No, sorry. I can’t just leave it.
Did any of you see Madonna’s performance? Did any of you watch Geldof’s bit before that? Without vomiting your spleen into your lap?
In case you were mercifully elsewhere, here’s what happened. Bob Geldof went into a foggy rant along the lines of “DON’T LET ANYONE TELL YOU THIS DOESN’T WORK”. Then an enormous picture of a starving Ethiopian child appeared on the screens. Then Bob says “This girl was 10 minutes from death when this shot was filmed” – leaving aside all questions of whether it would be considered appropriate to film children 10 minutes from death if they weren’t brown – and then shouts “BUT BECAUSE OF LIVE AID, SHE SURVIVED! AND HERE SHE IS NOW!”
And on walks a beautiful fully grown woman with an expensive hairdo and perfect makeup, and everyone cheers, because WE DID THAT! We saved the pretty lady! We Westerners, with our benevolent rich rock stars and kind hearts, we who were prepared to sacrifice a whole day of our lives to watch a rock concert and perhaps give a few quid out of our beer budget! We, who wear matching wristbands and are polite enough not to question the inexplicable participation of pensionable dullards like Annie Lennox, Sting, Pink Floyd and The Who, are saving lives! We are, quite frankly, heroes! Go us! Go us!
And then Madonna walks on, snogs poor Birhan Woldu – for this is she – and feigns tears of self-congratulatory joy. And grabs Birhan’s hand, and punches it triumphantly into the air. Never one to miss a front page opportunity, she does this for quite some time.
I cannot find words to do justice to the offensiveness of this spectacle.
From the parts of Live 8 which I saw, I didn’t hear a single person on any stage mention the reasons Africa is impoverished. Not one. From watching this show, you’d think that global economics pivoted on the willingness of ageing prog rockers to reform.
As ever, RedOne and Gerry neatly sum up the tragedy of Geldof and Bono co-opting the G8 protests. If it hadn’t been for this flamboyant point-missing exercise, the rumble of very real G8-based dissent seen a few months ago may have built into an epoch-defining roar.
And if that’s not a good enough motive for Blair et al to hold hands with Geldof and Bono and support their impotent efforts, I don’t know what is.
I’ll leave you with a nice quote from Robert Newman:
Q: If you could talk directly to a room full of G8 leaders, what would you say?
A: “Here are your Guatemala work visas, we will come and pick you up from the Dole/Chiquita banana plantation in a year’s time, by which point your views about capitalism may have altered enough for us to have a sensible discussion.”
Soundtrack to this post: Grasping Claw – Headset