My relationship with Russell Brand is a problematic one. I mean in regards to me being a consumer of his thoughts that make it into words. Not like, actually in a relationship. Although a couple of years ago he asked my mate who I was stood with where the loo was and I think we had a MOMENT.
It’s problematic because Russell, yeah Russell (we correctly directed him to the gents so yeah, it’s Russell now) in the past has got form for being a bit of a well, bell end.
The whole horribly misjudged Andrew Sachs prank phone call which basically made him and Johnathan Ross look like two bored ten year olds in their village phone box stifling giggles to childline.
His reported attitude and behaviour towards women hasn’t been brilliant either. His recent support of the No More Page Three campaign would suggest he’s attempting to make amends. Although claiming you are no longer sexist because of “the love of a good woman” is like saying you are a vegan because you really enjoyed a falafel wrap that time. Yeah, it’s problematic.
But so is my relationship with other ‘brands’.
I will buy a Starbucks coffee from a service motorways even though I know that they are tax dodging scumbags. I can often be seen standing on a forecourt off the M6 having a full on word with myself, arguing that I need the caffeine more than I need the moral fibre. I love a Ribena on a hangover but I know that they test on animals. I shop at Tescos yet I am disgusted that they are pretty much ‘simcitying’ the shit out of local communities. But Katie, they keep putting independents out of business? Yeah, BUT clubcard points.
I mean well but I’m a walking contradiction. I get angry about stuff but do nothing about it. Well, I may sign an online petition or write a blog. Basically what all us middle class bleeding heart liberals do when we feel helpless and pointless. When the news is perpetually bleak and darker with each passing day. You think if you just light a candle, however small it might make a tiny bit of difference.
But if I write a blog or do a youtube rant well, that’s like lighting a candle in a rainstorm. That’s what it feels like anyway.
Russell however, has eight million followers on Twitter.
He’s famous so people listen when he speaks and you know what, I’m glad. I’m glad he’s speaking. He’s lighting a bloody great bat signal in this politically corrupt rainstorm. A call to arms. And we need one.
I don’t agree with his whole hey, we can change the system if we just don’t vote. No Russell. All the NO. If I don’t put an umbrella up in this rainstorm then I’m just stood soaking wet, looking at all those people in front of their log fires keeping dry.
I do agree with him trying to stand up for people like the New Era estate who without him may have just become another link on an online news side bar.
I agree with him using his fame to call out the corrupt and the powerful. For actually, y’know, giving a shit and trying to help in an seemingly increasingly apathetic and detached world.
His detractors call him a champagne socialist. Would anyone be listening to him if he wasn’t? If he had no fame or no money? If he was just a cider and black socialist would he have the platform to start such discourse or debate?
He’s speaking and whether you like what he has to say or you don’t, it’s creating discussion and that’s what we need. We need people to get talking, to get mad, to get passionate. We need young people to get talking, to get mad, to get passionate.
Politics should be about discourse. It should be passionate and heated. It should be about people not suits. Votes are people not a number on a spreadsheet. That number has a family, has hopes, matters.
Whatever your thoughts or feelings about him, he thinks people matter.
And maybe that’s the kind of Brand we should all be investing in.