Saturday, July 02, 2005

"The greatest thing that's ever been organised in the history of the world, probably"

Thus spake Chris Martin of Coldplay at Live8 just now, and so perfectly summed up the inanity of the thing.

This is an intelligent chap. An intelligent chap with a good history degree from one of the best universities in the country. And yet he's happily spouting hyperbole in a vain effort to make people think that a bunch of pop stars no one's ever heard of and a handful of washed-up legends belting out tedious music of a Saturday afternoon is actually going to change anything.

Why didn't they charge for tickets, exactly? Whose bright idea was it, precisely, to hope that people would be guilt-tripped into donating cash by this pointless series of concerts? Who seriously thought that the focus of this mindless exercise would be on its nominal reason for existing - African poverty - rather than the behind-the-scenes spats and gossip about the stars?

The more they spout nonsense, over-exaggerating how significant these little shindigs are, the less impact it will have. The more people think "oh, it's really doing well and raising awareness and stuff", the less likely they'll be to actually get off their arses and do anything themselves.

And if you believe the "x amount of cash will feed a family for a year" things, just how many families could the people prancing about on the telly have fed if they went to the bank rather than poncing about in the park?

If you believe their adverts, in the time it's taken for me to type this 180 children have died of poverty.

10 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just as well then that I (and many others) decided not to watch the thing.

7/02/2005 03:21:00 pm  
Blogger Catherine Vocalist said...

My point exactly! The performers themselves could feed everyone in Africa for the next 20 years...No charge for the tickets? That's absurd.

7/02/2005 05:35:00 pm  
Anonymous -ronnie in new orleans- said...

I understand the need for some of these folks to get a double hit of both smarmy do-goodism and addictive ego stroking but I can't understand how the serious ones, guys with both brains and a genuine track record like Geldof and Bono, keep pushing these things. I wonder if they don't feel this is the only (or best) medium they have and do it while holding their noses.

I like the big demonstration against poverty is Scotland too. The calories consumed by the crowd at the pubs after the march could probably eliminate hunger in Zimbabwe. At least they'll alleviate any potential poverty at the distilleries.

7/02/2005 08:12:00 pm  
Blogger Nick said...

The one thing that I find very annoying is that I can remember Live Aid and between the acts then there were various films, speeches etc (especially on the TV coverage) about what was happening in Ethiopia, how you could help etc

Now? Jo Whiley and Jonathan Ross interviewing various celebrities (did Jimmy Carr text for his ticket? did he fuck) about what a wonderful day they're all having.

7/02/2005 09:12:00 pm  
Anonymous The Bagged Bear said...

And now Pink Floyd are playing. Showing the same degree of animation between the 4 of them that they did when I last saw them at Earls Court for The Wall. My fireplace could probably give them a run for their money.

The one wholly daft thing is all the African performers being sent to play the temperate zones that are the domes at the Eden Project. What exactly are they trying to say there?

7/02/2005 11:24:00 pm  
Anonymous NR Mackay said...

Permit me to disagree. Maybe some of the performers come across as being a little patronising, thinking they can single handedly 'save africa', but id prefer that to apathy and quietism.

Maybe there is some smarmy do-goodism but i would frankly prefer that to cynical do-nothingism (or more to the point, allowing nothing to be done). If you think there are better ways of raising consciousness on the issue of combatting african poverty in attempting to put pressure on the G8 to agree to a deal that could -eventually- end the massive scale of grinding poverty existent in africa then you are welcome to mention it.

If only half the people who listen to the music start talking about the politics involved, thats still an awful lot of interest created in an issue which in my view fully deserves it.

Much of the music is mediocre at best and i dont generally care for a lot of the celebrities involved but i cannot help but see this as a just cause deserving of support. Hyperbole there may be, but the whole point is to create pressure and a political climate for change.

Unfortunately, it so far appears that on perhaps the most important long term issue, namely fairer trade, there will be little movement.

7/03/2005 04:17:00 am  
Blogger nanne said...

Hey, free concerts are great, alright? I'm all for them. I just don't understand the ticket thing in London, while some things were messed up in Berlin and the line-up wasn't very great, at least it was completely open.

Don't you have a square or some other place in London where you can gather, say, a million people?

As for the money thing, they don't want your money, but your signature on a petition and suchwhat. See live8.com and decide for yourself (I didn't sign, for the record).

7/03/2005 08:33:00 am  
Anonymous Chris C said...

What Live 8's organisers were trying to do was create a ground swell of activism in order to bring their cause to the fore, and ensure that the leaders of G8 actually listened to what they said (as, if they didn't, they'd have several million people on their doorsteps asking them "why, exactly?").

Getting the pop stars to give their money to the countries in question would be little more than a band aid (excuse the terrible pun) as all that would do would solve only the first of the three objectives of Make Poverty History - to increase aid, relieve debt and create fairer trade. They needed to appeal to the leaders of G8, and the only way they could do that was to create a giant banana-skin for the leaders if they failed to agree.

Good for them, I'd say - anything that forces Blair to either do the right thing or slip up in the most stupendous manner has to be a good thing.

That having been said, though, the organisers could have found a much better way to put their message across than using Mariah "I'd love to be as skinny as those Ethiopians, only without that famine and everything" Carey...

7/03/2005 05:18:00 pm  
Anonymous N.R.M. said...

Heheh , truth.

Dont get me wrong, it made me squirm in places, but the cause is just and i dont believe the event is entirely inane even if some of the 'artists' are.

7/03/2005 08:36:00 pm  
Anonymous Sharon said...

As for the lack of serious films between acts this time round - I gather some had been made but the BBC wouldn't show them because it's got so nervous about staying politically 'neutral' these days.

I didn't watch, but only because I didn't see the point of sitting through U2 and REM and Dido (jeez) just to catch the few minutes of a few acts I might have been interested in. I can remember the last one, and contrary to the nostalgic myths, most of that was shite too.

7/04/2005 01:59:00 pm  

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