Julie Burchill Julie Burchill

Diary – 23 February 2017

Also in Julie Burchill’s diary: Brexit tantrums, charity shop work and being a joke

More than 20 years ago, I left my fast life in London for a rather more relaxed one in Brighton and Hove. I never dreamt I could enjoy it more till all the business with the trains started up a few years back. The chaos at Southern Railway — which has seen commuters lose their livelihoods and property prices all along the London–Brighton line plunge, and culminated last summer in the resignation of the rail minister Claire Perry — has effectively put an end to the one thing I disliked about my seaside city. Namely, that it’s too close to That London. I never minded mates coming down to visit — all the better for showing off my beloved playground. The trouble came when they expected one to reciprocate. I tried pleading agoraphobia for a while, but then I was reported in the press as going all the way to Ibiza for a gay wedding, so that was out. Now, however, I merely have to say ‘I’d love to come to your first night/recital/private view — but, my dear, the trains!’ and no one presses you further. Of course, I wouldn’t have wished all this bother on anyone — but as it’s happening anyway, I might as well make the best of it. And I now have the perfect excuse to leave Sussex only via Gatwick, en route to Tel Aviv – which takes around the same amount of time as it can to get to London these days.

Everyone in London seems to be fuming all the time — although, to be fair, fuming has become the default setting of our time. Historically, it’s the sexually repressed, swivel-eyed Daily Mail reader who fumes hardest, but ever since last June 23, when the glorious chaotic dawn of Brexit was revealed, liberals have been fuming up a storm with all the parasexual frustration of fat-fingered One Direction fans tweeting hatred about the paternity of Cheryl’s baby.

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