One of the few silver linings of this pandemic pandemonium has been the additional free time it has brought. Despite having very little paid work last year, Jack and have kept ourselves almost as busy as if we were up to our ears in deadlines. I say almost because in reality, our working day has shortened by around an hour and a half. Instead of getting up at 7:30am, since the arrival of the coldest winter we have yet experienced in Portugal, I don’t currently crawl reluctantly out of my warm quilt until 8am. At the other end of the day, instead of working through to 6:30pm before cracking a beer, we now finish around 5:30pm and settle down to read.
As the year progressed, we both managed to work our way through every book in the house that we had not yet got round to reading. And so I have started reading Russell Brand’s Revolution. I was not a fan of Russell Brand until I watched the BBC Newsnight Jeremy Paxman interview in 2013 and was blown away by his sense of injustice at the current political system, his flamboyant eloquence and his ability to stand up to Paxman, not in a combative way but in an honest, sincere expression of his complete disillusionment with the system. I also thought he was very funny.
Being able to hear the author’s voice in my head as I read this book is a new experience for me and one that is definitely enhancing my enjoyment of the reading but the most surprising thing about Revolution is just how incredibly funny it is. This is not just a wry smile kind of funny, this is laugh-out-loud funny. The problem is, I keep wanting to quote sections of it to Jack as I’m reading and I have to check myself constantly. I mean, who wants to have someone disturb their reading hour by quoting chunks out of a book they’re intending to read themselves?
So instead of annoying Jack, I’ll just share one of the bounteous gems that infuse Russell’s text here. In an early chapter, he’s talking about the ability to achieve a state of mind that removes you from the physical and remembered shackles that bind you in order to be able to do something extraordinary whether it’s taking a penalty in front of 80,000 supporters or walking a high wire suspended between the Twin Towers:
“The last thing you want when suspended a mile above Manhattan in little ballet slippers is some taunting, recorded voice from your childhood telling you you’re a c*nt.”