“Ashes in my mouth”
I was pleasantly surprised and genuinely stimulated by this interview. Paxo is on good form, and in Russell Brand he has an interviewee who, rather than revealing his hidden shallows, actually manages to uncover depths that I imagine many of us might never have imagined he has.
Now, to be sure, Mr Brand is deconstructing fame and celebrity and consumerism from a humanistic viewpoint, but it’s still a pretty brutal and intelligent desconstruction. It gets the more interesting toward the end when Mr Paxman begins to ask about sustaining his brightness, and Brand speaks of death, meaning, and substance in life. As this section develops, and Brand attests that fame is nothing but “ashes in my mouth,” I was powerfully reminded of Augustine’s dictum, that God has made us for himself, and our hearts are restless till they find their rest in him. How I would love to speak to Mr Brand and explain the good news to him! If God were pleased to save him, and take that insight, that passion, that intelligence, and sanctify it, we might have an Augustine for the 21st century. Now wouldn’t that be interesting?
Disclaimer: it is a pretty blunt interview at times, and some will find it crude at points, as they discuss some of Brand’s better-known misdemeanours, and how they are like and unlike other crudities and cruelties. I should also point out that I am not seeking to excuse the substance of Brand’s public persona and proclamations.