Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Live Hate


I've refrained from having a go at Live8, on the grounds that pretty much everyone else has done a great hatchet job on it (see here, here, here, here, here and here. Even Noreen has had a go).

Some have spoken up for it, such as Peter Gasston and Jim Bliss. But the overwhelming response from bloggers seems to have been negative.

Is this Tall Poppy Syndrome? Is this a case of people falling into the trap of "if these rock stars have so much money, why don't they give it all to African children themselves instead of buying more coke and cars"? (If you're one of the people who wrote this, what percentage of your income did you give to poverty-relief charities in the last year?) Or is it just a curmudgeonly moan about other, more-stupid-than-me people having a good time ("of course, they'll have learnt nothing about poverty along the way")?

I didn't watch Live8 because it was Baby Gnu's first birthday. I spent the morning constructing his new climbing frame in the back garden, and the afternoon helping him to get to grips with his first tricycle (he can't reach the pedals, we have to push him) and serving him cake. Then I listened to the last few overs of the stunning victory-in-all-but-name pulled off by England against Australia in the NatWest Series final (good boy, GoJo!). But I wouldn't have watched Live8 anyway, partly because rock concerts bore me and partly because I don't exactly need converting to the cause. I was sorry to miss REM, though.

Briefly, the issue of African poverty has been put on the public agenda. This is a good thing. The G8 ministers will come out of their conference and make some bland statement about how they intend to hoick up their pathetically low aid budgets, and wait for something more interesting to hit the news. This is a bad thing. There isn't much more to say.


Anonymous KathyF said...

I can always say "I saw REM perform at Live 8". We "watched" from the London Eye, and when I imagined I saw lighters swaying, I guessed it was REM playing Everybody Hurts.

Turns out I was right.

I enjoyed it much more from my tiny tv screen, however.

7:06 am  
Blogger Oscar Wildebeest said...

'Everybody Hurts' lasts 5 mins 20 secs (or at least the version on 'Automatic for the People' does). If I had to hold a burning lighter in my hand that long, I'd be hurting, too...

10:51 am  
Anonymous KathyF said...

I read all the Live 8 bashing, and I have to say, my niece was here from the States, having just graduated from university. She'd never heard of Live Aid, or Geldof, or very nearly never heard of Africa, but she was thrilled to be a tiny part of Live 8.

She has been peppering me with questions about Live Aid, Africa, wants to know what will be done, etc. She signed the petition, and seems genuinely affected by the whole thing.

So maybe it does do some good.

2:09 pm  
Blogger Gary said...

Because it gets Africa on the agenda Live 8 is a good thing in some ways, and I don't doubt Geldof's intentions, even if he is both oddly selective in whom he praises and criticises, as well as coming across like a sanctimonious twat, but you can't have it all I suppose.

Hopefully the money raised will go to good causes and won't do as much harm as it did good. But I can't help feeling that some of the artists performing missed the point, along with a good deal of those who went, the majjority of whom proobably only thought about Africa momentarily when buying their tickets before enthusing about the line-up and being a part of history.

After the G8 summit is over what's the betting everybody will forget about Africa and it'll slowly drift off the news agenda.

5:47 pm  
Blogger Kay Ballard said...

Actually, if you analyze it, particularly in retrospect, the entire event was brilliantly designed and executed to discourage private philanthropy thereby reinforcing their position that the only solution to African poverty is a government solution. The truth is that private philanthropy can and should play a large role as well.

As you have stated before, no one really knows the value of "awareness". My own guess is that in this case, the value is very little.

7:42 pm  

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