Saturday, February 23, 2008

Julie Burchill


If it's trash, how come it's so hard to write a book as good as this?

I've been infuriated and entertained by the writing of Julie Burchill for over 20 years now - brilliantly talented, and philosophically all over the place.


It's great pity her masterpiece Ambition (1990) the quintessential shopping and fucking novel is out of print. Long derided as being trash, it's a brilliant work that is pure fun yet captures the mood of the late 1980s as accurately as Jay McInerney. I read it in one sitting, passed it onto my flatmate, and found her in the kitchen a while later with one hand stirring the pot and the other holding the book open... It really was that addictive. The caption on the back gave details of the little back dress and the model: Teresa from Storm. Have a look for it in your local charity shop - it'll be the best 50p you've ever spent.

Perhaps on the back of Ambition's success (it was a bestseller in it's day) Julie wrote an introduction to the reissue of Jacqueline Susan's far inferior Valley of the Dolls (1966) so don't be surprised when Ambition is re-published in 2020 as a Penguin Modern Classic.


Julie's latest piece is the story of her attempts to be pampered and hopefully alleviate the symptoms of gout, a condition she cheerfully admits comes from years of hedonism. The article ends with a classic Burchill aphorism:

In the end, the pursuit of the self serves only to make one less of a real, individual, interesting person; the over-examined life is not worth living. It just feels longer.

3 Comments:

Blogger karen said...

I can get 'Ambition' on Ebay......is it worth 99p plus postage? I suppose the answer is 'only if you read it!' Kx

11:26 PM  
Blogger roGER said...

Yeah! Go for it!

12:20 PM  
Blogger karen said...

I have Ambition......but you always knew that! Kx

9:26 AM  

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