Friday evening and Russell Brand is engulfed with the kind of determined enthusiasm I assume is reserved for the odd occasion that Ned Flanders goes on a coke binge. Apt that he is reminiscent of a cartoon character as his sole focus right now is a hastily arranged trip to Disneyland the next day. ‘Hokely dokely’ I ain’t.
Bouncing around the sitting room he’s in disbelief at the depth and commitment of my negativity towards his glorious plan. So determined is he, that his considerable persuasion techniques, usually saved for the ladies are in full throttle on me.
Rarely have I been at the heart of a Brand charm offensive. It’s a multi dimensional attack of the senses, I guess like the one I’m trying to avoid at Disneyland. Currently I’m holding out, but it’s taking all the resistance I can muster. Admittedly my determination is now reinforced by a fear that should I give in I could find myself topless in his boudoir in a confusing overflow of Disney induced excitement.
Reading thus far you could well be thinking me a villainous kill joy of a man, a bearded Cruella Deville to Russell’s Pongo, and right now I’d struggle to deny it. However, were you then to describe me as an adult childless man not keen on queuing especially on Saturdays – you ‘d see me jump to my feet and salute you like a startled lieutenant.
I battled on. What I needed now was a voice of reason. An upstanding gentleman who would support me with the logic and foresight I was trying to apply for the benefit of all of our weekends. In from the kitchen wanders Gareth. Shit it.
“Disneylaaaand!” he shrieks. Such is the gusto with which he attacks it one would assume that everyday for the past 30 years he has awoken from his slumber fingers crossed whispering “is this the day?” That’s it then, two verses one – we’re going.
Saturday morning when all is lost I’m handed a lifeline, one last glorious get out clause provided by God himself. There before my eyes as we exit the house – arid, sunny, bloody hot Los Angeles beautifully blanketed in grey clouds and rain. “Good effort big guy” I mutter to the heavens. But no, what am I thinking, this is a Brand plan….its happening.
In the car there is acceptance and a driver called Renee whose unusual name allows a rare opportunity for Russell to perform a series of Allo Allo impressions. My mood is considerably lifted. In an unlikely twist we also listen to a playlist of early 90’s hip hop – us English boys (one in leggings) on our way to Disneyland, “we’re just so damn gangsta”
As you arrive the screaming opposite of everything you are sold stands blatantly in front of you. So constructed is the whole concept that before we enter we’re stuck in a traffic jam on ‘Magic Way’. Once inside the length of queues is matched only by the profitable temptations manufactured to appeal to the devoted children. I think to myself that my kids will have to manage with the local park, an apple and an imagination – unless that sentence alone has just cost me anyone ever giving me any.
We meet with a group of friends and their children and are immediately in line for one of those rides designed for the under fives where you sit in a teacup. Now, I should say here that in the time Gareth and I have been working with Russell it has become an ongoing joke that the pair of us nestled together have found ourselves in some pretty ridiculous situations. Many a stunning restaurant designed for loving couples has laid a romantic table for us, but what we we’re about to endure was an all time low.
As the group of mums, Russell and the children clambered into their carriage left to board the next cup alone stood Jack and Gareth – two 30 plus men looking like they had no agenda but the unmentionable. No escape now though. This is happening. The two of us childless misfits on a tepid ghost train tour of Disney history. Chugging along, sunglasses on we suddenly realise the worst is yet to come. And just as that realisation dawns, the doors of the ride are flung open and we’re thrown into the daylight. There awaiting our crawl of shame are the masses in line and Russell – all either scowling or in Russell’s case absolutely pissing themselves. Even I, lord monger of the doom had failed to predict I’d come out of Disney branded a peado.
By Producer Jack