What’s wrong with Live 8?

Smug, patronising, reductive, counter-productive. Nauseating, clapped-out (McCartney? Sting? The Who?), bullying, sentimental, phoney, boring. Recycling twenty year-old images of suffering people. Providing no insight at all into African subjectivity – ambitions, desires, success stories. No new ideas at all (hold on: Sail 8. That was new) – at least nothing that other people hadn’t spent years coming up with, without Sir Bob’s help (like Oxfam’s Make Poverty History campaign).

Clueless, egomaniac artists hugging random Africans. Witless celebrity liggers congratulating each other incoherently on the telly. An ugly, opportunistic media consensus that seems to embrace the entire mainstream media (enough pull-out-and-keep supplements to sink a battleship).

Africans insulted and demeaned – literally excluded by Geldof’s arbitrary sales cut-off (“Welcome to Cornwall, losers!”). A continent reduced to yesterday’s basket-case imagery projected behind yesterday’s rock stars. I’m sorry. I can’t help it. Does this make me a bad person?


  1. Glad to see that in writing. It sickened me to my stomach.
    What I couldn’t stand was the number of whitey singers with black backing singers. It was like a metaphor for our relationship to Africa itself. We stole this stuff from you, and now, with your support, it’s OURS, all ours.
    Made me go and put on the Last Poets – The White Man’s got a God Complex.

  2. No, it doesn’t make you a bad person at all and I agree with you both to an extent but there are alot of people out there who wouldn’t even notice most of your points raised – and in turn, it doesn’t particularly make them bad either that they genuinely thought they were participating in something that was in their eyes helpful. It was mainly gut-wrenchingly cringemaking but if anything awareness has been raised even on a simplistic level which can’t be an altogether bad thing. At one point, I thought it looked a bit like a scary cult rally! Ivan – by weird coincidence – I retreated to my loft (where the vinyl is) and put on a Last Poets album yesterday – I played ‘Oh My People’.

  3. Steve, you took the words out of my mouth….it was about building brand for aging, white rockers (not that there’s anything generally wrong with that – am one m’self) and raised nary a penny.

  4. Right on, brother. My nausea level peaked when I found that my Sunday Times was labelled a ‘souvenir edition’.

  5. Steve – great blog piece. Lets hope that some good things happen as well. JC.

  6. Yeah – I thought all the cut out and keep souvenir edition stuff was nauseatingly crap and a waste of yet more forest. But I did watch some of it and I did send a letter to Tony Blair and I did add my photo to the G8 lobby gallery. And I still can’t stand Pink Floyd – never could.

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