I’ll admit it straight away, I’m biased. Since the early days of his BBC 6 Music radio show, I’ve been a Russell Brand devotee. Through thick and thin, through Sachs-gate and his divorce from Katy Perry, I still remained a loyal fan – kudos to my friends, family and boyfriend for putting up with me swooning over him for the past six years, appreciate it.
From very early on, Russell made it clear he wasn’t just out to make people laugh or to star in movies in the US, he was also interested in a political revolution. However vague this was at the time, he talked about changing the world of politics in the UK and embracing a new system where “people are free to express themselves creatively and love one another”. Last week, Russell became guest editor on left-wing political magazine, the New Statesman and was promptly interviewed by Jeremy Paxman who questioned him on his ‘revolution of consciousness’.
The ten-minute interview with Paxman, which has now swept across the Internet like a viral tsunami, is one that can’t be overlooked. If you haven’t watched it yet, please do. It’s worth it. Paxman, who is immediately condescending and unimpressed by Russell’s claims of a political revolution, bombards him instantly but question after question and Brand trounces him with intelligence.
…If you don’t feel represented by any of the political parties available, should you still feel pressured into voting?…
“Is it true you don’t even vote?”
“Yeah, no, I don’t vote.”
“How do you have any authority to talk about politics then?”
“I don’t get this authority from a pre-existing paradigm, which is quite narrow and only serves a few people. I look elsewhere for alternatives that might be of service to humanity.”
Fair enough. If you don’t feel represented by any of the political parties available, should you still feel pressured into voting? Surely Brand has a point here. Just because you might choose not to vote because you don’t feel that any of the parties reflect your needs, thoughts or beliefs, does this mean you can’t have an opinion regarding politics at all?
“Aren’t you bored?” Russell asks Jeremy, “Aren’t you, more than anyone? Ain’t you been talking to them year after year, listening to their lies, their nonsense? Then this one gets in, then that one gets in, but the problem continues. Why are we going to continue with this façade?”
…there’s gonna be a revolution…
By the end of the interview, Russell’s passion seems overwhelming, like he might burst into tears at any moment because he wants change so badly.
“Do you see any hope?” Paxman asks him with a sly smile.
“Yeah, totally, there’s gonna be a revolution. It’s totally going to happen. I ain’t got a flicker of doubt, this is the end. This is time to wake up. I remember I seen you in that programme, where you look at your ancestors, and you saw the way your grandmother were out to brass herself or got f****d over by the aristocrats who ran her gaff. You cried because you knew that it was unfair and unjust. And that was what? A century ago? That’s happening to people now. I just come from a woman who’s been treated like that. I’ve just been talking to a woman today who’s being treated like that. So if we can engage that feeling, instead of some moment of lachrymose sentimentality trotted out on the TV for people to pore over emotional porn. If we can engage that feeling and change things, why wouldn’t we? Why is that naive? Why is that not my right because I’m an actor? I mean I’ve taken the right. I don’t need the right from you. I don’t need the right from anybody. I’m taking it.”
…‘Russell Brand for Prime Minister’…
As the interview comes to an abrupt end and cuts back to Jeremy Paxman sitting in the studio, there’s a bit of an overwhelming feeling of, ‘yeah, maybe he’s right, maybe it is time for a change’. It’s no surprise that the interview, which has now been viewed millions of times over, has led to Facebook campaigns such as ‘Russell Brand for Prime Minister’ and ‘I Support Russell Brand’s Call for Revolution’. Regardless of what you’ve thought of him before, whether to you he was just ‘that guy who has the big hair and has shagged all those girls’, or ‘the comedian who disappeared to America for a while’, the man is smart, switched on and knows exactly what he’s talking about. If you don’t believe me, you probably haven’t watched the interview yet. Here’s to Russell’s revolution.