Brian attended the premiere screening of Russell Brand’s “The Emperor’s New Clothes” film on Tuesday, 21 April.
22 April 2015 by Rupert Hawksley
The night Russell Brand was put on the spot by Queen guitarist Brian May
Have you heard the one about the two celebrity millionaires hoping to revolutionise our economic and political system? On Tuesday night, during a live Q and A streamed to cinemas across the country, Queen guitarist Brian May confronted Russell Brand about his decision not to vote in the upcoming election.
“If you really don’t want to vote and you don’t want us to vote on May 7,” May said, following a screening of Brand’s new film The Emperor’s New Clothes, which highlights the perceived failings of capitalism, “what do you want us to do to achieve the things that we know we need to do because we just watched your film? What do you want us to do?”
“Did you put Freddie Mercury under this kind of f—ing pressure?” Brand responded. “No wonder he was off doing lines and hanging out in Rio.
What I support most of all is people becoming fully activated,” Brand continued. “And I’d be very, very happy to talk to you and Anita Dobson [May’s wife] in your caravan, which I assume you live in.”
Prior to this exchange, May, who claimed he was “going to persuade Brand to vote”, said that he would like to talk to him “privately”. This lead the comedian to joke: “I bet you would. I’m well into it. Does Angie from EastEnders [played by Dobson] know?”
Undeterred by this, May, who in 2007 attained a PhD in astrophysics from Imperial College London, continued: “But what do we do, Russell?”
“In that film, that we grafted over, there are loads and loads of ideas,” Brand said. “Do those things. You’re saying how do we get that s–t to happen? I mean, don’t make me say something mad on the telly because you know what I believe in. I believe in creating different relationships with powerful institutions, which operate on behalf of the powerful, bringing them on to our side. I don’t agree with remaining within the parameters that have been set for us. I don’t agree with that on any level, I believe in real change. If an election is [about] us the people, we can have one whenever we f—ing want, we can do whatever we like. I have some ideas, I have some strategies but I also have really, really serious limitations. I’m here to amplify the issues of the people in this room to help people in any way I can. I’m open to listening, I’m open to learning, I’ve obviously got a lot to learn. But I’m very, very committed to this; I’m very, very committed to helping.
“But what I’ve seen and what I’ve learnt is [that] until you can regulate the City from within those institutions; until you control the Bank of England and stop them setting interest rates; until you can take land back from the powerful; until you can tax wealth and redistribute wealth in a meaningful way; until you can break down media conglomerates [nothing will change]; none of which can happen within the mock Gothic edifice, which is literally decaying before our eyes.
• The Emperor’s New Clothes review: time to take Russell Brand seriously?
“It’s trying to tell us by falling apart that it’s meaningless and that it’s full of lies. Day by day more paedophiles are coming to the fore, to the point where it’s like, ‘what do we have to f—ing see from these people to actually do something?’ I’ve not got full solutions but we are not competing with Utopia here. We are competing with ecological meltdown and galling inequality. “Solutions are emerging, some are in this excellent film. More will come, Brian, more will come. Another one bites the dust.” “It’s trying to tell us by falling apart that it’s meaningless and that it’s full of lies. Day by day more paedophiles are coming to the fore, to the point where it’s like, ‘what do we have to f—ing see from these people to actually do something?’ I’ve not got full solutions but we are not competing with Utopia here. We are competing with ecological meltdown and galling inequality. Solutions are emerging, some are in this excellent film. More will come, Brian, more will come. Another one bites the dust.” The Emperor’s New Clothes is released on April 24.