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Russell Brand Responds To London Riots!

| Filed under: Icky Icky PooAnglophiliaWhen Celebrities BlogSad SadRussell Brand


For all HIGHlarious as he is most of the time, Russell Brand also seems to know his shiz!

The actor recently took the web to blog his thoughts on the recent, HOriffic looting, fires, and rioting going on all over London, and we think he hits the nail on the head!

He writes:

I no longer live in London. I've been transplanted to Los Angeles by a combination of love and money; such good fortune and opportunity, in both cases, you might think disqualify me from commenting on matters in my homeland. Even the results of Britain's Got Ice-Factor may lay prettily glistening beyond my remit now that I am self-banished.

To be honest when I lived in England I didn't really care too much for the fabricated theatrics of reality TV. Except when I worked for Big Brother, then it was my job to slosh about in the amplified trivia of the housemates/inmates. Sometimes it was actually quite bloody interesting. Particularly the year that Nadia won. She was the Portuguese transsexual. Remember? No? Best series ever tbqh Well, that's the nature of the medium; as it whizzes past the eyes it seems very relevant but the malady of reality TV stars is that their shelf life expires, like dog years, by the power of seven. To me it seems as if Nadia's triumph took place during the silver jubilee, we had a street party.

Early in that series there was an incident of excitement and high tension. The testosteronal, alpha figures of the house – a Scot called Jason and a Londoner called Victor – incited by the teasing conditions and a camp lad called Marco (wow, it's all coming back) kicked off in the house, smashed some crockery and a few doors. Police were called, tapes were edited and the carnival rolled on. When I was warned to be discreet on-air about the extent of the violence, I quoted a British first-world-war general who, reflecting on the inability of his returning troops to adapt to civilian life, said: "You cannot rouse the animal in man then expect it to be put aside at a moment's notice."

"Yeah, that's exactly the kind of thing we want you to say the opposite of," said the channel's representative.

This week's riots are sad and frightening and, if I have by virtue of my temporary displacement forgone the right to speak about the behaviour of my countrymen, then this is gonna be irksome. I mean even David Cameron came back from his holiday. Eventually. The Tuscan truffles lost their succulence when the breaking glass became too loud to ignore. Then dopey ol' Boris came cycling back into the London clutter with his spun gold hair and his spun shit logic as it became apparent that the holiday was over.

In fact, it isn't my absence from the territory of London that bothers me; it's my absence from the economic class that is being affected that itches in my gut because, as I looked at the online incident maps, the boroughs that were suffering all, for me, had some resonance. I've lived in Dalston, Hackney, Elephant, Camden and Bethnal Green. I grew up round Dagenham and Romford and, whilst I could never claim to be from the demographic most obviously affected, I feel guilty that I'm not there now.

I feel proud to be English, proud to be a Londoner (all right, an Essex boy), never more so than since being in exile, and I naturally began to wonder what would make young people destroy their communities.

I have spoken to mates in London and Manchester and they sound genuinely frightened and hopeless, and the details of their stories place this outbreak beyond the realms of any political idealism or rationalisation. But I can't, from my ivory tower in the Hollywood Hills, compete with the understandable yet futile rhetoric, describing the rioters as mindless. Nor do I want to dwell on the sadness of our beautiful cities being tarnished and people's shops and livelihoods, sometimes generations old, being immolated. The tragic and inevitable deaths ought to be left for eulogies and grieving. Tariq Jahan has spoken so eloquently from his position of painful proximity, with such compassion, that nearly all else is redundant.

The only question I can legitimately ask is: why is this happening? Mark Duggan's death has been badly handled but no one is contesting that is a reason for these conflagrations beyond the initial flash of activity in Tottenham. I've heard Theresa May and the Old Etonians whose hols have been curtailed (many would say they're the real victims) saying the behaviour is "unjustifiable" and "unacceptable". Wow! Thanks guys! What a wonderful use of the planet's fast-depleting oxygen resources. Now that's been dealt with can we move on to more taxing matters such as whether or not Jack The Ripper was a ladies' man. And what the hell do bears get up to in those woods?

However "unacceptable" and "unjustifiable" it might be, it has happened so we better accept it and, whilst we can't justify it, we should kick around a few neurons and work out why so many people feel utterly disconnected from the cities they live in.

Unless on the news tomorrow it's revealed that there's been a freaky "criminal creating" chemical leak in London and Manchester and Liverpool and Birmingham that's causing young people to spontaneously and simultaneously violate their environments – in which case we can park the ol' brainboxes, stop worrying and get on with the football season, but I suspect there hasn't – we have, as human beings, got a few things to consider together.

I should here admit that I have been arrested for criminal damage for my part in anti-capitalist protest earlier in this decade. I often attended protests and then, in my early 20s, and on drugs, I enjoyed it when the protests lost direction and became chaotic, hostile even. I was intrigued by the anarchist "Black bloc", hooded and masked, as, in retrospect, was their agenda, but was more viscerally affected by the football "casuals" who'd turn up because the veneer of the protest's idealistic objective gave them the perfect opportunity to wreck stuff and have a row with the Old Bill.

That was never my cup of tea though. For one thing, policemen are generally pretty good fighters and second, it registered that the accent they shouted at me with was closer to my own than that of some of those singing about the red flag making the wall of plastic shields between us seem thinner.

I found those protests exciting, yes, because I was young and a bit of a twerp but also, I suppose, because there was a void in me. A lack of direction, a sense that I was not invested in the dominant culture, that government existed not to look after the interests of the people it was elected to represent but the big businesses that they were in bed with.

I felt that, and I had a mum who loved me, a dad who told me that nothing was beyond my reach, an education, a grant from Essex council (to train as an actor of all things!!!) and several charities that gave me money for maintenance. I shudder to think how disenfranchised I would have felt if I had been deprived of that long list of privileges.

That state of deprivation though is, of course, the condition that many of those rioting endure as their unbending reality. No education, a weakened family unit, no money and no way of getting any. JD Sports is probably easier to desecrate if you can't afford what's in there and the few poorly paid jobs there are taken. Amidst the bleakness of this social landscape, squinting all the while in the glare of a culture that radiates ultraviolet consumerism and infrared celebrity. That daily, hourly, incessantly enforces the egregious, deceitful message that you are what you wear, what you drive, what you watch and what you watch it on, in livid, neon pixels. The only light in their lives comes from these luminous corporate messages. No wonder they have their fucking hoods up.

I remember Cameron saying "hug a hoodie" but I haven't seen him doing it. Why would he? Hoodies don't vote, they've realised it's pointless, that whoever gets elected will just be a different shade of the "we don't give a toss about you" party.

Politicians don't represent the interests of people who don't vote. They barely care about the people who do vote. They look after the corporations who get them elected. Cameron only spoke out against News International when it became evident to us, US, the people, not to him (like Rose West, "He must've known") that the newspapers Murdoch controlled were happy to desecrate the dead in the pursuit of another exploitative, distracting story.

Why am I surprised that these young people behave destructively, "mindlessly", motivated only by self-interest? How should we describe the actions of the city bankers who brought our economy to its knees in 2010? Altruistic? Mindful? Kind? But then again, they do wear suits, so they deserve to be bailed out, perhaps that's why not one of them has been imprisoned. And they got away with a lot more than a few fucking pairs of trainers.

These young people have no sense of community because they haven't been given one. They have no stake in society because Cameron's mentor Margaret Thatcher told us there's no such thing.

If we don't want our young people to tear apart our communities then don't let people in power tear apart the values that hold our communities together.

As you have by now surely noticed, I don't know enough about politics to ponder a solution and my hands are sticky with blood money from representing corporate interests through film, television and commercials, venerating, through my endorsements and celebrity, products and a lifestyle that contributes to the alienation of an increasingly dissatisfied underclass. But I know, as we all intuitively know, the solution is all around us and it isn't political, it is spiritual. Gandhi said: "Be the change you want to see in the world."

In this simple sentiment we can find hope, as we can in the efforts of those cleaning up the debris and ash in bonhomous, broom-wielding posses. If we want to live in a society where people feel included, we must include them, where they feel represented, we must represent them and where they feel love and compassion for their communities then we, the members of that community, must find love and compassion for them.

As we sweep away the mistakes made in the selfish, nocturnal darkness we must ensure that, amidst the broken glass and sadness, we don't sweep away the youth lost amongst the shards in the shadows cast by the new dawn.

Russell Brand is donating his fee for this article to a clean-up project.

Wow. Truly powerful words - and 100% honest and correct!

We sincerely hope that those involved will read Russell's words, and take them into consideration.

Apathy is a very scary thing - and our thoughts are truly with those suffering and enduring all this unnecessary violence in the UK right now.

Stay strong!

[Image via WENN.]

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31 comments to “Russell Brand Responds To London Riots!”

  1. 1

    He's always been engaged and eloquent. I do wonder how he will fair once the lust and infatuation wears off and they need to have meaningful dialogue. Perhaps there is more to Katie than her TV appearances reveal. I hope so for his sake.

  2. 2

    Every time I hear something out of this guy I'm reminded of how intelligent and witty he is. Then I become even more baffled as to why he's married to Katy Perry.

  3. Drita says – reply to this


    Wow what a refreshing statement. Not many people in his position would be so eloquently honest. I guess he likes Katy Perry because he can discuss intellectual topics with other people. She just has to stand there, smile, look pretty and of course open her legs when needed. Just a human blowup doll. Seems extremely convenient for a smart guy ;)

  4. 4

    I wish people would stop saying the 'UK riots' - they are ONLY happening in England! There have been none in Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales. Anyways, Russell is an amazing writer and I agree with all that he said.

  5. 5

    That man is flat-out brilliant.

  6. 6

    I don't comment much. I don't tweet and I don't FB. I could not read his post and his comments. He goes off on tangents, tries to get to his point and then off again. He is NOT eloquent. He goes off everywhere and loses his point. I do not respect the things he has to say about this. Yes, he was from England, but as he said…I am not from those areas. I hate when celebrities comment on something that they are not truly connected too. The proper response to those things is that you grieve for those people and that you are trying to understand, but never will. Because, that is how you truly are! You do not understand.

  7. 7

    He should show up with a broom.
    And not just for a photo op.
    Show us. Seriously.

  8. 8

    Class warfare just like Barry promotes. Pure and simple.
    And it's coming here to the States. In fact it's already here.
    The London Riots. It's not because some cop randomly shot somebody.
    It's being orchestrated and ginned up against capitalists, business owners, the so-called rich.
    Why aren't we rioting?
    A lot of Americans have just had a big chunk taken out of their 401(k)s and their pension plans.
    Shouldn't Americans be out rioting and looting?
    Instead, everybody just got up and those that have jobs went to work as usual. Rioting and looting is strictly the privilege of the new leisured class, meaning the wards of the state. The moochers are dragging us down.
    It's them or us. It's going to get real ugly.

  9. 9

    Typical famous idiot…spewing forth the class welfare crap. The British gov't is trying to save itself from financial collapse and these people are flipping out because they want their lifetime freebies. Cradle to grave…and America is right behind them.

  10. 10

    Re: luvs2tango – Who will you blame for your problems if a Republican enters the White House next term? Stop using Obama as your scapegoat.

  11. 11

    There is no question of his intelligence. I've enjoyed watching Russell for many years now since finding him on the UK's Big Brother, but a) the man needs to learn to edit. Seriously, a lot of his tangent could've been done away with and b) he is talking from two sides of his mouth and he readily admits this. Hey Russell BE THE CHANGE. Now that you and your super successful wifey have more than enough money for 4 or 5 lifetimes thru the corporate sponsorship you so loathe…DO SOMETHING POSITIVE and REAL! Spirituality isn't a grab bag of quotes for you to use when it suits the situation. LIVE your spirituality ffs.

  12. 12

    Wow! Thats the best read ive seen so far about the riots…and it took getting on Perez to get it…who woulda known

  13. 13

    Re: sillybillykirsty – Totally agree with you there! It is only happening in one Country - England. Not the rest of the countries in the UK. Its brining negative publicity to Scotland, Wales and N Ireland

  14. 14

    Russell Brand is very eloquent, and maybe well-meaning, but I can't agree with what he has to say here.

    Maybe the looters do feel a sense of disenchantment, but to be quite honest so does everyone else, the difference is that they put their efforts into finding a job to support their families, the majority of these kids, and they are kids, scrounge off the state for all it's worth because they have some sense of entitlement that the State "owes" them. It's absolute horseshit. The state, sure, is there to protect you, but the government doesn't OWE you anything. Most of the small business owners, which make up roughly 90% of all businesses here (Ireland), are self-made, were not handed things on a plate, and often started from scratch.

    Yes, the governments all suck, none more so than our own which basically told my generation we'd be sorted and then forgot to mention that they spent all of the public funds on private jets and bribes to developers. But if these criminals had a problem with the government they'd be protesting at government buildings, not looting shops for free stuff. It's opportunistic hooliganism, which has nothing to do with the government and as far as I can see hasn't screwed Cameron and his lads over in the slightest. If anything his harsh stance against them will probably increase his popularity.

  15. 15

    (cont.) Enough with pandering to people who happened to grow up in shitty situations and then turn around to bite the hand that feeds them their social security allowance. These riots are about revenge and about taking advantage of a situation where they can get their hands on some free TVs. Your life is what you make of it, and the government isn't, and shouldn't be, there for the purposes of finding you a job or finding you a house, you do that stuff by yourself. You create your own community by, for example, not destroying it. This sense of entitlement, which Russell seems to be misunderstanding for "detachment", needs to be stamped out.

  16. 16

    one ugly mutha…

  17. 17

    Good lad!

  18. 18

    enjoy the fact that he's intelligent and hilarious at times
    and that tells me that there is much more to Katy Perry than the public realizes
    but obviously Russell saw it right away

  19. 19

    Re: luvs2tango – I couldn't have said it better myself! The class warfare has started here too. "the rich need to pay their fair share", when 50% pay don't even pay taxes in this country. I say to the lazy, welfare, food stamp, and the government owes me everything I want… get off your lazy ass and earn it yourself. Just like the "rich" who pay the taxes that pay your government freebies! The day is coming when it will make more sense to quit working and paying taxes for the lazy, and I'll get in line for my freebies! Because the government owes me mentality is what the lazy class feeds on, no self responsibility for them, nope they are entitled to suck the life out of this country because Obama said they can have it all for nothing!

  20. 20

    Re: Serena Loves Mario – and you can stop pretending that in Obamas first 2 years as president he didn't OUT SPEND every other president and he quadrupled the national debt all with the help of a democrat House and Senate (Pelosi & Reed). The guy clearly failed his economics classes! So Don't go blaming it on past presidents, because the moron has screwed up all own his own and can't take responsibility for it!

  21. 21

    Perez, in the writing he scorns people for calling these riots 'unnecessary' and you say you agree with him yet you still continue to contradict yourself.

  22. 22

    Preach Russell!

  23. 23

    Re: trophy wife 1 – Gee and who loved GWB who created most of what we suffer from today? Was it YOU? Your fault, hon.

  24. 24

    Re: bgbreakdown – Spend some time getting facts correct! Go back and research the unemployment rates from GWB, Clinton, Bush Sr., Reagan, & Carter. Then look at the national debt from these Republican and Democrat presidents. Then compare it to Obamas record. Each president is responsible for they're years in office and it is was lame to put the blame on past presidents! Obamas record stands for it's self! The economy is OBAMAS FAULT! If you can't deal with it, go back to your warm fuzzy lib thinking! But facts are FACTS!

  25. 25

    Re: Serena Loves Mario
    Obummer is in charge.
    Sit down, nitwit.

  26. 26

    did anyone take the time to actually tead that?

  27. 27

    Re: sillybillykirsty – Well that is not strictly true is it as there was rioting and criminal damage in Cardiff and Edinburgh so it is infact the UK riots

  28. 28

    "we must represent them and where they feel love and compassion for their communities then we, the members of that community, must find love and compassion for them."

    That's right, Russell. They just need love. Let's all go hug a terrorist today. It will be a life changing event for them.

  29. 29

    Re: debi1983 – Sorry I think you are wrong? I didn't hear of rioting in either Edinburgh or Cardiff! I even googled it just there to double check and nothing came up. The riots were confined to England - namely, London, Birmingham, Manchester, Nottingham, Bristol and Leeds!

  30. 30


  31. 31

    His head reminds me of Rocky Dennis from Mask….