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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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... and told him to fuck off. Back at school the boy became an instant celebrity. We acknowledged Julie Burchill 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, and came to represent for us the biological energy of ...


Jenny Diski, 5 November 1992

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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... So, Madonna fails as the queen of self-revelation, but she’s not the only girl in the game. Julie Burchill 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 words or less what ...

Bully off

Susannah Clapp, 5 November 1992

by Shena Mackay.
Heinemann, 341 pp., £14.99, July 1992, 0 434 44048 5
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... not praised in the unexpected eulogy bestowed upon Mackay by the pit-bull of the literary pages Julie Burchill 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 world today’. Plot has never been a central attraction ...

She Who Can Do No Wrong

Jenny Turner, 6 August 1992

Curriculum Vitae 
by Muriel Spark.
Constable, 213 pp., £14.95, July 1992, 0 09 469650 0
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... biological destiny. Dorothy Parker did this with brilliance and bitterness, and so in her way does Julie Burchill. 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 yourself; and who’s ever going to fall in love with a ...

Short Cuts

Daniel Soar: The Big Issue, 20 September 2001

... violence, deaths in police custody and poverty. But there are funny bits and star turns too. Julie Burchill 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 editors have included Damien Hirst and David Bailey ...

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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... indecision), Penman might have been tempted by hubris. He could have come to believe, along with Julie Burchill, 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 without worrying too much what he is writing ...

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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... and journalists – Suzanne Moore, Linda Grant, Joan Smith, Beatrix Campbell, Susie Orbach, even Julie Burchill – 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 opposed to commentators, remains and New Labour women ...

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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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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... not thwarted ambition. In fact Ambition would surely have been the best title for this memoir if Julie Burchill 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 Branagh, as he ...

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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... and Thatcher. Blue Nun flows in torrents. Countercultural types speak fondly of Richard Branson. Julie Burchill 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 and a couple of unresolved mysteries. A TV version is ...


Stephanie Burt: My Life as Stephanie, 11 April 2013

... Moore, who responded intemperately on Twitter and in the Guardian. Moore and her defenders – Julie Burchill 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-born women’ – implied not only that transwomen ...

My Castaway This Week

Miranda Carter: Desert Island Dreams, 9 June 2022

... question.I particularly admire her interview from 2013 with the famously abrasive journalist Julie Burchill, who announces from the off her disgust for soft emotions and says she revels in conflict. ‘Vitriol comes naturally to me. I get a mild parasexual thrill when I start a new feud.’ Young says she doesn’t believe her, implying she’s in ...

Utterly in Awe

Jenny Turner: Lynn Barber, 5 June 2014

A Curious Career 
by Lynn Barber.
Bloomsbury, 224 pp., £16.99, May 2014, 978 1 4088 3719 1
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... in this book, and Muriel Spark (1990). She leaves them, maybe, feeling – as she wrote in 2004 of Julie Burchill – 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 loving of my own ...
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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... Sex Pistols (1978), a snapshot album with trashy, knowing captions and Tony Parsons and Julie Burchill’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 form. Greil Marcus’s much-admired and equally mocked ...

New Looks, New Newspapers

Peter Campbell, 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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... magazines. In this case, despite the fact that the magazine printed the work of journalists like Julie Burchill 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 ammunition. The life-style shorthand is highly ...

About as Useful as a String Condom

Glen Newey: Bum Decade for the Royals, 23 January 2003

... a second-hand one at that. The phrase was coined by the dreck columnist and penny dreadful author Julie Burchill, 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 for the label’s durability is the Government’s ...

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