Sunday, June 12, 2005

Live Ate? Feeding Egos & The Publicity Machine

Let the backlash begin from Guardian Unlimited: Newsblog#more

Today's link leads to part of the Guardian newspaper blogs dealing with the forthcoming Live8 concerts and there's also a link there that will allow you to hear what Blur's Damon Alban has to say about his non-participation.

I've touched on this before, but a radio announcement in the last hour declared that the original Pink Floyd line-up will be reforming to take part has brought it back to mind. It's an event I want to see regardless of where and when it occurs (anyone familiar with my archives will know my focus on Floyd musicians) yet the ease with which this rollercoaster of an event is almost mindlessly pulling in the rock 'n' roll elite is increasingly symptomatic of its function as a marketing machine for the participants. Forget the feeding of the world - this is increasingly becoming a matter of feeding the egos and bank balances of musicians and entertainers desperate to maintain their position in the limelight. They won't get paid with money of course, but they'll see increased record sales from the publicity and they'll join the roll of honour that may someday see them awarded a knighthood or some such establishment credibility. Charity and social conscience has become big business in the 21st century.

The government will love this. The noise will focus attention on the one outcome of the G8 summit that has now been established in advance - debts write-offs and a little bit more aid for Africa. In reality, it is beginning to look both patronising and condescending to a continent which has both proud traditions and a vast wealth of natural resources. They don't want handouts designed to slightly elevate their position in the new world pecking order, they want empowerment as shareholders in their own countries and cultures The help they really need is for the international community to stop supporting the corruption and dictatorships that are siphoning way the wealth and resources of the native peoples. They don't want western "do-gooders" meddling with their destiny. If we want to offer help we should consult the populace about fair trade and distribution of wealth rather than by imposing a false "charity" facade on our own agendas.

With so many other issues, not least the environment of the planet itself, on the G8 agenda, the distraction of Live8 will serve the leaders well. The stalemate on the future of Europe, steps to combat climate change and the expansion of the Amerikan Empire will be conveniently obscured by the drama of this relatively inconsequential performance and its associated aftermaths.

For those who've mentioned it - I have done a spellcheck on this today, but cancelled most of the changes because I do not use American-English. I use English-English and most of the mistakes are quite deliberate anyway.


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