Monday, 4 May 2015

Book Review - Revolution by Russell Brand

You may remember back in January I made a whole host of ambitions New Years Resolutions, or rather New Years Goals.  One of them was to read one book per month and I am pleased to say that this is one goal that I have actually been able to keep up with.  So I thought I would share with you the books I have read so far this year with a little review of each one.

Revolution by Russell Brand.

Some time ago I was watching some Road Wars type programme and it showed a clip of a car knocking down a cyclist then driving off.  Hit and Run.  It also showed a clip about another driver who had committed some sort of fraud.  At the end of the programme it explained that the hit and run driver had been fined X amount (not very much) of money and given something like three days of community service, for basically nearly killing someone and giving no reason to believe he wouldn't do a similar thing again.  And the fraudster, who hadn't actually physically hurt anyone and was no more liable to after his conviction was given a massive prison sentence.  I was raging afterwards because it was a perfect demonstration of how our society values money over life.
In his book Russell Brand says about Jesus: 'The only time he ever let himself go and knocked over tables was when the financial industry was prioritised over normal people.'  I know there is more to this Bible verse but to me this epitomises the problems we have in our society; the priority of the economy over love.  If only people thought love was the most important thing, the thing everyone wanted more of how different would the world be then?  In his book Russell Brand explores how we the people could make love the thing through activism, standing up to The Man and speaking up for what is right, he talks about a society where 'positive human attributes like altruism and cooperation become ideological pillars for society.'

Yes I am a fan of Russell Brand, fortunately I am not biased against him having not really ever come across him till watching him on News Night and then following his Trews so I never encountered his sex, drugs and rock and roll persona.  He stands for a lot of things that I believe in and this book spells out his vision for how the world could be.
I enjoyed the book, although initially couldn't stop imagining his voice as I was reading it which was a bit distracting.  It's beautifully written, often sounding like a poem or rap in places, he is a fabulous wordsmith.
This was not an easy book to read, I did have to pay attention and that can be challenging with two children that frequently wake thought the night resulting in me having the concentration span of a knat!  However I did get a lot from it, and will probably read it again.

Brand gives us an insight into his childhood and youth which help us understand some of the more unfortunate parts of his adult life.  He says "When I was piping and chasing and f***ing and faming, what I wanted was a connection, and with no map, no key, no code, I settled for sedation".  As well as how this helps us relate to where he comes from, his world view, I also love the way he uses the words here, the alliteration, the repetition of the same word through out the phrase and the rhythm, it feels good to read and the whole book is like this, it's a pleasure.

Some people might be turned off by Brand's view of religion, he believes in God, but not in a conventional sense, Some people might use this as an excuse to reject his ideas, but I found his views fascinating and inspiring and they helped me learn more about what I believe.  He says "My belief is that we do not currently operate on a frequency of consciousness that is capable of interpreting the information required to understand the great mystery".  I think many people put limits on God, when really it's just that there are aspects of Him that we don't yet understand given our limited senses.

Another thing I like about this book is how Brand isn't afraid to admit that he can let his ego get ahead of him (which is why he wouldn't ever be a politician), he shows he is human and still has weaknesses just like everyone else, he says, 'erring is a daily occurrence.  Each evening when I reflect on the days events...there's usually one or two clips where I wince at my selfishness or missed opportunities to move closer to the source.'.

 He also uses humour to get through to his readers with witty phrases such as:

"Any British politician, like Prime Minister David Cameron, who claims to be a Christian, which means 'to practice the teachings of Jesus Christ', has to, like Jesus, heal the sick, not, like a c**t, sell off the NHS."

It's funny but it's true.

Here are a few paragraphs that really resonated with me and some of my thoughts recently:

"We are living in a zoo, or more accurately a farm, our collective consciousness, our individual consciousness, has been hijacked by a power structure that needs us to remain atomised and disconnected.  We want union, we want connection, we need it the way we need other forms of nutrition, and denied it, we delve into the lower impulses for sanctuary. 
We have been segregated and severed, from each other and even ourselves.  We have been told that freedom is the ability to pursue petty, trivial desires when true freedom is freedom from these petty desires. "

"Science required faith the way religion does.  Science required acceptance of metaphor, just the way religion does.  'Does science cause wars the way religion does?'  you might ask.  I would say those conflicts are actually about territory, either ideological or physical, and that those ideas are materialistic in the same way science is - and the weapons with which those wars are fought, who creates those?"

"Immigrants did not cause the financial crisis. Benefit cheats did not get multi-million-dollar bonuses."

This one might make you chuckle (unless you absolutely adore the royal family, in which case, scroll on):

" England we have a Queen for f**k's sake. A Queen! We have to call her things like 'Your Majesty'. YOUR MAJESTY! Like she's all majestic, like an eagle or a mountain.  She's just a person.  A little old lady in a shiny hat - that we paid for.  Or 'Your Highness'! What the f**k is that?!  What, she's high up, above us, at the top of a class pyramid on a shelf of money with her face on it?  We should be calling her Mrs Windsor.  In fact that's not even her real name, they changed it in the war to distract us from the inconvenient fact that they were as German as the enemy that teenage boys were being encouraged, conscripted actually to die fighting.  Her actual name is Mrs Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.  'Mrs Saxe-Coburg-Gotha'!!  No wonder they f***ing changed it.  It's the most German thing I've ever heard - she might as well've been called 'Mrs Bratwurst-Kraut-Nazi'."

"You are enough, you're enough, there's nothing you can buy or try on that's going to make you any better, because you couldn't be any better than you are."

So if you are someone who thinks they heard Russell Brand telling people not to vote and are dismissing everything he has to say based on that, I suggest you have a bit of a re-think, listen to some of his Trews and if you like what you hear have a gander at the book, and let me know what you think.  

If you are thinking on buying the book then it would be really awesome if you clicked on the link because then I get a little bit of dosh for your efforts.  Us full time mums gotta get our tea drinking money from somewhere!!

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