Julie Burchill Julie Burchill

An over-flogged horse

She tried moving to the country to get away from the subject — only to be forced back to it by play-it-safe publishers

On paper, Candace Bushnell and the medieval warlord El Cid don’t have a lot in common. The first made a fortune from persuading a generation of women that brunch with a bunch of broads was something to aspire to. The second scrapped his way through Spain, eventually establishing an independent principality. But the thing film fans recall about the latter is that immediately after his death he was propped up on his noble mount one more time to inspire his weary troops into battle. The story may be apocryphal, but while reading Is There Still Sex in the City? I couldn’t get the image out of my head. It isn’t salubrious to see a fine writer strapped to the same old over-flogged horse and sent out once again as the standard-bearer for sexy sexagenarians.

It’s hardly as though there were no warning signs that the Sex and the City shtick had had its day. In the Guardian in 2015, Peter Preston wrote:

There are moments in journalism when a whole genre hits the buffers. Welcome to ‘It’s a Date’ in the Sunday Times Style mag  — the last knockings of the Candace Bushnell Academy of Sexual Disclosure.

Those who have persisted in carrying on creakily have become increasingly embarrassing. One thinks of poor Liz Jones at the Mail, who still writes in the breathless manner of Carrie Bradshaw but now with the added benefits of growing a post-menopausal beard while dating old blokes with prostate problems and erectile dysfunction. Which makes it all the more perplexing that such a good writer as Bushnell has produced this slapdash landfill.

The book begins with her beloved dog being savaged by a murderous fellow mutt in front of her eyes — and goes downhill from there.

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