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Sunday, July 03, 2005

Pride (in the name of love)

Live 8 rocks the world, but will it help the poor? This is the title of the first news item I read this morning. It was actually written last night, as was another report entitled Crowd of 200,000 in Scotland urges poverty action.

Debt relief for Africa was announced some days ago, ahead of Live 8 and the G8 summit. This is a step in the right direction that follows years of campaigning before Live 8.

A doubling of aid to African countries was also announced a few days ago by the USA. The Make Poverty History campaigners want other countries to follow suit...and for America do give even more aid in the future.

Fair trade is the other item on the Make Poverty History agenda and so far it seems like little if any progress will be made on this in Gleneagles next week. Live 8 will only have done more than raise public awareness to all these issues if/when the G8 becomes as interested about fair trade as it is about free trade.

I watched most of Live 8 on TV and online yesterday. Sharon was bummed that I didn't make it to London so she didn't go to the show even though she lives within relative walking distance from Hyde Park. (Next time Sharon. I promise.) Josh (whom I'd have been with had I gone to London even though we didn't have any concert tickets) sent me a couple of pictures via his mobile phone, which I'm reproducing here. He called me half way through Bob Geldof's performance of I Don't Like Mondays to tell me they made it into the park without a ticket, but somehow I still think I had a better time in Scarborough than if I went to London this weekend. Yet I wonder if Edinburgh is where I'm really meant to be. I know I'd be there if I didn't have work commitments I can't get out of this coming week. I have one last ace up my sleeve. I'll play it on Monday or Tuesday and if it works out I may go to Scotland on Wednesday/Thursday after all. If not then I'll just keep in mind that you can't always get what you want in life.

The concerts had their great moments, of course, but left me with quite an empty feeling. I wanted much more of the opening by Paul McCartney and U2, even though Macca gave a corker of a set at the end of the day. Bono seemed very tired and not in top form; I can't understand how he or anyone else thinks he's still a great (live) singer...especially if you compare him to Sting, who gave a blinding performance of old songs from The Police. (In case you need to know, I'm a great fan of both U2 and Sting.) Coldplay showed they're true big league players by including a nod to Status Quo's Rocking All Over the World, even if Gwyneth Paltrow drew far too much attention to herself and Chris Martin's baby during their set. Annie Lennox blew everyone away with her performance and Madonna's act was the best I've ever seen from her. I was also pleasantly surprised by Robbie Williams. He's a strong entertainer who makes up for his unimpressive singing talents with very catchy songs and an excellent stage presence. The Who just went through the numbers clearly reversing their famous anthem about hoping to die before they get old; John Entwhistle lived/died true to that and apparently he is not greatly missed by all.

Zucchero and Duran Duran looked good in Rome, as did Green Day and Roxy Music in Berlin, where Brian Wilson also appeared. I missed Bjork in Tokyo but Will Smith was spectacular in Philadelphia, where Maroon 5 didn't fail to make a mark as one of the freshest bands in the States. Along with The Killers, Keane, Scissor Sisters, and Travis they're among the newer acts I find most attractive.

And then there's the Pink Floyd reunion, of course. Roger Waters was admittedly emotional and visibly nervous about the whole thing while Dave Gilmour and Nick Mason looked like they had zero tolerance for any nonsense. The band sounded as great as ever (except for Water's voice -- no wonder Gilmour did most of the singing) but an 18-minute set from Pink Floyd is almost anathema...this band has at least one song in their back catalogue that's longer than 18 minutes. At least Syd's name was evoked very clearly half-way through the set; he is sorely missed. A Floyd reunion with Barrett would undoubtedly be the great gig in the sky. If the G8 leaders had as half as much wit as they have power they would insist on a Floyd reunion with Barrett as a condition for making poverty history.

Meanwhile, Wired Temples and Pierre J. Mejlak's Blog are now part of the MaltaMedia Online Network, and Tabellina has finally made its public debut.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its as easy to get all cynical about Live 8 as it is to get all mushy.

But it all comes down to this: Those often fantastic performances we watched over the weekend are not going to change the world. But I'm sure they are going to highlight the world's problem of poverty-at least for a while. That may at least might get some people thinking. 

10:16 AM, July 04, 2005

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