Time Out readers quiz Russell Brand on his latest literary effort.
Could you take Russell Brand seriously as a political figure? He inspires as much hatred as respect among people. But following an appearance on BBC’s Newsnight earlier this year, Brand has been spreading his message, and brought out a book, Revolution, in time to be included on Christmas lists. He answers Time Out readers’ questions.
Raazia asks: ‘Are you worried about alienating the fans of your comedy?’
I do have concerns, because I’m a comedian and I don’t want this to start being some dry, bureaucratic fist pump. But I want to participate in people feeling connected to each other. I also think this’ll be a laugh. Ultimately, I just have to hope that there are a significant number of people who feel like I feel. If they do, then this thing will take care of itself. If they don’t, then what I’m saying doesn’t matter anyway.
Ali Cooke asks: ‘What made you decide we need a revolution?’
It’s based on personal experience. It’s not at all academic. When I did that Jeremy Paxman interview it resonated with people because the things I was expressing were inside them too. Now, everywhere I go, people are like, ‘All right Russ! How’s it going?’ The feeling I have of being around people is better than it’s ever been. That’s why I’m willing to take that risk of alienating people who are fans of Big Brother’s Big Mouth or Get Him to the Greek. When I’m dying, I don’t want to look back on my life and say, ‘And then I made Ponderland 7.’ I’ve reached this tipping point now. I’ve started to think: What if I have to go to prison for what I believe? And I think: Well, I’d hate that, but I’d do it. What if I had to die? Well, I’m going to die anyway.
So you’re willing to die for the revolution?
There’s no point doing it if you’re not. If they say, ‘We’ll kill you if you keep saying this’, and then you go, ‘Oh, all right, I’ll do a podcast’, then don’t bother. It’s not like you need to die for it. You’re going to die with it or without it. We’re all in the death seat. We’re all waiting. It’s coming.
Via Twitter, @moonsoneohseven asks, ‘In all seriousness, why don’t you form your own political party?’
Because a big problem is the way the political systems work. They primarily use the energies of egotism, selfishness and lust. I’m not inherently better than British Prime Minister David Cameron or anyone else. If I become a cog in that machine, it’s likely I’ll become that kind of person. Or become irrelevant. I want to break away and create new systems that encourage the better parts of our nature.
Tania asks: ‘Do you think that selling a book about revolution is revolutionary? Might not it be best just to do stuff rather than turning it into capitalism?’
That is a very valid point and I’m mindful that the primary consequence of this book should not be a rich person getting richer. That’s why I’m committed to using the profits to create a café or meeting space that serves food, which will be run entirely by recovering addicts. I’m not going to do this and then get a house in Provence. I’ve been on private jets and I swear to you it’s no good.
Ellie asks: ‘If you became prime minister, what would be the first thing you’d do?’
I wouldn’t ever become prime minister. No one should be prime minister. I’d make people directly responsible for their own communities and I’d open everything to referendums so we could vote on everything. Let’s not pretend the last 20 years of technological revolution haven’t happened. We could be voting on Twitter.