You are likeable chap- a verbal tap dancing, media dandy with a sharp wit and a knack for rubbing salt into the wounds of all sorts of grouchy sods. So this letter is not one of those ’hate mail’ things.
It’s just an uncomfortable feeling, a feeling that all this beautiful talk of revolution is a bit awkward.
Your silver words sounds great but are they telling a truth or just tapping into an unease that the certainties don’t exist anymore? Are we are staggering into a post politic time?
Russell, it seems that in the last few months you have become obsessed with the revolution and chucking names like Che Guevara around like interview confetti and making a mixture of sharp observations and ribald statements and have become intoxicated with some kind of messiah complex. A political/media version of the great Eric Morecambe telling the late conductor Andre Previn ‘I’m playing all the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order.’
The 21st century is having a nervous breakdown and things are moving very quickly but these simplistic solutions are not going to help anyone. This ‘don’t vote’ stuff is the luxury of the super rich, the one door that the far right waltz through and never offers a real solution. Along with some of the other, admittedly intoxicating anti establishment stuff, it’s twitter politics – 140 happy, clappy characters that look great whizzing round the internet- the sort of stuff that people say like ‘politicians – they are all the same’, ‘I don’t trust none of them’ etc – that sort of reducing the world’s problems to a snappy retweet but never with a solution…
Of course everything is fucked and capitalism is having a bad hangover and, at least , Russell, you bother to point this out and there is a truth in your manic discourse. We are all taking pot shots at the system that has hypnotised us all as we sit here typing out missives on Apple Macs and listening to our counter culture music sold to us by the evil empire whilst being intoxicated by the shiny baubles of God and the dollar.
So, Russell, it seems you want to be the revolution.
It all sounds very grand and sexy and exciting. There you are in the Guardian railing against corruption, alienated leaders, the corporate state and unequal wealth and posh salt in some bar in Shoreditch. You do it very well. You are like an endless river of freeform language and switchblade wit.
It’s so exciting you even have book out at the same time about it.
Just in time for Christmas.
It makes you think that when the Pop Group sang ‘We Are All Prostitutes’ all those years ago they were making the perfect political statement. We are all twitching away in the spider’s web, some us wriggling more than others.
Your book actually looks pretty good, if crammed full of the stuff that everyone was talking about years ago regurgitated like they are grand new discoveries. You are smart and witty and your Trews youtube clips – where you do these great to camera political rants – are both entertaining and saying all the right stuff.
Unfortunately being ‘andsome, witty and scruffily charismatic is just not enough to change the world – although it might have worked for Jesus if he existed. Your argument is charming but full of holes. A working class hero is something to be as another very rich anti capitalist once sang and that old millionaires against poverty thing is very awkward and an odd thing to be – just ask Bono.
Russell, it’s just that it’s all a bit hard to tell whether the words sound good tumbling out of your mouth or if they very little or no meaning – it’s the curse of these times. In these post ironic times with dead voiced media luvvies and presenters it’s an empty babble where even meaning lost its meaning and you can’t tell if people are taking the piss or wearing a shiny new hipster badge. This is not necessarily your fault but can you blame us for feeling that is all a bit like John Lennon singing ‘imagine no possessions’ in his 72-room mansion in 1971. Another version of the common celebrity delusion that once they have changed the charts or got bored of being famous they can change the world. Another new role to play out after drugs, fame and sex have numbed the soul.
Oh Russell, if only all this stuff was true and that by shouting ‘Revolution!’ from the roof tops and sprinkling the magic dust of charisma over well meaning phrases the world will change. But like a well meaning version of those not so nice UKIP people you are tapping into the disillusionment with everything of our spoilt times but not offering any real solutions. Good sounding stuff from the post politics world where the shaman are coming with their loud voices, magnetic souls and shiny eyes and their snake oil solutions.
This is not an anti-Russell tirade, I like the cut of your gib and there is something genuinely well meaning about you dandy dancing through the media and I am a sucker for all that revolution stuff myself. It’s just that the real world is far more foul and awkward than your, at best, naive and, at worst, showbiz gone mad tirades. The current system is broken, the people at the top play mean and dirty and they conduct a vicious and dark game – this much we know and it’s great you point it out.
The disillusionment with the establishment is easy to understand these days and it’s getting more and more popular and the future will see cranks, freaks and pampered messiahs making a run for the poisoned chalice of power that they all simultaneously detest. Of course the system is rotten and of most of the issues that affect our lives are spiralling out of the control of political parties who were formed decades ago and we need new solutions. Maybe you can be a British version of Iceland’s Jon Gnarr who got to be mayor of Reykjavik after the bank crash and with a similar counter culture agenda that actually affected change in a surreal term of power that was like an acting out of the radical Jello Biafra manifesto 1980’s run for San Francisco mayor.
Are these post politics times? have the establishment become to complacent? do comics and clowns have more of an idea than yer Millibands and Camerons? Or is it just another branch on the tree of showbusiness? Are people like Bez and Brand and, to a certain extent, Farrage the future politic in a post-politic time?
The only certainty now is that there no certainties.