Friday, 9 January 2015

Rating 'Revolution'.

A was called out today to help an old friend in distress. It's very seldom that I'm able to help someone out so I jumped at the chance. I must admit to muttering an obligatory "ffs", but it wouldn't be traditionally British to go out of your way and help someone without the merest of whiney expletives first, would it? In my defence, it was raining, plus I'm a man (allegedly), which apparently, renders me innately selfish.

As she got into her car to see if the stricken engine would start, having been jumped by mine and left running whilst we trivially did some catching up, oblivious to the rain. I watched the open bonnets of our cars flap wildly in the fierce gusts of wind and I wondered for a moment if they might come clean off and fly across the dank, drab Bannatynes car park, which was a grey as the day itself.......akin to a winters day version of sun umbrellas cartwheeling down a tranquil yet gusty beach.

It was then, that I realised I had to find poetry in the mundane, profoundness within the ordinary....and that I'd been reading the Russell Brands 'Revolution' for one too many pages on this particular day. Russell, can I have my personality back please? I felt almost as brainwashed as the poor Jihadist subjects he refers to so frequently in this book. What I'd normally be thinking is, "why doesn't anyone breakdown on a nice day, it's fucking freezing!". 

His vocabulary is scary and at times, bewildering. Either that or my own word scopage is just extremely limited. It became almost routine check Google for word definitions. If I'm on my own here then I'll gladly accept criticism, although I'm guessing the vitriolic abuse he receives on the basis that he's articulate (what a bastard), would underline and confirm my case. There are lapses, which allows the more casual reader (as opposed to someone who frantically skim-reads whilst performing hurt locker duties, like Johnny Five being asked to clear an Afghan minefield, remember him? That second film was almost as awful as the content within these brackets) to wind down from the mazy linguistic algorithms, that I found equally as thought provoking as they were confusing.

The great thing about Russell Brand is that you can hear him reading it to you, like an audiobook has been implanted into your brain, the book itself is just a token gesture. As someone who occasionally struggles with speech, I can admire how he is as articulate in spoken word as he is in writing. My writing skill far exceeds my verbal competency. I talk like Eric Morecambe played piano with Andre Previn. I say all the right words, but not necessarily, in the right order.

Anyway. Almost as if to sub-consciously reassure myself that I hadn't been completely indoctrinated, my suspected Brand-induced lobotomy came to a juddering halt, when I finally got to the gym and promptly went to open my gym locker with my car key fob. I nervously looked around to see if anyone had noticed, but then realised that stupidity on this level could not possibly be spotted within our limited conceivability spectrum. Like how our ears cannot receive frequency of a dog whistle. I had broken the mould of dottiness, smashed through the ceiling of known idiocy. A lifetime goal, finally realised. I was back.

This isn't so much of a review, I don't think myself worthy of reviewing a book, since I've only read one - this one - in the last two years (at least). But as much as I found it difficult getting through some of the self-acknowledging narcissism that Brand is famed for, I couldn't help for being charmed by his positivity. Yes, he's rich. Yes, if his ideologies were to be tried and tested, and fail; leaving us all destitute in our rubbly burning post-apocalyptic ghettos, accompanied by Parklife as the ironic soundtrack, then he'd be able to slot back into the easy life, quite contently I'd imagine too.

But, I like the idea of a celebrity putting their neck on the line, trying to make an actual difference, not just turning up at a telethon or some other charity event every now and then. He seems to have approached this subject feverishly and with the best intentions. Is that any reason to be criticised and lambasted as he has been? As sycophantic as all this sounds, I'm merely being positive for once in my life. This is a book that promotes the very notion of positivity. Ask me in a week or so when the effects have worn off, and I might tell you something completely different. It does read like a self help book at times, I'm sure that's completely intended, given his background.

The subject of spirituality crops up on umpteen occasions and is used to such uplifting effect, you begin to wonder why some of these philosophies aren't taught at school. Along with the the bashing of capitalism, consumerism and materialism.....he highlights how much we've lost our way as a species. He does mention that he's prepared for change, but I wonder if he'd really be prepared to give up all his Apple gadgetry when the big day comes. 

Most of us commoners, some of whom seek the holy grail that is fame and fortune, will never be able to see if the promised land actual delivers fulfilment and happiness, we'll just have to take his word for it that it doesn't. I would say that going entering into that life with the intention of burning the candle at both ends, more often than not, ends in negative circumstances. There are those at the top of the circus who seem happy and content with the red carpet lifestyle and the hullabaloo it brings. Due to the fact that I'm destined never to sit on a fortune and count gold coins; a la Uncle Scrooge in DuckTales, I find it more comforting to surmise myself in Brand's conclusion.

I'm feeling the need to placate those of you who aren't fans, although I'd hazard a guess that if you're not, you'll have stop reading a while back.....I probably lost you at Revolution. I don't blindly follow or agree with everything he says. His left wing doctrines can be over-optimistic and feel naive. Whilst candid and off the cuff, there are signs of contrived guff too. He's a clever bloke and will still have his own fundamental interests prioritised above all of ours. Also, if you're looking for actual policies, guidelines and clear answers, you won't find them here. Solutions are outlined though and you can grasp what he's envisaging. Towards the end of the book, there are summaries and examples of previous revolutions.

Some of the most heartwarming content, are simple anecdotes of how simple acts of kindness, that any of us can recreate on a daily basis, can have a huge impact on your well-being. If you've ever helped a stranger push their car to get it going again, taken the time to calm a lost child and help them find their parents, even just picked up some litter and carried it to a bin. The buzz we get from these simple deeds does feel more satisfying than buying that a pair of shoes or some Ray Bans. I talked about naivety just now.....we accuse children of being naive, or use it as a condescension stick to beat someone who dares to be positive, with. Maybe it's those who are unable or afraid to open their minds who are naive? If I say naive anymore I may lull myself into a yogatised state.....I learned more about yoga in here than I'll ever need to know.

It would also be easy to point out that not all of us have the benefit of having the time to care, or act. Most people have the hindrance of kids and a full time mundane job, which distract you from the truth and creates apathy on a grand scale. In Russell's defence, if someone is going to lead us out of this current predicament, it's not going to be someone doing overtime in the Carphone Warehouse when they're not at home wiping babies bums and generally dealing with the kind of adverse monotony that would make even the most hardened revolutionary submerge into a state of comatosed conformity.

Some of the stats in this book only outline the fact that we're being led to an early extinction in order to keep up the current world order. When you're informed that a relatively small area of the Sahara; if pimped up with a layer of solar panels, could provide the entire planet the power we need, you really do begin to ask yourself some serious questions ( When the powers that be seem intent on choosing capitalism over the future of the planet and cementing the existence of uber-profiteering energy companies who only serve themselves and are conveniently free from regulation, it really would make more sense if these epic crimes against humanity were being committed by an illuminati run by lizards. It's so blatantly obvious we're being lied to on a scale of biblical proportions, you almost have to applaud them for keeping the status quo going for as long as they have, it's a masterpiece in deception.


There are some common misconceptions regarding his views too. The most obvious one is that he's apparently telling us all not to vote. I've also heard that he's advising us to stop paying our mortgages. I've not found anything in this book that even comes close to affirming these faux assertions. Even the profits of this book are going to towards ways of helping people escape their afflictions and addictions. I haven't seen someone so maligned for thinking outside the box since David Icke. That guy was scathingly mocked on national television by Terry Wogan, egged on by a crowing, small-minded, uneducated, belligerent audience. Although, anyone that allows themselves to be bullied by that Irish silver-tongued darling of the 80's perennially bored housewife, probably deserves a good verbal shoeing. Bit of advice to anyone thinking of going on national television to tell us all we've been infiltrated by lizards masquerading as humans, bringing to life 80's cult-classic alien invasion sci-fi series, 'V', don't do it in a bloody shellsuit. Talk about a lamb to the slaughter.


Whatever your opinion on Brand, it's clear that there is a gap in the market for an inspirational figurehead that can coax young people, any generation in fact, into caring about politics. I couldn't have given a stuff until I started watching The Trews a few months back. Whether Russell Brand is capable if being that figurehead remains to be seen. He doesn't seem willing to take that next step, into the political spotlight. On Newsnight recently; when asked why he wouldn't stand for election, he said that he feared he'd just become "one of them", if he did. I winced at that point, it seemed like an easy excuse.

Ultimately, what this book is trying to do is open our minds, to reiterate that there's a bigger picture. All he's trying to do is inform of us of what that picture look like if we all stopped conforming with what is currently an antiquated, ugly, corrupted and all too increasingly familiar one. 

He's not the messiah, he's not even a particularly naughty boy anymore. He is on the right lines though and I, for one, am grateful for the effort.

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