Friday, 18 June 2010

Russell Brand and other irritants

I didn’t want to write that name here. It gets quite enough exposure as it is. But I’ve just glanced to my left and seen a copy of The Guardian Weekend Magazine, its cover emblazoned with the image of the one and only, the over-exposed, RB. Which led me to think, very briefly, this: how has RB got to the position he’s got to when everyone I meet (including myself, having met myself a few years ago in Sainsbury’s) can’t stand him? Presumably there must be people out there who like him, but their paths haven’t crossed mine. A similar thing is going on with David Cameron. He’s got to be prime minister, his party having won twenty-six per cent or whatever it was of the national vote, and yet I don’t personally know anyone who voted for him. Adolf Hitler’s another one. Got to a very high position of responsibility, yet I never met anyone who liked him or admitted to voting for him. Presumably with Brand, though, the public, his fans, put him where he is today. Unless the whole thing is a mistake. He just happened, for example, to be in a film (Forgetting Sarah Marshall) that was a hit. The producers of said hit assumed that because RB was in said hit then he himself was a hit. Doesn’t necessarily follow. Another possibility is that audiences generally found RB intensely irritating but simultaneously enjoyed being irritated by him. It’s just possible. Even more possible with Cameron and Hitler.

Some old people, one is told, are only kept alive by their own complaining. “If she didn’t have anything to moan about she’d die,” they used to say about my Granny (they didn’t, actually, but I’ve got to support my claims somehow). My landlady (who shows no signs of ageing) is one of the most enthusiastic complainers I know and yet she’s recently decided to exchange the bustle of Brixton for an isolated trailer home near Taunton. ‘You’ll go mad,’ I said to her. ‘I won’t,’ she replied, ‘I’m an only child, I’m not a sociable animal, I can’t wait to be alone in the country. It’ll be lovely.’ ‘But you’ll have nothing to complain about,’ I said, ‘It’s what keeps you going. You relish confrontation.’ Similarly, although I complain about my landlady (and practically everyone else too) I probably enjoy complaining about her, just as she enjoys complaining about me. Sometimes to my face.

So, RB, Hitler, David Cameron and, to a lesser extent, my landlady and I are like that. They are irritants we cannot do without. Without which we would die. Absurd. Next topic. Instant messaging and how it’s got me in its grip.

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