Julie Burchill: A word of advice, Lily. Don't listen to what people like me say about you

Share
Related Topics

They say it takes two to tango, but you can have a Twitter war all by yourself, as I found out this week when none other than the lovely Lily Allen came over all Bottish at some throwaway remark of mine in another newspaper comparing her unfavourably to Cheryl Cole. Yes, between baking cakes, milking publicity – sorry, cows – and making television documentaries/doing interviews about how she's turned her back on fame, Miss Antoinette – sorry, Allen – found the time to Twitter that I was, "an ignorant and bitter old troll... the amateur psychiatrist in me says sees a lot of her younger self in me, and she's a bit of a 'self-loather'." She also spelt my name wrong, and I can say hand on heart that that's the only thing that hurt. After all these years, dammit!

I guess the reason it rolled off me so slickly is that being called self-loathing by Lily Allen is an achievement akin to being called fat by Dawn French (which I have been.) This is the girl who once wrote on her blog that she was Googling cosmetic surgery because she felt "fat, ugly and shitter than Winehouse". Not only self-loathing, I'd say, but body dysmorphic (Allen was, is and always will be almost surreally beautiful) and a lousy appreciator of extreme female pulchritude (La Winehouse) into the bargain.

Still, it could have been worse. The last time I compared Violet Elizabeth – sorry, Lily Rose – unfavourably to Chezza, SHE GOT HER MUM ON TO ME! Yes, some three years ago I was the frankly amazed recipient of a long, rather sweet e-mail from the film producer Alison Owen in defence of her daughter. I've got to say there's a bit of a culture gap here – where I was educated you made damn sure your mother never came up the school to stand up for you once you were out of Mixed Infants, but they obviously do things differently at Bedales.

Anyway, sniggering aside, it was a lovely letter which I won't quote from here as I respect Miss Owen's ownership of her correspondence, but the gist was that Lily and her mummy had always liked me, but now I'd been nasty to Lils they didn't. But I own the rights over my words, so I'm going to reprint my reply here, in part as it's one of the most spot-on things I've ever written:

Dear Alison

When we first make a choice – as your daughter did – to enter public life, there is a lesson above all which we must quickly learn if we are not to appear stupid. Sadly, it is a lesson of common sense, and thus one which a public-school education cannot buy. And that lesson is, "If you dish it out, you must take it". If we cannot absorb this childish-sounding but actually very intellectually rigourous piece of information quickly, we risk looking like, at least, cry-babies and at worst, filthy hypocrites.

You say that the Cheryl Cole comment was a long time ago. When, pray, was the following statement of your daughter's, in "retaliation' to being called 'middle-class" in a satirical song?

"So what if w'ere [sic] middle class? Just cause your mum was too lazy to get her fat ass up off the sofa and make some cash, I shouldn't be able to make tunes yeah?" It was last month!

This week it came to light that a baby born in working-class Glasgow will live 28 years less, on average, than one born in a middle-class area. Is this because those babies mums are, to quote your daughter, too lazy to get their fat asses up off the sofa and make some cash? What DO they teach children at those public schools? Something called "social racism", I fear. Do you really believe that this filthy prejudice against the poor should be allowed to pass without criticism? In a country with a free press? Of course you do – you're her mum. (Or "Mummy", or whatever you people call each other.) But I am not. I am a professional journalist, and if I see someone who has found fame and fortune partly by posing as "street" saying this I am going to call them on it.

I'll draw this to a close now, as I find it frankly amazing that a young, beautiful, immensely talented woman like your daughter should give a damn about the opinion of an old, fat hack long past her best. Another lesson we can teach the next generation is genuinely to not care what think people of us; if Lily can learn to take these basic life lessons on board, she has every chance of being happy one day. If not, she won't be.

Julie

PS "Never explain, never complain" – that's another good one.

Writing this I've realised that, though she may now loathe me, I really do have a soft spot for Lily Allen. Her contradictions and cantankerousness are the stuff legends are made of. She's gorgeous and smart. Just one thing makes me absolutely despair of her, and it's not the baked-goods-bothering, even.

Lily Allen, I'll say it one more time. You are a young beautiful, talented artist with your whole life in front of you. I am an old, fat, past-my-best hack with my triumphs behind me. BUT! If you go through life taking notice of what people like me say about you, you will never be one tenth as happy as I am now, in my porky dog-days. Get over it – and good luck.

Ticking the green box is a scoundrel's true last refuge

As people far smarter than me have pointed out, one of the creepiest minor crimes of this Coalition is the way they suck up to celebrities by giving them advisory jobs. I really wouldn't be surprised to find out that Cameron had made Dappy from N-Dubz First Lord of the Admiralty, just so he can make da biz relevant to da kidz.

Jamie Oliver and Mary Portas are two of the most annoying Giant Wagging Fingers going, so I was pleased to see both of them fall on their self-adoring asses this week. That money-mad clown Oliver's barbecue grill has been poorly rated in tests carried out by Which? magazine, in which eight other similar set-ups did better than his, one of them from the distinctly un-chic Argos at half the price.

Meanwhile Portas, champion of the small shop, was revealed as having done a whopping deal with Westfield to promote out-of-town shopping malls – EXACTLY the sort of thing she claims is killing the High Street!

Some people say patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel, but I'd nominate the championing of small shops/organic produce/local sourcing/whatever; having ticked the green box, lots of people seem to think it gives them a free pass to act as shifty as they like. Still, considering what filthy hypocrites so many of our Honourable Members have been revealed to be recently, I'm sure Portas will fit right in.

Put down the pumice and pick up the Playstation

Apparently a growing number of marriages are being wrecked by video games, with an increasing number of broads filing for divorce and citing Lara Croft as co-respondent. Though I'm a total feminist, I've got to say that I'm on the why-can't-a-woman-be-more-like-a-man team here.

When men have Me Time, they really go for it – booze, pizza and hyper-violent video games. What's not to like! Whereas women are more likely to buy the "pampering" crap that's being relentlessly sold to them. Ladies, put down that pumice and pick up that Playstation controller – you have nothing to lose but being a boring old BUZZ-KILL!





React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Project Manager

Competitive: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsford a...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

IT Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Nigel Farage has urged supporters to buy Mike Read's Ukip Calypso song and push it up to the No 1 spot  

Mike Read’s Ukip calypso is mesmerisingly atrocious — but it's not racist

Matthew Norman
Shirley Shackleton, wife of late journalist Gregory Shackleton, sits next to the grave of the 'Balibo Five' in Jakarta, in 2010  

Letter from Asia: The battle for the truth behind five journalists’ deaths in Indonesia

Andrew Buncombe
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London