23 Dec 2014

The Trews VS John Lewis Xmas Advert: The Trews (E217)

What methods are advertisers using this Christmas to get us to spend our money?

22 Dec 2014

The Terror Of How Banks Use Our Money: The Trews (E216)

Max Keiser breaks down how the banking system works and what happens to your money – you’ll be shocked.

22 Dec 2014

New Era 4 All

The 93 families of the New Era estate have achieved an incredible victory against greedy corporations and lazy politicians and I believe, and the name of the estate suggests, this is the start of something that will change our country forever.

Russell Brand New Era

When I first clattered into Lindsey, Lynsay and Danielle in Hoxton market, East London, bantering, smashing out flyers and hassling shoppers into supporting the campaign to keep their homes, I had no idea that I had inadvertently wandered into the heart of a truly accessible and exciting movement to oppose pointless government and tyrannical big business.

As I stood and listened to the hollering trio, their kids wove in and out of their legs like titchy Agueros. The women have one child each; “The Lindsays” are both working single mums. I was captivated by their abundant spirit, the clear validity of their cause (greedy landlords jacking up rents, inefficient authorities doing F.A) but also by an eerily resonant pang, a ghostly memory of something lost to me, or perhaps stolen.

Over the next few months I became further enchanted by my new neighbours and met more of the New Era families. Initially just popping to the estate to glean information germane to the campaign – how much is rent going up? (it’s being quadrupled) Is this social cleansing? (the growing practice of moving working people out of big cities, yes.) Have Westbrook, the American corporation in charge, done this before? (yes, they’ve been banned for dodgy practices in NYC). Then I started to stay at the estate for tea, perhaps with Lindsey G’s parents Chrissie and Tony. Then for food, Lynsay S is a mean cook. Then for no reason at all Danielle’s boyfriend Ian is a laugh and we chat about football. I went there whenever I had free time. It became, to simplify it, basically the plot of “Dances With Wolves”.

I left my lonely (luxury tax haven!!!) house, which would be Kevin Costner’s fort, waved goodbye to Morrissey, my cat, which, in my mind, would be that wolf, I believe he was called “Socks”, and headed to New Era – in this patronising analogy they’re the Native American tribe.

Drawn in initially by the importance and ubiquity of the cause, housing is the issue of our time, I was compelled to stay, as if held by the heart, by a deeper issue, both social and personal. By something I didn’t even know I was grieving; the loss of community, our connection to each other.

On the New Era estate I was welcomed first by the campaign leaders but then by everyone as I continued to hang out there, Harry, father of a teenage son and a boxing coach, Nell, who speaks mostly in swearwords and still thinks I’m Russell Harty and Mary. Mary who sounds like my Nan and with the first words she said to me hit a dormant chord that hadn’t been struck for ten years since she died.

At Dolly, Linsey’s daughter’s confirmation at St Clements, at the buffet I fell backwards through decades wasted and ignored. Old dears that were old lady shaped cooed and brought me paper plates of nearly vegetarian food, and the memory of my ol’ Nan’s mates; the Joyce’s and the Vi’s welled up in me as I mimed eating bacon quiche. Her house on Lillechurch Road, Dagenham where she lived and died and where I’d crash and hide when I nightly crumbled in London and all that stood between me and suicide was a 3am omelet.

The Eastend communities of her generation spilled into Essex as “The Smoke” coughed up its natives to make room, not for immigrants, like they thought but for creeping gentrification. Their kids, my parent, maybe your parents bought their homes in Essex and Kent, but more was swapped than mortgage for rent. I grew up alone in Grays End Close, a lonely boy, the only son of a single working Mum. By the time my growing up was half done the idea of tribe, community was an abstract one. For me “You make yer own luck in this world son” was my creed and individualism my religion.

I got the things I was told would make me right; fame, money, glamour and it’s not all that. It’s better than signing on or being a junkie but is it ever as simple as that?

Now I know, thanks to the New Era families, that what I was looking for, perhaps what we’re all looking for is already here; “the kindom of Heaven is laid upon the earth but man does not see it”, it is found when we put aside selfish things and come together.

I gave up a lot to pursue my dream of fame and fortune and now I’m not sure that dream was ever mine to begin with. Now I know that what I lost, or perhaps what was stolen was a tender thing that’s hard to weigh or render, but it’s there. It was there at my dear old Nan’s, where the door was always open, it lingers in me still after the decade long crusade for personal glory and it’s there in the New Era estate where 93 ordinary families stood up to corporations and lazy government and won. There’s a little of this spirit in all of us and it is beginning to awaken.

21 Dec 2014

New Era Estate: The Week Leading Up To Their Win – Trews Reports (E11)

In the week where the residents of the New Era estate succeeded in their campaign to keep their homes, we look back on their last seven days. Lindsey, Lynsay & Danielle go to Hackney Council to see Mayor Jules Pipe, they hold a residents meeting with Russell Brand and we take a trip down memory lane with New Era’s golden girls Mary, Carol, Linda and Patsy.

Music by Rudy Warman & The Heavy Weather http://rudywarman.bandcamp.com/

19 Dec 2014

‪How To Beat A Corporation By New Era: The Trews (E215)‬

‪EXCLUSIVE: New Era victory the tenants & Russell explain how they beat Westbrook.‬

18 Dec 2014
17 Dec 2014

Hello Jo

Hello Jo, thanks for your open letter, I do remember you from the melee outside RBS and firstly, I’d like to say sorry for your paella getting cold. It’s not nice to suffer because of actions that are nothing to do with you. I imagine the disabled people of our country who have been hit with £6bn of benefit cuts during the period that RBS received £46bn of public bail-out money feel similarly cheesed off.

I can’t apologise for the RBS lockdown though mate because, I don’t have the authority to close great big institutions – even ones found guilty of criminal activity.

The locking of the doors and your tarnished lunch came about as the result of orders from “the faceless bosses” upstairs after I wandered in on my own while we secretly filmed from across the street – then security swarmed, all the doors were locked and crowds gathered outside. I must say Jo; it felt like RBS had something terrible to hide. But more of that in a minute.

Neither was I there for publicity, although you could be forgiven for thinking that; for many years I have earned my money (and paid my taxes) by showing off. If I needed negative publicity (and, believe me, that’s all talking publicly about inequality can ever get you) I could get it by using the “N word” on telly, or putting a cat in a bin, or having a romantic liaison with the lad from TOWIE.

I was there with filmmaker Michael Winterbottom making a documentary about how the economic crises caused by the banking industry (RBS were found guilty of rigging Libor and the foreign exchange) has led to an economic attack on the most vulnerable people in society. I don’t want to undermine your personal inconvenience Jo, I’d be the first to admit that I’m often more vexed by little things; iPhone chargers continually changing makes me as angry as apartheid – so I can’t claim any personal moral high ground, but a chance to make a film that highlights how £80bn of austerity cuts were made, punishing society’s most vulnerable during the same period that bankers awarded themselves £81bn in bonuses was irresistible.

The mob upstairs at RBS who exiled you with your rapidly deteriorating lunch have had £4bn in bonuses since the crash. Do they deserve our money more than Britain’s disabled? Or Britain’s students who are now charged to learn? Is that fair?

They were some of the questions I was hoping to ask your boss – but we got no joy through the “proper channels” so we decided to just show up.

Not just to RBS, but also to Lloyds, HSBC and Barclays. I know that the regular folk on the floor aren’t guilty of this trick against ordinary people; they’re like anyone, trying to make ends meet. As you point out though, it’s hard to get to the men at the top so we were forced into door-stopping and inadvertent lunch spoiling. The good news is that this film and even this correspondence will reach hundreds of thousands of people and they’ll learn how they’re being conned by the financial industry and turned against one another – that’s got to be a good thing, even if it makes me look a bit of a twit in the process and the national dish of Spain is eaten sub-par.

Now I’ll be the first to admit your lunch has been an unwitting casualty in this well-intentioned quest but I couldn’t resist the opportunity to ask new RBS boss Ross McEwan if he thinks it’s right that he got a £3.2m “golden hello” when the RBS is sellotaped together with money that comes from everyone else’s taxes. I wonder what he would’ve said? Or whether it’s right that Fred “the shred” (he shredded evidence of impropriety) Goodwin gets to keep his £320k a year pension while disabled people have had their independent living fund scrapped.

And it’s not just RBS mate. Lloyds, Barclays, Citibank and HSBC have all been found guilty of market rigging and not one banker has been jailed.

Trillions of public money lost and stolen and no one prosecuted. Remember in the riots when disaffected youth nicked the odd bottle of water or a stray pair of trainers? Criminal, I agree. 1800 years worth of sentences were meted out in special courts, to make an example. Some crime doesn’t pay, but some crime definitely does. My school mate Leigh Pickett, a fireman is being told that he and his colleagues won’t be able to collect their pension until five years later than agreed, five more years of backbreaking, flame engulfed labour – why? Because of austerity.
Put simply Jo, the banks took the money, the people paid the price.

I was there to ask a few questions to the guilty parties, now I know that’s not you, you’re just a bloke trying to make a crust and evidently you like that crust warm – but again, it wasn’t me who locked the RBS, I just asked a few difficult questions and the place went nuts. The people that have inconvenienced homeowners, pensioners, the disabled and ordinary working Brits are the same ones who inconvenienced you that lunchtime. They’ve got a lot to hide, so they locked the doors. You said my “agro demeanor” reminded you of school. Your letter reminded me of school too, when the teacher would say, “because Russell’s been naughty, the whole class has to stay behind”.

I’d never knowingly keep a workingman from his dinner, it’s unacceptable and I do owe you an apology for being lairy.

So Jo, get in touch, I owe you an apology and I’d like to take you for a hot paella to make up for the one that went cold – though you could say that was actually the fault of the shady shysters who nicked the wedge and locked you out, I’d rather err on the side of caution. When I make a mistake I like to apolgise and put it right. Hopefully your bosses will do the same to the people of Britain.

17 Dec 2014

Pakistan Massacre – How Can We Move On? The Trews (E213)

Reaction to the horrific school massacre in Pakistan and some of the political and media response to the tragedy.