Many of those who were too young to figure out exactly what happened with Live Aid twenty years ago presumably sat down, like myself, in front of the telly so that they could soak up its 2005 version Live 8.
I admit the appeal was broadly enhanced by the significance of Pink Floyd reforming, a band that throughout my teens I found extremely fascinating, especially their lyrics and the first 'guitar-hero' i ever understood and fell in love with, David Gilmour.
Anyway, you may have noticed how Live 8 got lambasted left, right and centre. I ask to the hordes of cynics, what harm could the shows possibly do? Ok, the message was very diluted. Geldof cosying up a bit too much to the Blairs of this world was a bit frustrating, to say the least. You may argue no-one was blamed specifically aside from an abstract concept of poverty…Yes, all true. But rock pop acts were never gonna save the world, and I don’t think many would want them to either, certainly not Robbie Williams or Snoopy Dogg.
As a matter of fact, Live 8 put Africa on top of the agenda again. G.W. Bush will no doubt shrug it off, Blair will always have a good word for everything while doing nothing about it, but at least the issue will not go away without a fight. And I’m afraid that could only happen through the means of a huge pop concert, and a fairly indefinite and de-politicised message. But consider the alternative, for a minute. The usual G8 that sees most of the world in oblivion, presumably in the belief that G8 is some sort of boy band that reform each year…Or perhaps the usual handful of anarchists and idealists clashing with heavy handed police and no-one else would ever care and good bye, see you at the next G8.
One thing though. Throughout Live8 I hoped in vain for Bob Geldof and the others to mention least ONCE the urgent need for our countries to STOP selling weapons to Third World regimes. It would have been such a strong, distinct message. Yet no-one had the balls to denounce the arm-trade scandal, a business that is always conveniently underplayed as it suits both crooked African dictatorship and our own corrupt and hypocritical Western governments.
Only in 2003 taxpayers money ensured that the “ethical” UK Government could host a very expensive arm-fair in London were lucrative contracts were signed with a number of ruthless dictators from Africa and elsewhere. And then, systematically, we hear reports that those same weapons are used to carry out genocides and breach human rights. But no-one cares, no-one knows and what a chance to make that loud and clear Bob Geldof missed.
I wasn’t expecting the likes of Razorlight or the abysmal Pete Doherty –god help him- to make a stand on the subject, of course as they’re still oblivious to the difference between shit and clay, but until the problem is tackled, and people finally realise who they’re voting in to represent us and carry out that sort of rubbish, then Africa will always remained stifled within poverty, war, dictatorship, repression and famine.