Sunday, July 08, 2007

Global fawning

I'm in two minds about Live Earth. On one hand it seems churlish to ignore the issue, but on the other; there's no denying the hypocrisy and flaws in its concept.

Live Aid, upon which all these things are based, was unique, had a simple principle - the biggest bands in the world play music and you give us your fucking money, a charismatic iconic leader who did the politics so the dumbo popstars could focus on the bass solos and it had a few moments of legend: the career reviving Queen set, that video with the music from The Cars, and a career defining set from U2.

All this has been lost in the slew of political concerts staged in the intervening years. I didn't see much of yesterday, but it seemed to be a hotchpotch of bands which pandered to American audiences as the day progressed (Pussycat Dolls on third from last?), it was a series of short record company driven showcases; for example, who the hell is Terra Naomi and how come she's billed higher than the Red Hot Chilli Peppers? Above all, it wasn't entertaining enough for long enough to hold the attention.

Secondly, the simplicity of the Band Aid concept has been replaced by the more nebulous 'awareness building'. Success, therefore, can't be measured in money terms, so it compels the artists to go on about 'The Issue'. With no charismatic leader (sorry, Al Gore) it's left to Madonna to tell us to 'jump up and down if you want to save the world' and Kasabian to 'save the polar bears for our children's children, or at least give it a try, yaknowhatimsayin?'. Snow Patrol justified the criticisms of hypocrisy by saying they weren't there to preach, they were there to learn... about how to put gigs on of this size in an ecologically friendly way. Then there was bloody Hollywood-addled Joss Stone rambling on about 'Saving the world being really important and global warming being really bad, like'.

I'm certainly older, and probably more cynical than I was in the days of Live Aid, so its not really a fair comparison. It did strike me that I didn't hear a single piece of practical advice about the issue. Which, when you think about it, could have transformed the thing - what about a call for governments to pass a law that says in 5 years time only energy efficient light bulbs can be sold, or that no new appliance can have a stand-by light, or even that every car built is hybrid fuelled?

It seems odd that the government can't achieve this when it has managed to successfully ban smoking, insist that every TV goes Digital and has, in the past, banned lead from petrol. None of the three suggestions above would be a perceived attack on the UK way of life, it wouldn't even effect big businesses particularly. Instead, we have a concert whose effects are unlikely to last beyond Tuesday.


"Don't cha wish your planet was hot like me?!"

Polars bears are already extinct: the living dead.

What worries me is that Millie and Elliot are going to have to eat each other to survive in 40 years time.

Buy a gun and a truck full of ammo. And switch off your lights obviously.

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