That said, I obviously support the aims. I don’t like the whole back-slapping, self-congratulatory aspect of it all and the concept of rich musicians proselytising about the starving is a tad ridiculous. The idea of Sting, for example, encouraging us to dig deep makes me physically ill. (Come to think of it, the idea of Sting full stop makes me feel a bit nauseous.) We’re talking here about a man so rich that, when his accountant swindled him of six million pounds, he didn’t notice for a couple of years. But that aside, I think anything that raises awareness can’t be considered a bad thing.
Personally, I think the battle to reform the EU budget and the scrapping of the Common Agricultural Policy is of greater significance to helping Africa in the long-term and we should be supporting that, but I suppose more people prefer Dido to complex trade subsidy arguments (not me though – I don’t think there’s anything in the world more dull than Dido’s music: blander than a cardboard sandwich).
But I’m not totally cynical. I think Bob Geldof believes passionately in the cause, does excellent work and deserves full credit. He gets a lot of undeserved flack, which is unfair because his intentions are without question honourable. There’s a rather sceptical piece on the BBC website today written by David Stubbs, reviews editor of Wire magazine, explaining why he won’t be watching the event. Fair enough, and he makes some good arguments, but one point in particular about Geldof struck me as rather absurd:
But inevitably, given (Geldof's) profession, he is addicted to the spotlight and despite his reputation as a plain and profane speaker, rather too chummy towards the powerful over the years - be it Prince Charles, the Pope, Mother Teresa, Tony Blair or George Bush.Well what are you suggesting? That he should try to turnaround attitudes to Africa WITHOUT the assistance of the most powerful people in the world??!! Ridiculous. He’s just playing the political game because that is what you have to do.
So yes, full credit to Sir Bob say I. Whether or not Live 8 is the best way to tackle problems on the scale of Africa’s is obviously contentious, but nobody can deny that he has done more than any other individual to highlight the plight of many people in that troubled continent. Who knows, I may even watch some of it tomorrow. From the comfort of my sofa. With a beer.
But obviously not when Sting or Dido are playing.