Julie Burchill

Julie Burchill

Brighton says ‘no’ to Eddie Izzard

‘If there’s one thing Eddie Izzard can’t be faulted on, it’s enthusiasm,’ Steerpike opined this week on the news that the comedian and actor, who also self-identifies as Suzy, is standing to become the Labour candidate for Brighton Pavilion – only a year after trying, and failing, to do so in Sheffield Central. There’s been

The parasitic poisonousness of Omid Scobie

I don’t remember exactly when I first read about the ancient courtier role of Groom of the Stool, but it’s a fascinating business. Here’s Wikipedia to explain:  ‘The Groom of the Stool was the most intimate of an English monarch’s courtiers, responsible for assisting in excretion. The physical intimacy of the role naturally led to

Britney Spears is back with a vengeance

I am working on a play about Marilyn Monroe at the moment and, reading Britney Spears’s book, the similarities of these two fragile blondes came to mind. Both were celebrated and castigated for their woman-child sex appeal; both struggled with sinister Svengalis – Darryl Zanuck and Mickey Mouse. But one big difference between the two

Ed Sheeran’s time is up

Who’s the worst pop star of modern times? Some might say that Adele sounds like a moose with PMT – and Sam Smith certainly has his knockers. But I’d be tempted to plump for Ed Sheeran. The 32-year-old is the most successful pop star of our time, with a voice best described as pasteurised ‘urban’

Why I’ll always love Big Brother

I’ve always been a Big Brother fan; I was hooked from the very first series way back in the year 2000, which featured Nasty Nick, Anna the lesbian nun and the winner, charming Scouse builder Craig Phillips who took the prize of £70,000 and promptly gave it all to his friend Joanne Harris for a

In defence of ‘nuisance’ buskers

I’ve always been partial to buskers. I’m sympathetic to beggars of most kinds – except the aggressive rotters, of which there are relatively few – as they enable us to actually show kindness as a daily action rather than merely show off on social media about ‘empathy’. If you can beg and play a merry

Ignore the food bores 

I like the Art Deco apartment block where I live; the building is beautiful and the neighbours are nice. Just one thing; they keep having their old kitchens torn out and new ones installed – two of the three nearest flats to me have done this in the space of six months.  I don’t complain

The cultural appropriation of the keffiyeh

I’ve never been sorry that I left education at 17, armed with nothing but my raw talent and splendid rack. The conformity and unworldliness which you need to have if you want to basically stay at school till you’re 21 are things I despise students for – and haven’t these character traits had a lovely

Advent calendars are becoming offensively showy

Each year in the charity shop where I volunteer, the Christmas cards arrive in August; by September, they must be on the shelves. We’re a small shop and space is precious; shoes and bags which would make us a healthy profit are swept aside for half-hearted etchings of mardy robins. But at least it’s in

Sam Smith, please put it away

Undressing. Getting one’s kit off, whether for the lads or the ladies, depending on one’s bent. Disrobing, divesting, denuding. Slipping into something more comfortable. Giving one an eyeful. Getting ‘em off. Once we put away childish things and cease frolicking as nature intended, stripping off becomes a whole new ballgame. In our newly found state

Dave Courtney and the grotty reality of true crime

The death of the gangster Dave Courtney – found in his bed with a gunshot wound at the age of 64 – has once more brought to the fore the odd fascination with ‘gangsters’ which certain strange sorts harbour. Call me dirty-minded, but as with the ever-growing fascination with ‘true crime’, I can’t help thinking

Why are so many young people anti-Semitic?

The surest way to work up a crusade in favour of some good cause is to promise people they will have a chance of maltreating someone. To be able to destroy with good conscience, to be able to behave badly and call your bad behaviour ‘righteous indignation’ – this is the height of psychological luxury,

The many, many faces of Keir Starmer

Is nomenclature destiny? If Keir Starmer had not been named for Keir Hardie, the founding father of the Labour party, but rather had his middle name ‘Rodney’ as his first, would he have still gone for the job as Labour leader? Might he have continued rather in the highly remunerative law career which made him

Helen Mirren is perfect to play Golda Meir

The word ‘actress’ used to be interchangeable with ‘prostitute’ and though it’s a good thing that this little misunderstanding was cleared up, it’s a pity that ‘living saint’ has been substituted for hooker. Modern actresses are variously ‘activists’ and ‘humanitarians’ – or whingeing nepo-babies mistaking themselves for the first two. But they are rarely ‘broads’

What went wrong with Billy Bragg?

An online ding-dong is like a full complement of condiments at lunch; you wouldn’t want to live off it, but it certainly adds spice. I haven’t had a decent one in ages, but last weekend I decided to have some sport with Billy Bragg, whose decline truly reflects the culture wars which shape our times.  

The unspeakable truth about Russell Brand

Before the accusations of being a Bad Feminist start, can I say that I am inclined to believe the women who claim to have been sexually assaulted and raped by Russell Brand. Nevertheless, I found another of the complaints about him featured in the Dispatches documentary – that sexual partners would telephone Brand’s employees ‘in

Be more Karen

In case you were under the apprehension that ‘Karen’ is simply an attractive name popularly given to girl babies in the early 1960s (my best friend as a child was called Karen, and there were three more in our year at my sink-school comprehensive) I’ve got news for you. To quote dictionary.com: Karen is a

Britain is now a nation of shoplifters

I was a teenage shoplifter. I had a good run at it, from 12 to 14, and found it as addictive as any drug: the anticipation, the antsiness, the sharp stab of joy on completion. But all it took was getting caught, spending an hour in a police cell before being grimly collected and yelled

The perverse greed of Jamie Oliver

I hoped that we would soon see the back of Jamie Oliver, once a ubiquitous presence on television, as his youthful Golden Labrador-ish appeal waned and his mouth increasingly looked like something you’d find on the end of a fishing rod. But regrettably, like many of the cor blimey pretend meritocrats of his era –

Why musicians can’t stand politicians liking their songs

I was amused to hear that Eminem has sent a cease-and-desist letter to the Republican presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy – who ‘rapped’ in his youth under the name ‘Da Vek’ – warning him not to use the song ‘Lose Yourself’ again.  Ramaswamy sang it onstage at the Iowa State Fair whilst on the campaign trail