Russell Brand – funny old geezer ain’t he? Foppishly funny, gorgeously funny, hysterically funny, vindictively funny. A bit funny ha, ha, and a bit blimey Russell mate, you’re mental you are. Russell Brand’s star has shone brightly, and occasionally dimmed, once or twice plummeting from the celebrity ether to crash and burn. He’s walked the tightrope walk of fame, knowing that however many people are willing him to fall, just as many want to see him maintain a precarious balance. Russell knows better than most that all the world’s a stage – hasn’t he been desperate to stand out from the crowd of mere players? And the world couldn’t be more of a stage than it is right now. The entire planet postures and proclaims from those pixelated ‘boards’ and our mate Russell, never one to miss a self-aware, self-aggrandising moment, has hitched his wayward star to the world wide web bandwagon.
Russell Brand has a youtube channel and it’s called The Trews. Russell knows that those evil, media mogul types, including the poncey BBC, are giving us a distorted view of the news, if not an outright tissue of LIES. Therefore, Russell is busy giving us the real news, the truth behind the news – hence The Trews. He does this whilst sporting various fetching and oddly spiritual garb. One minute he’s your average Essex buddhist, the next he’s channelling Christ, wearing what appears to be a stylish dish cloth draped over his famous Essex bonce and then, naked from the waist up, he gives us Gandhi; if Gandhi had been an Essex sex god that is.
To go off on a tangent here. Trews is an ancient Scottish word for trousers, and the American word for trousers is pants; which happens to be DJ vernacular for ‘what a load of old cobblers.’ Do we think The Trews is pants? Those clever broadsheet and tabloid journos would seem to think so. Russell’s a touch too Monster Raving Loony party for their jaded palates. But Brand means business. He may strike a pose in his own very tight pants (in our trouser sense of the word), and dazzle with that Essex wide- boy grin but, behind the strutting peacock facade, there lurks a troubled genius on a mission.
RB is the pound shop version of Oscar Wilde, without the gayness (although it’s alarming to see how girlish Russell can be when arguing the cause with his stern male detractors.) He’s a literary genius without the Oxbridge education. A court jester, a dandy, a fool. A latter-day saint and a modern day Jesus; the strictly westernised and pre-raphaelite versions. Those of us, who have followed Brand’s career trajectory, were long ago happy to board his magical mystery tour bus. But recently he’s been asking us along on an altogether different ride – and that ride is Revolution.
That Brand is better looking than almost anyone on the planet, and way cooler too, is a real plus when attempting to engage the young (and the not so young) in a little idea called Revolution. You might ask yourself if Britain is the sort of country in need of Revolution. Do you feel someone’s taking liberties with your civil liberty? Do you live in abject fear of an Orwellian State? Do you think all politicians and corporations are evil and corrupt? Brand thinks so. He thinks Britain is in bad shape, but at least he doesn’t just have dear old blighty in his sights; this is a Global Revolution.
Citizen Brand knows what he’s talking about too and does he know how to talk, and talk, and talk. Watch him steam roller Paxman and that lovely Gollum-like bloke on Newsnight. Neither could get a word in edgewise, and neither was safe from Russell’s strangely androgynous, wandering hands. For Brand isn’t your average 39 year old bloke. He’s more like a character from a Brothers Grimm fairytale. A mischievous pied piper, hoping you’re going to dance to his particular tune, and follow him to God only knows where. Or Brand the Confessor, baring his soul, even if that means demeaning himself, and his plethora of lady friends, in the process. Brand the Artful Dodger, talking you into almost anything with his linguistic sleight of hand.
And you’ve got to hand it to him, Russell Brand never does things by halves. While other celebrities show they care by adopting orphans, or staging Comic Reliefs and Telethons, Brand is busy offering up nothing less than Revolution as a solution to the rotten, violent, unequal world we’re all forced to live in. A world run by evil corporations, evil bankers and the pernicious Sun and Daily Mail.
Brand loves the sight of a heaving bosom, but he’s not so sure the rest of the male population should be allowed a butcher’s, particularly via page 3 of The Sun. The Sun decided to justify page 3 by linking it to breast cancer. That got Brand’s goat; Brand who previously shared The Sun’s obsession with the female mammary gland. Or The Guardian, who also got Brand’s goat re: the Ellen selfie. Russell sometimes writes for The Guardian and thinks it’s a ‘nice’ paper, but that doesn’t stop him from biting the hand that feeds, or being just a shade hypocritical. Russell has a tendency to bite the hands that feed him – gets his chance on TV and repeatedly blows it, gets a radio show and blows it, gets the girls and….(we won’t go there, although Russell frequently did.)
There’s a definite downside to all that cleverness, which Russell can explain in one word – Addiction. Because addiction is a disease, like cancer is a disease, like alzheimer’s is a disease. That’s exactly how diseases like cancer work too, isn’t it? There you are, minding your own business at the great party of Life, when someone sidles up to you offering a gram of Cancer and you say thanks mate, but no thanks. Russell knows, however, in his transcendental, infinite wisdom that within the drugs and alcohol fuelled worlds, there is simply no element of choice, and boy is he out to prove it. Maybe he’s right. Maybe we need to walk a mile in the addicts’ shoes before getting all judgemental. That’s the thing with Russell. You listen to his sermons on the internet mount, transfixed by the astonishing verbal dexterity, delivered at linguistic lightening speed, and find yourself thinking that this self-obsessed, (ex) fame hungry loony just may have a point.
Russell connects to a non-specific, higher power via transcendental meditation, and wants us all to inter-connect, becoming a peaceful and harmonious whole. He loses me there – connecting to a billion other people sounds like a bit of a nightmare (just look at the internet). He loses me a little bit more when he intones into The Trews’ camera that I have no idea how to read a newspaper; that my limited intelligence requires a teacher, of Russell’s calibre, to guide me through the web of lies that is national journalism. That my mind is simply not perceptive enough to recognise that I live in a Matrix-like universe. The irony is not lost on this Trews viewer that, whilst Russell doesn’t want the government, or the million dollar corporations, telling you what you should do and how you should think; this particular Revolutionary is quite happy to tell you what you should do, and how you should think.
What is eating Russell Brand? We know this former drug addict misses the self-inflicted state of drug induced bliss. Quite possibly, having climbed out of the rabbit hole and back to reality; he finds he doesn’t much like what they’ve done with the old place. Like half the world is starving and such like, whilst the rest of the planet is down McDonald’s demolishing a big Mac, when we should all be vegetarians see, or vegans; if we could be arsed to find out what a vegan actually is. And them duplicitous c**ts , in that posh Houses of Parliament gaff, are getting up to all kinds of selfish, ignorant larks ain’t they? Not to mention them physicsy, sciencey boffs, what don’t believe in these here unseen realms of consciousness, but they do believe in that weird dark matter, what they can’t see and don’t know what the f**k it is. Bloody ‘ell, morons the lot of ’em; and them ridiculously privileged royals (the higher consciousness bless ’em) should probably also sod off.
Perhaps Russell is right to be full of righteous indignation. Of course redistribution of wealth is morally sound. Maybe legalising drugs is a good idea. Cutting meat consumption would be of enormous benefit to the planet. Tapping into a higher spiritual plane sounds like…well, really cool man. Being kind and considerate to each other, who wouldn’t be right? (maybe Russell who ditched his wife by text, apparently.) But that’s the tabloid version of Brand. The ‘real’ Russell Brand is honest, searingly honest, wickedly honest, endearingly honest. It’s almost impossible not to be won over by this hyperactive, precocious man-child. And, more importantly, he’s brave, opening himself up to widespread ridicule and a fair amount of internet trolling. And at least the RB Revolution is, so far, looking like a gentle one. There’s room for a bit of larking about as he attempts to alter your state of mind, as well as the state of the State. And like all Revolutionaries before him, Russell knows that the only people who matter in this corporate run world are the ‘ordinary’ people. Russell knows this because he’s an ‘ordinary’ person too.
And maybe that’s what’s eating Russell Brand. Because Russell Brand is emphatically not like me and you. He’s far from ordinary. An entertainer that un-ordinary needs a far bigger Gig – and why not call it Global Revolution?
So, fellow citizens, is he preaching to the converted? Come the Revolution , will you be marching alongside Comrade Brand.
Over to you Russell.