19 OCTOBER 1991, Page 6


Deep down, I'm pretty shallow, and like all shallow people I love attention. I believe that anything worth doing is worth doing in public. And it's very addictive, attention; I understand all too well why 40- year-old starlets still jostle to be pho- tographed coming out of Stringfellows, or why such as Dorothy Squires stage come- backs every six months. You know you're hooked when you chase Richard Young rather than vice versa. Over the past two weeks I've had almost as much publicity as Liz Taylor's wedding, but it's still not enough. 'Isn't it exhausting? Aren't you bored to death?' wheedle my friends. Jeal- ous cows. No, of course it's not boring to talk about yourself for two hours solid; it's about as much fun as you can have without having to send your clothes to the dry cleaners afterwards. The sensation of being a different person each time you're done — Deep for the Guardian, Slick for the Sun- day Times, Thatcherite Upstart for the Telegraph — is very liberating, a lot like act- ing without the dreary business of learning lines or going for a cheap Chinese after- wards. I didn't once in my frantic schedule feel that old how-can-I-go-on ennui you're meant to, but I did pretend to feel it once, for A.N. Wilson. As he is an old-fashioned sort of cove, I thought he might appreciate the old Twentieth-Century Blues routine. But in no time, I'm afraid, I was chattering away, and I came across like something out of an Angela Brazil school story. Still, that was a new one. What sums the experience up best is a line from Carrie Fisher's Post- cards from the Edge, when Suzanne, the heroine, asks Jack, the heartbreaker, whom he would most like to meet. He thinks, then says something like, 'Myself. Because every time I meet someone new, I wish I could be them so I could experience the thrill of meeting me.' Every time I'm profiled, that's the nearest I'll ever get to meeting myself. And having the chance to fall in love all over again.

Why is Martin Amis so chippy? — or rather, considering what a posh little cos- mopole he is, so frittey? After The Spectator-based fun and games of the past few weeks, he has now run off bleating to the Jewish Chronicle that 'My first love was a Jewish girl — I was 18. And now I've married into an American family, and as in all American families some of the daugh- ters have married Jews.' This is an interest- ing variation on the old line, 'some of my best friends are Jewish': in Martin Amis' case, for friends, read girlfriends. El Petito then goes on to describe himself, taking his cue from myself and Saint Marilyn, as 'a philo-Semite — I find the Jewish people different and exotic.' But no one I know JULIE BURCHILL

has ever suggested that Mr Amis is anti- Semitic. What we have suggested is that he is bloody insensitive. I ask once more; can it ever be right to perform a party trick on a mountain of skulls? His rather pathetic boasting about having once screwed a Jew only serves to highlight this insensitivity. Elizabeth Taylor, talking about Mike Todd and Richard Burton, once claimed to be 'Jewish and Welsh by injection'. It was a good joke, but Mr Amis really does seem to believe that sexual contact with the Other somehow immunises one to racist tenden- cies; as though semen was serum. But Alma Mahler, a virulent anti-Semite, was married twice to Jews. Slave-owners routinely raped black women. The American soldiers who killed 'gooks' all day screwed them all night. While much nearer to home, a prominent European racist rabble rouser kept for many years a favoured tart of Algerian-Jewish extraction. Her nickname at the brothel she came from, interestingly, had been 'The Whipper'. Proving conclu- sively — an iibermensch who craved the lash! — that what goes on behind closed doors has very little bearing on the way we lead the rest of our lives.

Idon't want to make sport of the sexual harrassment of women by men in the work- place. But I do think that it should be very strictly defined, like all violations of the law. In short, sexual harassment should cover physical contact, and threats: 'Sleep with me or I'll sack you.' Clarence Thomas, by Anita Hill's own admission, never once touched Anita Hill — even on those occa- sions when the two of them went back to her flat for a beer and a quick critique of the American justice system. He never threatened her. All he did was talk dirty; ask her out, insinuate and brag. More than say- ing something about men, this case says something about women — and the schism in feminism which took place in the 1980s. In the 1970s, the feminist party line was pretty much this: women are the same as men except for a few minor physical differ- ences. We have the same desires; the same drives. We can enjoy sex just as much as

you. We demand to be treated as equals. This feminism — Feminist Triumphalism — was carried on into the Eighties by peo- ple like myself and Madonna. But lo, a new school of thought — if it can be dignified with the name — was springing up; Femi- nist Fatalism. Led by the revisionist Ger- maine Greer, Sheila Kitzinger and the Greenham dykes, FF had it that men and women were completely alien. They were killers; we were nurturers. They wanted sex; we wanted affection. They were bad and we were good. And now Feminist Fatalism — which whimpers, while Femi- nist Triumphalism yells, 'I can, I will!', 'I can't, I won't' — has brought us here, with Anita Hill claiming that a man talked dirty to her ten years ago. Then how long before swearing before women will be seen as sex- ual harassment? And, after that, how long before some anti-feminist lobby points out that if women can't take a little salty talk, they really ought to stay at home?

Art openings have become the night- clubs of the Nineties; they're where the hip- per sort of page 3 girl goes to bust out of her bustler, and where John Taylor and Amanda de Cadanet can be seen sharing those jokes they don't seem to be able to tell each other at home. Personally I avoid them like the plague, but from 17 October to 6 November my dear friend Anthony Costin, sculptor and sex idol, will be show- ing at Artnow in the London & Glouces- ter's glorious new building at 42 Beak Street, London Wl. Anthony is approach- ing genius at a rate of knots, making beau- tiful moving sculptures and very clever col- lages, such as the one to be found on the cover of my magazine, the Modern Review (available by subscription from 6 Hopgood Street, London W12), but some of the other 13 participants sound a bit unsound. His brother Simon, for instance, made the notorious 'Sperm Necklace', which he still hasn't sold, and which apparently explodes when it gets too warm — which is very nice for the people sitting next to you at dinner. 'James Croak', obviously a pseudonym (as well as a pseud), will be exhibiting some works in 'dirt', if you please. Then there's a nasty-sounding thing called 'Medical Venus', a series of prints on linen. All in all, I cannot help but feel that my unworldly and trusting friend has strayed into the lat- est Muriel Grey art hoax; nevertheless, I shall be there every day (in my only public engagement this year) and I advise you to be there too.

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