Since Russell Brand and close associates first set up The Trews it has been like a dose of fresh air, using new media to cut away the dross, crap, and hate filled lies the mainstream media churns out daily.
With his idiosyncratic style of good humour, straight talking and brutal honesty The Trews has helped hold the Neoliberal fanatics to account by exposing their dirty deals and wretched behaviour and by giving a platform to people who are struggling in the front line.
The naysayers and careerists on the left poked Russell with a very long stick, talked him down as an egoist and self publicist, which was pretty pointless as he admits to being both. Organised Rage has looked beyond the dross and seen him for what he is, a man who has faced his demons as best he could and moved from being a rather silly prankster into a force for good.
With Russell what you get is what you see, whether it was back in 2008 when a ramshackle Russell rang and insulted an elderly man's granddaughter on air, or fast forward to today when he appears to have finally become comfortable in his own shoes and makes measured statements like this:
To genuinely make a difference, we must become different; make the tiny, longitudinal shift. Meditate, direct our love indiscriminately and our condemnation exclusively at those with power.
Russell was a fine example of how the media uses celebrities, when he was an unreformed drug addict and philanderer with a penchant for comedy and movies they felt he was an interesting, and amusing fellow. Now he has turned out to have a hinterland which rejects all they believe they line up to put the boot in.
Middle class columnists made much of Brand's lack of a formal education, believing this will play well with their class prejudiced readers. It's not an easy task to self educate oneself. And instead of seeing this as a plus they point out what they percieved were Russell's shortcomings. Nick Cohen sneered at his "atrocious writing" and Hadley Freeman condemned him for confusing "a thesaurus with eloquence." Neither gave a thought to Brand having left school at sixteen, with little more than the skills to become factory fodder, at a time when most of the factories which used to provide work for working class lads had ceased to exist.
With The Trews which he is now taking a break from, he has been able to use his celebrity to give publicity to folk who come from the same or similar backgrounds to himself, who are fighting against powerful vested interests. He may turn out to have been a bright shooting star which burnt out, although given he said The Trews will return, I doubt that.
But none of this really matters for what he has done with the Trews was articulate what it's like today to be the dispossessed, the wretched of the earth in a world of plenty. His was a loud voice against the mean spirited clatter of austerity for the masses, and cream for the most wealthy.
Hopefully Russell Brand will return with a new reinvigorated Trews, if not thanks Russell, it was good while it lasted. Fare thee well, Fare thee well.
Russell Brand's 'final' Trews.