Saturday, June 25, 2005


The man in the white suit was rather good, then - inspirational, convincing; persuading thousands of people to join hands and chant. Mind you, when De La Soul played the Pyramid stage, they also got people to hold hands and chant slogans; persuading people to do something vague and nice sounding isn't that difficult. And that's probably the problem with Bob Geldof's Glastonbury speech: it implied that you don't need to do anything to change the world other than have a bit of an amble round a park and feel like you're doing something. After all, to solve all of Africa's problems is but the work of two minutes for the eight leaders at ther Gleneagles Summit, and by holding hands and tapping a foot along with Dido, "we will face down those eight men." Bob also claimed that the solution to the African crisis is nothing to do with money, because "we live in a world of surplus." Which is sort of true, but only because we're fucking the planet to push out as much stuff as we can greedily cram into our gobs - it's a false surplus; and with all of the surplus apparently in the west, balancing the needs of all six and a half billion people is going to take much, much more than just a policy decision and a press conference in Scotland next week. It'll take complex, awkward, unpopular decisions, persuasion and a little compulsion. Bob is lying to the Glastonbury crowd, as he'll lie to the G8 audience next week. He's right when he says the poverty in Africa is obscene - it is, and the problem is simple enough to define. He's charming, and compelling when he says the solution is just as simple, but like a preacher, when someone tells you that you can reach redemption with no effort, all they'll succeed in is energising their own popularity.

The ImportoEgoBeast is created

It was equally striking that Geldof was desperate that the hand-holding shouldn't be seen as "some hippy, rock-festival thing" - apparently, this was more real than that; he seems to have relocated from his original idea that the boys and girls with guitars were going to tilt the world on its axis - now he seems almost to disdain the rock connection.