pop stars getting together to save the world is a
considered passe. Simply hearing one utter the words
"rainforest" is enough to have him forever
labelled "out of touch old git". However, back
in 1984, it was virtually unheard of for our idols to
all get together en masse, and sing a song for charity
about how awful the world is. Band Aid was the
brainchild of unwashed Boomtown Rat Bob Geldof, and
former, stupidly-named, Ultravox frontman Midge Ure. Who
didnít feel a certain sense of excitement and, yes,
pride, when they read in The Sun that British pop music
was going to save the starving millions of the world?
said, when the song was released, who didnít feel an
equally certain sense of disappointment? Do They Know
Itís Christmas? Do they? Well? No, of course they
didnít. Even if the average Ethiopian knew of the
Christian festival celebrating the birth or our Lord
Jesus Christ, would they care - hungry or not? Donít
be ridiculous, Geldof: they have their own beliefs, and
religions, man. Donít try and force ours upon them.
The arrogance of the lyrics was astonishing. Whatís
more, were they deliberately trying to ruin our
Christmas dinner with their heavy-handed moralising?
so, watching that video back then, and seeing all those
famous faces in one room together was something special.
Watching it now, with hindsight, the opinion is more
along the lines of "Look at that wanker" and
"Who the hell is that one there with the
B-Side of the Band Aid single was an instrumental
version, featuring overdubbed and improvised guilt trip
proclamations by the ill-informed popsters. Someone from
Big Country told us to "Feed the people. Stay
alive," while Bono profoundly wished us all "A
merry Christmas" (yet how he expected us to do
that, given that by then weíd been informed of the
existence of another world outside our window - a world
of dread and fear - is anyoneís guess).
following summer we were subjected to Live Aid, a truly
awesome spectacle of fluffed lines, microphones breaking
down, and Bob Geldof saying "Give us your fucking
money" on live TV. In the afternoon. In 1985. Now
that Bob is a high-powered, albeit still unwashed, if
presumably very well-paid television executive, heís
clearly adopted a strategy of "Let the heathens
starve". The Live Aid event spanned two continents,
with a bewildered US contingent picking up the reigns as
the Wembley Stadium concert coughed to a finish. A
globe-spanning rendition of the mawkish We Are The
World, and an improvised Do They Know Itís Summertime?
brought the whole affair to an end. Sort of.
subsequent years, attempts would be made to resurrect
fading careers with similar charity discs and gigs,
pouring money into funds for ferry disasters, other
starving countries, and Nelson Mandela. The cherry on
this appalling cake was Band Aid 2 - the most dreadful
Stock, Aitken And Waterman reworking imaginable. By 1989
the real popstars were all dead, stoned, propping up
flagging careers, or simply too busy to join Bros, Sonia
and Big Fun on the ill-conceived, and disrespectful,
disco remix. Also, why hasnít Live Aid ever been
released on video? Think of the money itíd make. Think
of the grain that money would buy. Think of the... ah,
sod Ďem. Incidentally, if anyone has any figures on
the number of hot dogs and trays of chips sold during
Live Aid, weíd love to know...