Live 8… and now what?

I wonder how many of us have been either glued to their TVs this afternoon or out in Hyde Park to watch the show either live or on big screen. My attention span being rather short, I moved away from the TV regularly but have had a good overview of the day’s events.

The BBC has certainly given it main focus, broadcasting on BBC One, BBC Two, Radio 1 and Radio 2, and well… delaying further programming by… we’ll see how long good ol’ Paul will stay on, as the show’s not over yet.

What did I see? I saw Dido singing out of tune, then being saved by Noussou N’Dour for “Seven Seconds”, Joss Stone shining like the boho beauty that she is. I was annoyed by Mariah Carey behaving like a diva, using the African choir as an accessory to show she cares about the issues. I was please to see Robbie be his good old self, Peter Kay be his usual nutter self and Paul McCartney be his charismatic self. Scissor Sisters, Annie Lennox, Madonna, not necessarily all at their best today but there nonetheless. So as far as the “show” side of things goes, yeah, it was good fun.

But really, what will the international shows achieve? Too little about Africa has been said and too much about stars who know nothing of reality has been shown.

I’m far from being an expert on African poverty issues, and I was secretly hoping I would feel more informed by the end of today. I was hoping the real issues would be brought up, I was waiting for Bob and co. to give us concrete ways of changing the world and making a real difference. Instead, I saw flashing lights and flashy stars.

In Edinburgh, they must be laughing. The public has spent the last few weeks being distracted by a Radio 1 competition to get tickets to see heart throb Robbie for the first time on stage since Knebworth, and have been more concerned about Pink Floyd’s return than with the real issues that are going to be discussed during the G8 Summit.

Rather than feeling enlightened about the crushing national debts, the poverty and the AIDS epidemics weighing down African countries, I am left with a sick feeling in my stomach that we have been blinded by the lights of these 10 stages worldwide and by the stars who clearly weren’t there to support the cause, but rather to swiftly give their career a bit of a boost. If only they were willing to touch on the problems that are killing 50,000 Africans a day, maybe we’d start understanding the overwhelming size of the challenge. Putting our hands up in the air and singing along to Pink Floyd isn’t going to help, sorry kids!

To quote a few Brits today:

James Coomarasamy, BBC News, Philadelphia
They’ve come to make poverty history, but many of them have arrived in stretch limos, hummers and what I can only describe as stretch tour buses. Perhaps it would have been hypocritical for America’s rock and hip hop glitterati to swap their usual modes of transport for something more humble, but there’s a certain incongruity to their over-sized cars weaving in and out of the golf carts which most of those working backstage are using.

Lucy, from East Sussex, at Hyde Park

I’m just here to watch the bands, really.

Sadly, I think this is the case for a large part of the crowds. It was the one chance to use the time the media and the public have dedicated to the situation to educate and inform us.

I was too young in 1985, I don’t know how much influence the original Live Aid show has had on the richest nations in the world, but this one has truly failed to achieve anything worthwhile in my eyes. Don’t look so self-satisfied Bob, you aren’t a God. You’re just a mighty good pop show organiser.

4 responses to “Live 8… and now what?

  1. Yup. I wrote about this on my blog too. It just feels as though Sir Bob wanted to do something to commerate the 20th anniversary of LiveAid (which in the end did nothing — Africa is worse off now than it was then).

  2. Steven

    Alot of the stars were actually flying into the event – a helipad was setup in the event complex. The event HAS raised awareness of the issues involved. However I fear it’ll soon drop out of people’s minds when the whole Live8/Edinbourgh protests fall out of fashion (i.e. August 2005). Still, we can all look forward to Live8 CDs and DVDs to fill our xmas stockings with!

    S.

  3. Yeah, I’m not sure as to how much the gig is actually going to help things – Geldof and Bono are fairly clued up on the Make Poverty History campaign, but a fair number of the other performers seemed to think it was just about giving more aid money to Africa. Not a word about trade justice, which would help much more than throwing money at the problem.

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I'm Véro - a crafty, knitty, spinny gal who enjoys making (and drinking) a cocktail or three. If you've stumbled here, you might enjoy browsing some of my older posts with the tags over to the right or finding out more about me.

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