‘Independent’ 
by Michael Crozier.
Gordon Fraser, 128 pp., £8.95, May 1988, 0 86092 107 7
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... readings – the cartoons and text in the New Yorker, for example, or the ads and the text in consumer magazines. In this case, despite the fact that the magazine printed the work of journalists like JulieBurchill who were in their way quite as aggressive as Brody, it was the visual style which made the greater mark. In the battle for attention, shorthand versions of long messages are essential ...

About as Useful as a String Condom

Glen Newey: Bum Decade for the Royals

23 January 2003
... have been the Channel tunnel. Even then the ‘People’s Princess’ was not merely an oxymoron, but a second-hand one at that. The phrase was coined by the dreck columnist and penny dreadful author JulieBurchill, who in Diana’s later years cast herself in the role of damp-knickered schoolgirl to Di’s dashing gym mistress. Even so, the People’s Princess tag stuck. Not least among the reasons ...
30 October 1997
... But here the circumstances do look fairly conclusive. The demise was of, not merely in, the erstwhile national family. During the period of death agony, from 1990 to 1997, popular feeling, as JulieBurchill first pointed out in the Modern Review in 1992, had become displaced onto the figure of Diana. She was the royal who wasn’t: as everyone said, a ‘modern’ personality in flight from the waxwork ...

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