WHAT JULIE DID NEXT (and Why, for Once, the Publicity Junkie Doesn't Want to Talk about It); after Two Husbands, the Enfant Terrible of the Literary World Renounced Men to Live with a Woman. Now Read the Next Chapter in Julie Burchill's Anything-Goes Life: She's Marrying Her Lesbian Lover's Brother .

Article excerpt

Byline: KATHRYN KNIGHT

ON THE surface, it is a peculiarly humdrum announcement for a woman who so fervently likes to court controversy: nestled among the forthcoming wedding notices at Brighton town hall, among the Smiths and the Davieses and the Bradshaws, a small piece of paper proclaims a more familiar name.

It is that of Julie Burchill, the famously iconoclastic commentator and novelist, registering her intention to marry. Her husband-tobe, Daniel Raven, is a computer software engineer, also from Brighton, and the couple intend to marry at the local register office within the year.

It is, you might think, a surprisingly conventional turn of events but, as with much of Ms Burchill's life, all is not what it seems. For, age gap aside (her fiance is 13 years her junior), he is also, wait for it, the younger brother of her former lesbian lover.

It is the kind of label you might expect to see attached to one of the more sensational confessional daytime TV programmes. But then, the same could be said for much of Julie's life: twice divorced, the former enfant terrible of journalism was once labelled 'the worst mother in Britain' after it emerged that both her sons were being brought up by their respective fathers.

Certainly, her personal history has all the hallmarks of a bad, and particularly self-indulgent soap opera - something reflected in the terms of her wedding announcement itself, part of which reads: 'Julie Burchill, formerly known as Julie Parsons, formerly known as Julie Landesman. Previous marriage dissolved.' Ironically, that short sentence is quite a neat summary of Julie Burchill's experiences thus far - events we shall explore in more detail shortly.

But first, what can have brought her to a situation that is bizarre even by her own provocative standards? And who, exactly, are the leading players in this overblown drama?

Chief among them is, of course, 45-year-old Julie herself, now cutting a rather more matronly figure than the sharp-cheekboned 'Groucho Marx of feminism' so beloved of the London demimonde in the 1980s.

At her [pounds sterling]1million, 1930s, pink Brighton home, complete with swimming pool, manicured gardens and koi carp pond, she was yesterday, for once, curiously taciturn when asked about her forthcoming nuptials.

'Thank you so much for your interest, but it is a private wedding,' she replied, before adding a pithy joke about 'getting into Zsa Zsa Gabor territory'.

Notably she does not cohabit with her fiance. He lives in a [pounds sterling]200,000 flat several streets away, an arrangement that is not thought to be set to change in the near future, despite their nuptials.

That is not to say that the couple are not a familiar sight together around Brighton: 'a veritable Darby and Joan', as one wry local commented yesterday.

The pair apparently make frequent trips to the beach and take daily strolls in nearby St Ann's Well Gardens.

'They often go for a stroll round the park together during the day,' one local commented yesterday. 'And they always seem deep in conversation.

'They look rather domestic together, although you might be forgiven for thinking they were mother and son.' THE couple have been together for eight years - indeed, ever since Burchill dumped her lover's sister, Charlotte, to pursue the relationship.

Furthermore, quite why they have now chosen to embrace the institution of holy matrimony remains something of a mystery - although Burchill has in recent months been overheard telling friends she is 'amused' by the notion - as her wifely reputation leaves something to be desired.

The only child of 'plain, good people' (her words) from Bristol, Burchill's first marriage took place when she was 18, to journalist and novelist Tony Parsons, whom she had met aged 17 after answering an advert for a 'hip young gunslinger' in cult pop music magazine New Musical Express. …