A few weeks ago on a Sunday morning there was a minor storm on Twitter. Generally there is still some minor trigger for these social media-meltdowns. These minor triggers are at least third party affairs. The other day I saw a retweet from a comedian I follow, she had retweeted some writer guy who had said something about anyone questioning that women could be funny being ridiculous. Well, quite. But there seemed to be no reason for this statement – I had a look at his timeline and he hadn’t just read/someone say something to the contrary. I know people DO think the contrary but to say something about it apropos of nothing…I just don’t really see the point.
Back to the other Sunday: I was made aware that the writer and professional bête noire Julie Burchill was on the Radio 4 pop culture-come-pyschiatrists session that is Desert Island Discs. My Twitter feed at the time was full of stuff talking about how horrible she was. Well, kind of. There were some mentions on my timeline but I then searched her name and read tweets solely about her on Desert Island Discs. And they were mainly negative.
I have read many Burchill columns over the years. Not like thousands. But most Saturdays when she had her column in The Guardian. I think it is fair to say my opinion of her was that she was a bit of a cunt. This wasn’t changed several weeks ago when she said some mean things about transgenders – supposedly as a mark of solidarity with her friend Suzanne Moore.
I can’t figure out if it is predictable that I would dislike her as she is purposefully antagonistic towards many things I believe in as a predictable lefty-Guardian bastard or it is predictable that I would like someone who is a contrary bastard who strives to offend people. But I am able to kind of have a foot in both camps because….
Tonight I listened to Burchill’s appearance on Desert Island Discs. Yes, I was that intrigued it took me three weeks to listen. And I quite liked her. Especially after you get used to her small child’s voice. Of course some of her being likeable is down to Kirsty Young. But you have to give most credit to Julie Burchill. She seems fairly certain that she has lived exactly as she has wanted to, she doesn’t give a fuck about what most people think about her (or anything else). She is also unrepentant about lots of things that people have judged her on. And I find something likeable about all of these qualities. I found myself empathising with Julie Burchill – there’s something I didn’t expect to write.
I was waiting for the bit where she said something offensive – because of the Twitter thing. But she just said a few things about not caring about what people thought of her, not being a good parent, not being a nice person, liking drink and drugs, shoplifting, being precocious and more things of that ilk. She didn’t apologise for her anti-transgender remarks. That was about it. And she was pro-Israel…but in a pro-Semitic sense, she didn’t say things about the politics of the Middle-East, she just chose the Israel national anthem and enthused about learning Hebrew.
She also made some good choices of songs (discs) – which is not what you necessarily expect from someone who used to work at The NME. I can’t fault Band of Gold by Freda Payne or Last of The International Playboys by Morrissey as choices, both personal favourite of yours truly.
So, I ended up spending half-an-hour quite enjoying Julie Burchill. What a thorough disappointment – hopefully she will write something I can despise soon so I can return to the status quo.