Russell Brand: Not actually Messiah
As I mentioned earlier in the week, last week's jaunt to The Little Big City (no, I don't really understand what that marketing slogan means either) was mainly so that gal-pal Tulip and I could see professional Naughty Boy Comedian Russell Brand live at Vector Arena.
Both Tulip and I have been fans of El Russo's works for the past few years. I even reviewed his autobiography My Booky Wook, which contained the following statement which I strongly related to, "my life is just a series of embarrassing incidents strung together by telling people about those embarrassing incidents".
There's a lot about Russell Brand's life that makes me go "er, that's an interesting choice you've gone with there". From heroin addiction, to sex in broom closets with strangers, to marrying Katy Perry, there's a lot of stuff he's done that I don't really relate to, but certainly the ping ponging from one semi-disaster to the next and then telling everyone about it is a thing that I can understand.
And how was he? Well, his usual verbose and outrageous self. I laughed heartily, as did most of the audience. And that is generally what you want from a comedian. You want the transcendent experience that occurs when you temporarily lose control of yourself and screech with laughter in an unseemly fashion. You know, the kind of laughter that isn't a choice but a compulsion.
And I got plenty of that so I'm not complaining.
But what the hell is up with all the women throwing their knickers at him?
Okay, there was one woman and it was a G-string and it wasn't so much thrown as handed, but still. And that was after the woman who bared her breasts to the entire arena. And not including the random women who just sort of ran up and grabbed him as he walked among the audience.
Er, what on earth are you people doing? It all made me feel quite uncharacteristically Victorian, what with my strange desire to keep all my clothes on and not grope a stranger. I've never seen anything quite like it at a comedy gig before.
But then I realised that even though technically Russell Brand is a comedian/comic actor who you either find funny or don't according to your tastes in such matters, he's also a "rock star". And rock stars get both knickers and knockers flung at them while they're at work even if their actual job is just to tell embarrassing stories about themselves and mime various sexual acts whilst describing them in unusually flowery language.
After the gig he did, as promised, appear in the foyer to make his "selections" purportedly for the sexual buffet back at his hotel room. This resulted in screaming and a crush of people and a number of bras being removed for the purposes of signing. I hung at the back and watched the ensuing madness with a mixture of disgust and curiosity. I fought the urge to go up to random people, take them by the shoulders and say "Look, just calm down a bit. This is a man who once took a bath with a homeless bloke. He cannot walk on water. Despite the hair and beardiness, he is not, in fact, Essex Jesus." Instead I busied myself with snapping the picture at right as I thought it would make a nice juxtaposition and companion piece to my earlier "Me and Michael Palin" picture. This, along with my mild revulsion at the spectacle of it all, finally confirmed my place as a nana, as it was only after looking at the picture that I realised how noticeable my grey hairs are now.
But before long it was all over and as we left the arena we saw a helicopter disappearing into the night. Because this is how rock stars travel, even ones that don't actually sing that well.
I couldn't help wondering though for a while afterwards what I should make of all this, you know, as a feminist? My conclusion is that feminism is essentially about women having choices and if your choice is to fling your undies at someone famous, I guess I'm allowed to be a bit embarrassed for you but also pleased that you won't be flogged by your father or brother for it.
And in the end is there really any difference between the sexually charged worship Russell Brand receives and that which the Rolling Stones enjoyed in their heyday? (I prefer not to think of the kind of undies their original fans would be throwing at them now, 50 years on.) Girls have been throwing themselves at rock stars since rock stars were invented.
But be mindful ladies (and gents), Russell Brand is not the Messiah - he's a very naughty boy.
Have you ever gone a bit mental over a rock star? Are you embarrassed by your behaviour now?