Friday, October 24, 2008

Julie Burchill: A few hours with a Brighton goddess


An extraordinary lunch with Julie Burchill at a Brighton restaurant today. In attendance: her husband Daniel Raven (he could only stay an hour or so: such a sweetheart: looks about 25), the Guardian writer Zoe Williams (atheist, feminist), the novelist John Niven (Kill Your Friends), Julie's vicar The Rev'd Canon Dr Gavin Ashenden ("Gavin") and Julie's long-term friend whose pen name is Gina McKinnon (a Leo with Moon in Gemini) ....

I'm afraid to say Julie Burchill and Madame Arcati bonded on sight. She has a hyper-developed social personality that beguiles and intrigues and which (I sense) probably does not accurately signal what she may end up thinking or writing: but it is a personality designed to be inclusive or collaborative and collusive in the moment. She is a seducer. I became part of a group concern about the plastic air-pressured contraption on one of her feet (not for gout after all: there's a 5% chance of amputation!), I was drawn into (but not persuaded by) her world view on Islam and Christianity (and she thinks a black Archbish of Canterbury would carry greater weight internationally than Old Beardie), I was touched by her adoration of my septum and chin dimple (her septum is well developed too: a sign of a high sex drive, I think) and I loved the way she tenderly rested her hand on mine while engaged in vigorous conversation with John: she wanted me to know I was not forgotten.

But it so happened I was talking to Gavin who fascinated me with a lecture on how Hollywood has somehow got North Moroccan Sufism all wrong: it's all to do with repetitive romance syndrome: movies just can't get out of the romantic loop in human relationships. People fall in love and then ... fin. It's a kind of cultural infantilism. I intend to persuade an intelligent magazine to get him to write on this topic: his theme incorporates celebrity and glamour and spirituality: I mean, think of the cover lines, cunties. To read him click here. Or read this.

Julie is a sensitive and probably psychic; certainly she's highly intuitive: she accurately named the sun signs of the three guests who asked her. It should be said that she appears to have little time for astrology or clairvoyance, as a late-life Protestant. "You shouldn't talk to the dead," she said to me when I mentioned a wonderful medium I have just discovered. She did not ask me idiotic questions about the real me. She did not probe too much. She intuited that the mask is a psychological component, not something to be ripped away. To my surprise she did not really gossip at all. She has done so much yet travels light as a personality. Few anecdotes, no boasting, no name-dropping. "I've just made the most of myself," she said simply when I pointed out she's one of the very few genuine stars of journalism.

After the lunch we got cabs to her apartment in Hove. She has drawers full of her many books, and DVDs of Sugar Rush. Her bookshelves have a disproportionate number of titles by (Julie's sometime co-writer) Chas Newkey-Burden, such as his Paris Hilton bio, among works of greater weight. She has even a rather good library in one of her washrooms. She has two cats, but have they ever been petted? I would love to be their petter.

"What's your blog about?" asked Gavin. Julie replied for me: "It's about righteousness." Not my word, but I like it.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Arcati on a rimfest is not attractive - it's like Dracula fanging a blancmange

Madame Arcati said...

Arcati is multi-directional experience, she waxes and she wanes like the timeless seas, and who are u calling a blancmange, u knickerbocker cunter u.

Madame Arcati said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Omg! Burchill and Arcati - a marriage made in hell. It had to happen.

Anonymous said...

"She has a hyper-developed social personality that beguiles and intrigues and which (I sense) probably does not accurately signal what she may end up thinking or writing: but it is a personality designed to be inclusive or collaborative and collusive in the moment"

Is this a sneaky way of saying Burchill is a raving two faced minx?

bitch said...

I take it that a copious amount of alcohol was guzzled at this momentous occasion. I imagine poor Daniel ran for cover as you two lovebirds tongued over the dessert.

Anonymous said...

I suspect this is sneakily satirical. I can't take it seriously.

Anonymous said...

Righteousness? I assume Burchill has not seen your vicious pieces on various people, and your actors' cocks pictures. I'm sending this whole piece to Pseud's Corner.

Chas Newkey-Burden said...

What could be weightier than a Paris Hilton bio? ;-)

Yup, the cats are lovely. I've only once got anywhere near them myself.

Madame Arcati said...

Chas darling - and congratulations on your marriage. I wish you every happiness. Julie is awfully fond of you. And all these books you write - you are a one-man industry. Take no notice of those Private Eye brutes. You're famous and that's all that matters.

Now, what could be weightier than a Paris Hilton bio? I am not going to answer that. I can't recall seeing a Bible - or did I? It's all a blur. I see Paris made it to Haslam's party - God knows where my party spy Fish is. She was supposed to supply me with goss. I reckon she's still in bed.

One of Julie's cats sniffed my finger, raised her tail, then sauntered off. "Do you like cats?" I asked Julie. "No."

Cosmo Parsons said...

This is all very worrying. Burch famously has pashes on people then gets bored so watch yourself Madame. But I've noticed you have pashes on people too before you grow bored and move on. Soulmates.

Chas Newkey-Burden said...

Thanks for the congrats, Madame. Am so glad you had fun at Julie's and I wish you every happiness too!

Anonymous said...

Poor Molly must be jealous

Stella Polari said...

You get to stroke your niece a week earlier than planned, due to engineering works on the 8th you will see Sooter ths coming Saturday. Your niece will have to be drugged up with valium immediately prior to her journey to the family Dacha-On-Sea so she will arrive a bit woozy.

Duralex said...

That "Brighton goddess" irresistibly evokes to me Balzac's "The Muse of the department", a somewhat ridiculous, but rather touching character.

Ms Baroque said...

Forget that. I'M jealous. Sounds fun!

Madame Arcati said...

I'm getting your book Ms B: we'll talk soon. MA x

Madame Arcati said...

Gimme sooter now, I want her now, a week earlier. Bliss!

Culture Watch said...

I like Duncan Fallowell's letter in The Times today about his awful experience of the British Museum.

Anonymous said...

Fallowell pops up all over the place, doesn't he, like an intellectual Banksy.

wriggles said...

I adore JB, she helped teach me how to think, a monster sacre in the truest sense of the term.

Diana Barrymore said...

1. There is already a black archbish of York, his name is John Sentamu & he is a silly publicity-seeker.
2. 'Course Burchill has drawers full of her books - no-one wants to read the fuckers!
And 3 - re JB's preening letter in last week's Sun. Times about cougars - she's a moose not a cougar.

Arcati, hang your head in shame!

Diana Barrymore said...

And further to my last, I just googled Daniel Raven & for the benefit of other readers, your arse-licking "looks about 25" translates as "knuckle-scraper a bit like Mongo from Blazing Saddles". Still he could hardly be worse than Charlotte could he, I mean blimey, she's BEYOND MUNTER!