Sunday, July 03, 2005

LIVE 8: THE MORNING AFTER

So, the world (at least as represented by Fleet Street) is full of praise for Geldof and his efforts, as people sit down and start to ponder exactly what it all meant, and to try and make some of the figures add up.

Yesterday, we were told that there were a million people at the Phildelphia gig, and half a million at Circus Maximus. Oddly, though, the official figure for attendance at all the gigs added together is being given as one and a half million, which would imply that nobody turned up to Hyde Park at all.

What is more than a terrible shame is that with all eyes on the stages round the world, the terrific outpouring of public will in Edinburgh seems to have been totally overshadowed - the official figures of 200,000 people actively marching in the Scottish capital almost matches the number in the English capital along to watch the gig; except, of course, they were doing something rather than passively consuming. To get at least fifth of a million out without the lure of Pink Floyd reuniting and Mariah Carey's ass - indeed, despite those attractions - is an astonishing example of the power of the people's desire for the G8 to not fuck up. It's a pity their voice was swamped by Madonna.

This leads us to a further question which caused us a little puzzlement. On Friday night, MTV had its All Eyes On Tony Blair. This was a delicious little bit of programming, bespattered with "All New" flashes, in case kids thought this was a re-run of one of the past series of All Eyes On Tony Blair, and chaired by Trevor Nelson. We'd seen Nelson described in some of the press previews as "a youth presenter", which we suppose he is, but only in the sense that John Noakes and Peter Purves were children presenters - to, rather from, those social groups. Blair must wish that every interview was like this - not only were most of the questions so soft you could use them to remove eye make-up, but many of them were on tape so there wasn't an danger of awkward follow-ups. We imagine that Tony would submit to Newsnight more often if instead of Paxman he was facing Destiny's Child asking "why should we help the poorest countries?"

Bob Geldof came on - Nelson, Blair and Geldof suddenly making MTV feel very old; their combined ages almost totalling that of Sharon Osbourne - and was actually very good indeed; when he's not being called upon to address masses, close-up, one-on-few, he's able to sketch in more detail and replace his catch-all come ons with specific ideas that invite debate and consideration rather just looking for a huge cheer and unthinking applause. Having said that, he claimed that the idea behind Live 8 was to provide Tony Blair with a mandate of five billion people behind him for the G8 negotiations.

Leaving aside, for a moment, the contentious "five billion" figure, this does open up something of a massive contradiction in the whole Live 8 plan. Geldof insisted during the planning that the bands on stage had to be big, top sellers, in order to draw the largest crowd possible. But if the idea of the size of the crowd was to provide a mandate for change, wouldn't any bands at all have done? If Blair is supposed to say "we have to do this, look at all the people in Hyde Park", can't Bush simply counter "but weren't they there for Madonna and Pink Floyd rather than the aims?" In fact, Geldof should have put on the most terrible bands he could think of to say "look, even with this pile of pants, people wanted to be there to add their voice."

Unless that was the thinking behind Velvet Revolver.


5 comments:

M.C. Glammer said...

Being the cynical twat I am and having been on the Edinburgh "semi-final" march, some people were just consuming a nice walk in the Sun, trying to stop their kids from crying with boredom and taking a chance to get out of the city of tents for a while in a warm-up for the finale later in the week. People asked me what this march was really for, because they didn't know.

M.C. Glammer said...

Plus, how convenient that the L8 artists' albums are being TV-advertised today. That's handy, because who knew?

Meow said...

"not only were most of the questions so soft you could use them to remove eye make-up" - I actually felt something akin to glee when I got to that part

palmer_eldritch said...

Yes, we sit in our offices sniping. We can do that, and we're not pretending to do anything else or influence anything else. Unlike Velvet Tap and the rest of them.

palmer_eldritch said...

Ah - my comment above was a response to a previous comment on this post which has now disappeared. Spooky.

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