Bob about to say f**k on telly probably
like a normal person
Better writers than I have written about their uneasiness with Bob Geldof and the "new" Band Aid single today so I'm not going to give chapter and verse on my range of reasons. But I too won't be buying it, preferring instead to give money when I can afford to charities run by ordinary people working hard with local people to mitigate disaster and poverty, not publicity vehicles for celebrities. I mean, it's not as if we didn't know about the Ebola crisis until we heard the curly one from One Direction singing about "them" not knowing nothing about our winter holidays. I have the same problem with Comic Relief and Children in Need, especially when I read that Jonathan Ross admitted for many years he never put his own hand in his pocket while he was the presenter or Terry Wogan commands a substantial fee whilst everyone else works for free. Being invited to perform on the Band Aid single is like the world acknowledging that you are the chosen ones, rather than any selfless act of charity. Right now Cheryl Cole is probably bloody raging she wasn't included, signifying her star in the descendant. The warm fuzzy feeling they get performing is less about doing good and more about the fact they got the call in the first place. Good on Adele for not picking up and just quietly giving some money to Oxfam without a fuss.
I have other niggles. Loads of them in fact, to do with the fact that charity picks up the slack of bad government and no-one makes as big a deal about the bad government. Tax payers being asked to give more money when their tax should be keeping child poverty in check, whilst tax dodgers do neither. We all know the statistics on which sections of society give the most; it's the ones with the least money.
The other niggle is Geldof himself. My family have had two slight brushes with Geldof and both speak volumes about the man's character, I think. The first was my mum who observed him using his celebrity to try and cadge a free coffee in a cafe in London, and the second was my husband who, with a friend, was the support act for Bob Geldof at Aberdeen's Lemon Tree many years ago. Meester M was a Geldof fan, not so much of his music but of the man himself. He had read his autobiography and was impressed and excited to meet him, not least because he was doing a project on humanitarianism with a class of his at school. Let's face it, he wanted his pic taken with him for the classroom wall frieze. "Here's me with 'Saint' Bob, kids!"
On arrival at the venue he was to be disappointed. Geldof's management had made the venue sign an agreement that nobody was to approach him. "But I'm on the same bill. Surely he'll be ok about meeting the support act", Mr M said. But no, the contract was clear; any approaches by anyone out-with his own entourage could and would result in him pulling the gig. Seriously. Personally that would have been it for me. I'd have walked away, played my set, possibly trying out an impromptu song called "Bob's an Ass" and then left with my fee in my pocket before Bob's minder could kick my butt for me.
Mr M wouldn't let it lie though and played the teacher card. He got a message to his management saying that he'd like a photo with him for the project he was doing at school- he possibly over-egged it a bit and said the whole project was about Live Aid or simply a big old celebration of El Geldof himself. Anyway, whatever he said worked and after the gig he got his photo. I wish I could say I have a copy but it's been lost. But I remember it clearly. There's Bob with his arm around Mr M like they were big mates; for all to see an image of bonhomie and Bob being a "good guy". Yet know this, Sir Bob did not once look at or exchange one word with Mr M. The moment was over in seconds before Bob sloped off.
Never meet your heroes they say. Still at least everyone seems to have forgotten that my husband's band also once supported Rolf Harris.....