back to article Weekend reads: Russell Brand's Revolution and Joy Division's Ian Curtis gets lyrical

El Reg bookworm Mark Diston peruses the pick of publishing this week and finds he prefers Russell Brand when he's on the page rather than on the telly, as the media messiah offers more words of wisdom on society's ills. The work of Joy Division's vocalist and lyricist is presented as never before and Daniel Handler, known to …

  1. SuccessCase

    Russell Brand "I remain uncharmed by the incessant rationalism that requires the spirit’s capitulations.”

    Why am I reminded of this classic Mitchell and Webb sketch?

    1. Just Enough

      It's like most of Brand's observations, from the following cook-book;

      - Take one banal observation.

      - Sprinkle a few big words to replace otherwise perfectly serviceable small words.

      - Give self a big pat on back for being clever.

      - Serve half-baked, with side serving of really earnest exasperation.

  2. Vociferous

    > "“All desire is the inappropriate substitute for the desire to be at one with God.”"

    It's scary that there are people actually believing this. Not Russel Brand, the confused anarcho-communist, obviously, but someone gave him that line.

    1. Dr Stephen Jones

      Johann Hari?

    2. Teiwaz Silver badge

      "“All desire is the inappropriate substitute for the desire to be at one with God.”"

      A perfectly sensible sentiment, and not scary at all, replace 'God' with any other focus of belief, or 'Universe' for those not brought up with monotheism ground into their character to some degree.

      As a spiritual lesson, its one of the clearer ones, and certainly better phrased for the modern world than the bibles 'thou shalt not covet thy neighbours ass' (or somesuch). My neighbor has a big ass, and I certainly wouldn't want an ass that big...

      Words and thoughts tend not to be scary, what is scary is how some nutters twist them to say what they want them to say, then go out and enforce that interpretation on others as 'the true word of God'.

      1. Vociferous

        Re: "“All desire is the inappropriate substitute for the desire to be at one with God.”"

        What's scary about it... Let me break it down:

        1) The statement is on the face of it absurd. For instance, your desire to not be attacked by a swarm of bees isn't an inappropriate substitute for the desire to be at one with God.

        2) The statement suggests that your life, the lives of those around you, and this world, are all irrelevant: only God matters. That way ISIS lies.

        3) The statement suggests you should feel guilty for, for instance, wanting to own a house, instead of donating the money to <insert church>. Your desire to own the house is inappropriate.

        4) The statement implies that individuality, i.e. having any goals except those imposed by your church, is inappropriate. That way Jonestown lies.

        Basically the statement is the linchpin of the very thing you agree is scary: religious authoritarianism.

        1. dogged

          Re: "“All desire is the inappropriate substitute for the desire to be at one with God.”"

          I didn't see the word or even concept of "church" mentioned at all.

          1. Vociferous

            Re: "“All desire is the inappropriate substitute for the desire to be at one with God.”"

            > I didn't see the word or even concept of "church" mentioned at all.

            Insert gatekeeper to divinity of your choice, then. You can't give your money to God directly, so you give it to the gatekeeper, the guy who told you it is inappropriate to care about anything (e.g. money or family) than god.

            1. dogged

              Re: "“All desire is the inappropriate substitute for the desire to be at one with God.”"

              > Insert gatekeeper to divinity of your choice, then. You can't give your money to God directly, so you give it to the gatekeeper, the guy who told you it is inappropriate to care about anything (e.g. money or family) than god.

              Neither was money mentioned. And although I'm not a believer, I have read the NT and Jesus had a low opinion of money.

              I'm still confused at your need to invent a gatekeeper - JC didn't. Neither do zen buddhists.

        2. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

          Re: "“All desire is the inappropriate substitute for the desire to be at one with God.”"

          @Vociferous, have you ever actually read the New Testament?

          Jesus wasn't exactly fond of The Church either you know.

    3. Anonymous Coward 101

      "All desire is the inappropriate substitute for the desire to be at one with God."

      Does anyone seriously believe this? It's an enormously pretentious statement, uttered only by those who want to appear devout.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I interpreted the word 'desire' (in the context of what I understood the book to be about) not to mean things like 'desire to not be attacked' but 'desire for new smartphones, iPads, nice cars, new suits, power to sack people I don't like' and so on. From my understanding of this, I don't think you need to believe in God or a god to have an intellectual ascent to the idea that some people use these things to find meaning in their lives, even if you don't believe it.

      But if you don't believe me, go onto any forum (including, to some extent, this one) and say something nasty about Apple.

      No, I don't like Russell Brand. I particularly dislike the way he refuses to answer a question when being interviewed, doing so in a way that always makes the interviewer look like he doesn't understand the question (s)he has asked.... If you have any doubt as to his 'humility', see how he responded when he thought Evan Davis suggested Mr. Brand didn't have an imagination.

      1. Vociferous

        > "I interpreted the word 'desire' (in the context of what I understood the book to be about) not to mean things like 'desire to not be attacked' but 'desire for new smartphones, iPads, nice cars"

        I have no doubt whoever said that meant earthly love and consumerism. It is very popular among cults to demand that members give all their money and all their love to god (the cult), because that's after all the only way to truly be one with God, right? To avoid distractions, amirite? How can you truly love God if your loyalty is divided to your family and friends? How can you ever become one with god if you spend time and money on toys?

        That is clearly inappropriate. You must focus on what matters, you must focus on God. Give all your money to the cult, and it will make sure it is used wisely. And cut off your friends and family, it hurts, I know, but all your love must be focused on God. Nothing is more important than being at one with God. All other desire is inappropriate.

  3. The Axe

    Crap

    Mark Diston's review is just about the only review of Revolution that has any hint of positive about it. Every other review of it, even from fellow lefties, is totally negative about it. At least Mark says that the book is woolly and confused.

    I would say that the book is total crap and not even worth using as toilet paper.

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: Crap

      At £20 a 'roll' that would be damned expensive toilet paper.

      I'm sure all Reg readers would have some off the wall views they could spin into a suitable manuscript for publication in book form. However since most of us are not TV personalities, no one would be interested in coughing up any cash to read them (or even hang in the bathroom).

      I guess his agent put this idea in his head, to realise another revenue stream or somesuch.

      We all know modern society is deeply flawed, and other models exist, but such models are also flawed and too many are too deeply invested in the current status quo to consider advocating change (even when things go completely tits-up and the flaws become blindingly obvious to everyone), and those who are not have not the influence or the insight to imagine another way.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Book Reviews

    Just a general comment that I'm really enjoying this series of reviews and long may it continue.

    I really appreciate the mix of genres / interests without the snobbish bias towards "literature", or against technical subjects / pop culture / teen & children's books.

    I look forward to reading We Are Pirates.

  5. Mad Hacker
    Childcatcher

    Published words/censored standards?

    So we all know what "c**t" is referring to. Was this censored in the book, or by El Reg? And if so, is there a list of words that El Reg won't post? Because clearly "fuck" isn't among them.

    1. king of foo

      the forbidden words

      A week without the following naughty words might be interesting:

      Apple

      Microsoft

      Google

      Samsung

      Intel

      ARM

      Snowden

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Published words/censored standards?

      Specifically attacking a certain group is not allowed, rightly so.

      Certain words are general expletives. Others are discriminatory to some, so must be blocked at all times unless we are able to program AI to calculate context.

    3. breakfast
      Joke

      Re: Published words/censored standards?

      Had you not noticed that the Reg always censors c**t? I mean, I get that they prefer motorised transport, but actively censoring "c**t" really is putting the c**t before the horse.

  6. Khaptain Silver badge

    Atmosphere

    Joy Division were very unique and masters in their genre, hell they invented the genre.

    Ian Curtis was extremely talented even though he veered towards the darker side of life...

    I always associate Ian Curtis and Elizabeth Fraser from the Cocteau Twins, both were capable of creating very powerfull ambiances...

    1. johndrake7

      Re: Atmosphere

      Huge fan of Ian Curtis' lyrics: dark, brilliant, and discerning/discernable.

      Slightly huger fan of Elizabeth Fraser: opaque lyrics/imagery, blurred/imagined vocabulary, and soaring vox. Plus one for the mention.

      Hard to imagine a book transcribing her lyrics ever happening ... but what a glorious thing a legitimate and annotated compilation of them would be!

      If you haven't already, track down and listen to the Jeff Buckley/Elizabeth Fraser collaboration "All Flowers in Time", makes you wonder what an Ian/Liz joint would have been like.

      1. Owen

        Re: Atmosphere

        IMHO the best rendition of "Love will Tear Us Apart" was at the Oysterband 25th Concert with June Tabor, repeated on the "Big Session vol 1". and also on "Ragged Kingdom". The former is more "Peel" if you know what I mean.

  7. SineWave242

    Russell Brand is just a bit ahead of the social turmoil. It happens a lot. Marx was criticised a lot in his time. I'm not speaking as a RB fan, as I'm not, but I find him a really good speaker to implant the new ideas in people's minds of a society of equality and tolerance as opposed to this competitive and war waging based society we now have. Why would anyone be against stopping wars and poverty? Are you mad? Words can speak far more than any gun or violence. That's how this utterly lost society has been built, after all, and we just have a thing for great words, although they are usually deceitful. I'm alright with Russell Brand for as long as his words jive with mine.

    1. Chris Miller

      A lot of people at the time thought Marx had found the answer. Today we've had experience of various attempts to implement his ideas - all have ended badly, most of them catastrophically badly. So anyone who still thinks Marxism is the answer hasn't really grasped the question.

      And just because some famous people were criticised initially and later proved to be correct doesn't mean that anyone who is criticised today must be right - most of them won't be, and are simply being criticised because they're spouting rubbish. As Carl Sagan put it:

      The fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton*, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.

      * Robert Fulton - designer of the first practical steamboat and submarine

  8. werdsmith Silver badge

    Independent Thought

    There is so much bigoted, dogmatic and canonical junk being followed sheep fashion that I welcome any attempt to think differently. Regardless of whether it has any merit, it does indicate a human rather than a semi-automaton.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Independent Thought

      It's the easy buck. Why try to work hard and earn some cash when you can act like a rich eccentric, and hope to win the easy "rich eccentric" pound/dollar.

      A bit like the Nigerian and similar scam emails. Set the bar really low, and you hit that untapped market no one else is stupid enough to aim for. :P

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Independent Thought

      I think there may be too many Free Thinkers here to give any time to his ideas, they're busy freely thinking what they're told to think about by mainstream media.

      Unless one can hear something someone says without instantly shutting them off because they're not the person one wants them to be, sorry, but the process of dumbing down has truly set in.... And this is what we're being conditioned to do; Look at a person's image and if it's not what you've been told is acceptable, don't think about anything they say.

  9. This post has been deleted by its author

  10. codejunky Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Thumb up

    Only just started reading this article and I already have to give a thumbs up to-

    "There are few individuals who can polarise opinion like Russell Brand. My landlady wants to shag him to death, whereas I yearn to see him star in an ISIS snuff video."

  11. Spleen

    If Ian Curtis was such a great poet he'd've known that "move" doesn't rhyme with "love".

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Blurb line of the year?

    Read this book - you'll think the author is 'a bit less of an arsehole' than you did before. That could happen, too

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