On Russell Brand, laptops, spit, gags and yours truly
29th October 2008
I trust each and every one of you – man, woman, child, chimp or chump – is well.
I would like to tell you a few things. It’s just a list of things really, things that have happened since last we spoke. These I will number. One – a long one – is about Russell Brand. However each is equally riveting so stick around if you want the works.
1 – My laptop has finally gone phutt. This was inevitable though no less tragic for that. I doubt it can be fixed. Which means I must buy a new one. I’ve had it for four an a half years since its purchase in the US & A. It’s been with me through thick and thin and has observed and absorbed a great deal of change in my life (including starting to write/be a journalist). I’m currently tapping this out on my portable understudy, Tosh(iba). It’s not very homely. It doesn’t even have it’s own personlised wallpaper. It is not my friend. I hate it.
2 – Whilst driving laptop number one, strapped into the passenger seat, to a techno fiend in Kentish Town, I gave way to Michael Palin. He was extremely friendly, all waves and smiles. Is the study of Michael Palin Palintology?
3 – Metro turned down a recent column I submitted, about Russell Brand. This was my fault. It wasn’t what they had asked for and one has to write to a brief. In light of Russ’s recent hijinks with the pitiful ego that is Jonathan Woss I am currently disappointed with Mr Brand and thus not so bothered it didn’t get in. Sex was always going to be his undoing one way or the other – or more importantly bragging about it. In the same way that a criminal cannot contain himself about the perfect crime, so Brand-o can’t pass up the opportunity to tell someone, anyone (even the grandfather of the molested) that he’s, you know, dun it. With a lady. It is, of course, a sign of deep insecurity and immaturity – and also a large constituent of what makes him so wonderfully entertaining on the radio.
Brand is interesting: everyone wants to hate him on account of the way he looks, dresses, prosthelytizes, is – yet his great achievement is to be likeable despite this. This is testament to his extraordinary talent – a truly breathtaking ability to rise above criticism through sheer weight of brilliance. Having read his book, kept up with his Guardian columns and downloaded his podcasts I can safely say this is a man touched by genius.
That said, and without wishing to be wise after the event (translation: I love being wise after the event), having listened to his podcasts over the last few weeks, his current mode of entertainment was unsustainable, a Greek tragedy waiting to happen, with hubris at its core. To lean on extensive details of your sex life as the basis for a show (see podcast recorded with David Baddiel discussing orgy arrangment) must inevitably lead to a damage of some sort, either for the listeners, the beeb or the presenter. Turns it it was all three.
I’ve just read that Russell Brand has resigned. An eloquent and dignified apology it was too.
Anyroadup, I don’t know if you remember but I brought this up because of an unpublished column I wrote about Russ. Instead of letting it fester pointlessly on my laptop I thought I’d paste it below. So here it is – a creative guide to being Russell Brand. I guess it now stands as something of an epitaph:
Wake up. Have sex. Feed cat. Make breakfast. Have sex again. Do make-up. Comb hair with hedgehog. Call Noel Gallagher. Swan into Soho . On a swan. Call mum. Chat up model. Have sex. Have vegetarian lunch consisting of scrambled eggs with melted cheese (or at least that’s what my friend Tom once observed you eating in Hampstead). Visit mum in Grays, Essex . Drink tea. Have sex (not with mum). Get train back to London . Have sex on train. Collect award for ‘Shagger of the Year’. Have sex with award. Perform stand-up gig. Receive many laughs. Have sex with entire audience. Go to party. Have sex with door whilst waiting for it to be answered. Once inside avoid drink and drugs but instead indulge in drug of choice, sexual intercourse. In taxi on way home reflect upon your twelfth conquest of the day and ponder the notion of whether, despite being a man whose rare verbal dexterity and swiftness of thought – as amply illustrated in your weekly podcast – may one day render you hilarious to the point of world domination, your unquenchable sexual desires are in fact a crie de cour from a manchild cut adrift from convention and desperately seeking shelter from oblivion in the form of a woman’s touch, or merely the mildly unedifying though somewhat enviable behaviour of any number of truly brilliant men from Dylan Thomas to Sven Goran Ericsson whose sex lives do not conform to the norm. Have sex with taxi driver. Let yourself in. Feed cat. Have sex with cat. Turn out the light. N-night Russ.
4 – I attended a media networking event last night. I’ve never been so splattered with spit in my life. It was like a fetish film. Because it’s loud people have to shout – and when some people shout they spit. To be fair some people just spit anyway. When talking to the women I’d often lower my ear to their mouth level. This way I get an earful of spit. When networking with the blokes I’m more likely to get the spit in my face or, yuk, in my eyes or, double-yuck, mouth. It was, incidentally, an horrific waste of time, though on the upside I did see my nemesis Paul Morely at Warren Street (see my inaugural blog).
5 – tonight my friend Rip dared me to eat a large spoon of lime pickle for the price of a curry. I love a free meal, me.
6 – A few weeks ago I wrote, and I quote, a KICK ASS column – with six examples – on how to beat the credit crunch. KICK ASS it was. I submitted it to every sensible newspaper in the land plus a number of periodicals. And guess what? No one is taking anything new on on account of, yes you guessed it, the credit crunch. I’m going to name this problem ‘Wordsworth’s paradox’.
7 – On the upside I have landed a gig writing jokes for 118118. The only rules are they have to be original and no more than 110 characters. So go ahead, text ‘Joke’ to 118118. Be warned though – any you receive that aren’t funny are probably mine. My favourite so far: What did one chav say to the other chav? Nothing, they just stabbed each other.
8 – I recently started singing classes at City Lit in the centre of London. It’s worth noting the diversity of the class. There is a man with learning difficulties who stands up and croons more or less when he wants, a tiny woman from Eastern Europe who almost leaves the ground when she sings such is the strength of her voice, a young man from Holland with a crippling stutter – it can take him up to a minute to say his name – yet, you’ve guessed it, sings like a dream, a Scotsman with a fine rasp and a clear prediciliction for alcohol and a black guy who lost twenty years of his life to a thyroid condition which has denied him his living as an actor – he played Private Snowball in Full Metal Jacket – you’d recognise him if you’ve seen the film.
And that, as they say, is this.
All the beast,