Comedian, Hollywood star, former addict and rising revolutionary activist, Russell Brand is striking to look at.
He has an intense stare which can be quite intimidating, especially when he starts to talk about the need for revolution using long, complicated sentences, filled with long, complicated words.
He’s been drug-free for almost 12 years and has an aura of calm, which he says is partly to do with meditation and partly efficiency and circumstance.
“Every year’s a landmark for me,” he says. “Every December 13, I remember waking up in my flat having been up all night on crack and heroin, missing my train and then fare-dodging and being picked up by Chip Somers (founder of drug and alcohol charity Focus 12), him giving me a cuddle and then going into treatment.
“A regular and daily part of my recovery is to spend time with people with addiction issues.
“You feel grounded and connected and it’s the most important part of my life.”
So has the manic, supercharged Brand gone forever?
“There are still situations in my life that require an explosion, but I’m more discerning about what situations require it. Before, I just thought every situation required it.”
The comedian, Hollywood actor, eco-warrior, former addict of drugs, booze and sex, broadcaster, writer of bestselling My Booky Wook memoirs and political activist has never sat still long enough to be pigeonholed.
He has now morphed into a children’s author, having penned his version of The Pied Piper Of Hamelin, a cruder, ruder read than the original, in which the adults and the children - and the rats - are all as vile as each other, apart from one child.
“Someone told me, ‘Forget the adults, they’re all doomed, if you want to change the world you’ve got to influence young minds’,” he says of his move into young fiction.
“Also, I have a very comfortable and natural rapport with young children.
“I’ve not really had much access to children. I love kids and when I was a child I felt a bit lost and lonely, and I like the idea of being able to reach into that place of desolation and offer something hopeful and optimistic to children.”
He would like to have children himself, he continues.
“I don’t know if I want to settle down though, but I certainly would like loads of children.”
Russell Brand’s Trickster Tales: The Pied Piper Of Hamelin is published by Canongate, priced £10.