Monday, June 06, 2005


There we were, worrying that Live 8 was little more than the stunt in the minds' eye of a multimillionaire medi baron, when Geldof pitches up to launch Sail 8. Yes, you heard; it's like the gig, only with Ellen MacArthur in the Dido role.

Look! Someone's pinched his oars

Now, we know "thou shalt not fanny about in yachts" never was a commandment in the end, because Moses argued God down to just the ten and the big fella was really keen to keep the one about no other gods but him, but even so, yachting surely is a fannying about pass-time and as disconnected from the real world as it can get. And while we don't want to reach for the phrase "all at sea"... well, what else do you say?

Bob has said that he wants to "recreate Dunkirk as part of a continental adventure." Righto, so... we're going to recreate the greatest military reverse the British have known in modern times, are we? The watersports leg of Live8 is going to be a tribute to the point where Europe was at the height of Nazi control? Well, there's a continental adventure. We wonder if Bob's got plans to try and meld together Diarmuid Gavin and the Somme, or perhaps Frankie Dettori and the Charge of the Light Brigade.

But let's just assume that Bob reached for the second piece of history he knew with boats in (probably after Midge had spent three hours trying to explain why calling for 'A Mary Rose for our times' wouldn't have worked) and that he's just thick rather than being deliberately offensive. So, what is the big idea here? Apparently, people are going to sail to France, have a go in the hypermarket, a few crepes and maybe a nice meal, and then sail back again - perhaps with some people wanting to show their anger against... whatever it is, one forgets after the second glass of something fruity and red, doesn't one?

Bob suggests this is like the march to Edinburgh (the one Midge Ure has asked everyone not to do):

"All those willing people from the southern ports of Britain, really the only thing they can do is hop on their boat and get over to France," he said.

"It's their commitment, it's their way of doing the long walk to justice. It will be many hours of sailing and it will be picking up some people they may not even be able to communicate with but the symbolism of that around the world will be one of great effort, great friendship, great solidarity."

Yes, a pleasant day sailing - that'll really show international solidarity, won't it? There was already some criticism of this whole endeavour that it suggested all you had to do to change the world was go to a gig; the claim that mucking about like this is going to have an effect rather strenghtens that belief. Why not go the whole hog and say that taking a spin on the rollercoasters at Alton Towers will really show the G8 we mean business, eh?

It's not even like there's any rallying point - they're not trying to get the Channel to be full of boats. In fact, they're barely that bothered about the boats going anywhere:

[A spokeswoman] added that showing support for Sail 8 was more important than finishing the crossing.

"We are asking people to come across the Channel and to set sail in such a way that it's showing some support. It may be they only get as far as Portsmouth," the spokeswoman said.

"Bob's always said this is about a global movement to get people to show their support, whether or not people go the full distance."

Clearly, this protest is going to be on a par with the People's Gathering About At The Start Of A March For Jobs And Then Deciding Actually That It Was Enough To Just Come This Far, and the great Intending To Write An Outraged Letter To The Papers But Not Having A Biro To Hand. We're sure those Africans living in abject Poverty will be delighted to hear of this call for, you know, whatever solidarity and that people here in the affluent West are prepared to start something to try and help even if, y'know, it doesn't come to much.

In other news, the Department of Transport has announced the road to hell will be closed for the next month as it is resurfaced with a fresh layer of good intentions.


Anonymous said...

I'm reminded of Smashie and Nicey, who spent the whole weekend "flying round and round in our private helicopters, hoping to raise as much as TWENTY-FIVE POUNDS for charidee, mate!"

Simon Hayes Budgen said...

You know, Darren, you're spot on here - this is the sort of event that is made for Simon Bates, isn't it? I can just hear Mike 'Smitty' Smith handing over to his show for a Very Special Golden Hour and the latest from the Channel... they'd even call it Bates and Boats, wouldn't they?

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