Julie Burchill

Julie Burchill

Making Marilyn by Julie Burchill and Daniel Raven debuts on Brighton Pier May 2024 – book here!

JK Rowling and the Cass report reckoning

Boyish girls, climb the nearest tree and give a Tarzan whoop of victory – girly boys, fashion a floral crown and caper copiously. Thanks to the Cass Report, failing to follow sexist stereotypes (which decree that girls play with dolls and boys play with themselves) will no longer get you marched off to the sex-correction

Why we pity beautiful women

What do we talk about when we talk about Marilyn Monroe? Sex, death and everything in between. Unlike other legendary film stars from Garbo to Bardot, Monroe has become (to use that awful and over-popular word) ‘iconic’ – which is ‘problematic’ in itself. Being recognisable as a hank of blonde hair and a white dress failing

Youth is wasted on our anxious young

The old should envy the young; it’s part of the natural order of things. When I was young, I was gloriously aware that old people (anyone over 30) envied me; though I was a virgin until I went to That London at 17, my mum and her mates thought I was up to all sorts

What happened to the working class?

The Sunday Times’s headline for the obituary of Edward Bond earlier this month was striking: ‘Briton who rose from a working class background to make an indelible mark on Theatreland.’ The month before that, the playwright Bernard Kops joined the majority, and I was interested to read in the Guardian that ‘both his father, Joel,

The art of the flounce

With Owen Jones very huffily leaving the Labour party, I was moved to examine the state of The Flounce in public life de nos jours. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it thus: 1. To move with exaggerated jerky or bouncy motions (‘flounced about the room, jerking her shoulders, gesticulating’ – Agatha Christie)2. To move so as

In praise of bin men

I’ve always had a soft spot for bin men – or refuse collectors as we generally call them these days. It used to be dustmen, as I remember from the song by Lonnie Donegan in my infancy: ‘Oh, my old man’s a dust man/He wears a dust man’s hat/He wears “cor blimey” trousers/And he lives

The monstrous beauty of Nico

Few things sum up the chasm between childhood and adolescence more poignantly than our changing relationship with music. One minute life is all familial cuddles and nursery rhymes – the next it’s all parental alienation and rock’n’roll. One year I was eagerly buying the records of Pinky & Perky, the next those of Dave Dee

Terfs are the new punks

‘PUNK’S NOT DEAD!’ I will sometimes write as a sign-off on emails to mates when I’ve said something particularly ‘bad’. It’s something of a joke with me; although I was around the scene early on (1976) and started my career off as a 17-year-old writing about punk, I didn’t much like it. I liked black

Geri Halliwell can never be wrong

Watching the current scandal around Christian Horner play out, I didn’t feel any of the glee I usually do when tabloids dissect the private lives of well-known people. (To be fair, I had zero sympathy for myself when the Daily Mail did it to me, twice – if you dish it out, you’d better be able to

Show-off vicars are ruining the Church of England

It’s generally my morning habit to leap out of bed at 5am singing the Queen song ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’, but on those rare mornings when I sleep in, nothing can be guaranteed to finally get me moving at 5.43am as surely as Radio 4’s Prayer For The Day. One of two things will happen;

The enduring ghastliness of Alastair Campbell

As someone who was fond of Derek Draper (a feeling that probably wasn’t mutual, as I nicked his bird) it was strange to see photographs of his funeral. It seemed like a state occasion for some legendary leader who had died in battle defending his country, rather than for the husband of a likeable TV

The welcome demise of the smug shop

Though I believe that people who use the phrase ‘retail therapy’ should probably have their voting rights removed, I do like shops – the lights and the people and the chatter. My mum was a shopgirl for much of her life and the only other job I’ve had apart from being a writer was as a teenage

The torment of British Jews

When I was a child, learning about the Holocaust, I used to believe that what happened to the Jews in Germany could never happen here. My reasons for this were vague and cultural; Dad’s Army, comic operetta contrasted with Wagner, the sheer silliness of Hitler’s strutting. No country with a sense of humour could ever surely

The fetishisation of failure

Awhile back, I followed the career of the writer Elizabeth Day, but not in a good way; rather, I followed it much as a fly must have followed a muck-cart in the olden days. Her column for the Mail on Sunday, from 2018 to 2021, was quite probably the worst column ever to appear in

In praise of Kemi Badenoch

Whenever international affairs are proving particularly ‘interesting’ there’s always some clown who pipes up with ‘Oh, if only women ruled the world – it would be so peaceful!’ But females can be every bit as keen on a ding-dong or a dust-up as men; in fact, I’d say that women who try to push the

Who doesn’t love a good catfight?

Was I the only person who felt a flash of disappointment when a source said of the imminent Girls Aloud re-union that ‘No one wants it to be a catfight’? Obvs I don’t just want a catfight – they’re the best girl group ever, so they are artists and women of substance. But just a

Once you wear black, you’ll never go back

Like most clever people, I’m not over-fussed about clothing; there have been numerous studies showing that successful types – unless they’re in entertainment, showbiz or fashion itself, obvs – tend to wear the same thing every day. Whenever I hear the phrase ‘I like to express myself through what I wear’ I know we’re dealing

Brighton shows why you shouldn’t vote Labour

I surely wasn’t the only citizen of Brighton and Hove who breathed a sigh of relief when the Green council was turfed out by Labour last May after years of misrule. To be fair, it had been a bit of a semi-farcical pass-the-parcel situation for quite some time. Labour caved to the Greens in the