Wednesday, July 06, 2005


You know, when you hear Susan Sarandon introducing Geldof in the sort of glowing terms that would start to suggest a personality cult forming, it does make you pause a while and wonder if maybe you're wrong. But then... probably not.

We understand from someone up on the protests in Edinburgh (we're not sure if they wanted us to attribute this) that Bob hasn't been getting quite the unquestioning applause we're being instructed to deliver - on at least one of the buses he clambered aboard to thank people for turning up, he was met by stony silence, and we understand that the PR team attempting to press people into forming a happy circle of greatful faces around him on a train were rebuffed more than once.

More astonishingly, there was this: Geldof's response to being asked a question (rather than being told how glorious he is) was to... erm, lick the camera.

There's been some suggestion that it's unfair to criticise Bob - that he got Africa onto everyone's lips and onto the front pages; and, we'll certainly agree, he does work tirelessly towards his aims. But just as Bono is a businessman who used to make music, let's not pretend that Geldof is anything more than a politician with his own media company and a past life as a singer. His aims in this case are admirable - certainly better than when he sets out to try and get teenage girls' magazines barred from talking about sex - but that doesn't mean he's right in his methods. However much he might try to spin it the other way, he's not acting as a conduit for our wishes, but merely using us to support his own. He might have got Africa onto the front page of all the papers, but he's not been keen to start any sort of debate.

Midge Ure, though. We have a lot of time for Midge and his work of quiet, self-effacing organisation.