Sunday, July 08, 2007

Hot In Here: The papers cover Live Earth

The News of the World doesn't bother itself with getting its Live Earth coverage bogged down in fretting about polar bears drowning or displaced people fighting over the last remaining popsicle. Oh, no, their report is split into two bits: stunning pics for her and for him. The girls get Johnny Borrell; the boys have that really disturbing moment when Madonna was dry-humping the monitor. (What was going through her head at that point? "At least it doesn't keep murmuring 'no, please not'", presumably.)

This is how the NOTW describes the opening minutes of the concert:

The crowd, which expected to swell to 70,000 by the close, then rose to its feet as the reunited Genesis used their hit Land Of Confusion to send an environmental message.

Singer Phil Collins urged the crowd to make the world "a place worth living in".

The Wembley show was closed by Madonna, who earlier set the stage alight with a dazzling rehearsal of classic hits La Isla Bonita and Hung Up, as well as new song Hey You penned especially for the event.

Is it just us, or does that whole section sound like it was written by someone in German and then translated back into English. Almost.?

And every time the paper tried to make it sound like a star-studded event of a generation, it somehow managed to sound like its tongue was in its cheek:
Throughout the day, the 70,000 crowd was shown sketches from stars including Cameron Diaz and Anna Friel encouraging people to make small changes to become greener such as installing energy-efficient bulbs. Celebrities in the crowd included Liam Gallagher and missus Nicole Appleton, his ex Patsy Kensit and Myleene Klass.

When you're reduced to mentioning the presence of Nicole Appleton, and Myleene Klass, you're grubbing at the bottom of a very empty celebrity barrel. Even the Diana concert managed to rope in Arfur Edwards.
Spice Girl Geri Halliwell was sensationally booed for her corny introduction for Duran Duran.

Referring to her newly-reunited group's hit Wannabe, she said: "I know this is a bit cheesy but I'll tell you what I really, really, really want is to introduce a legendary band that have been going much longer than the Spice Girls, for over 20 years."

Actually, she'd probably have got away with it if she hadn't mentioned how cheesy it was in the first place.

Zoe from the Sunday Mirror knows whereof she speaks, skewering David Gray for the most dunderheaded observation of the day:
"The campaign is like in 1938 when Britain had an army coming at it from France. We knew what we had to do then and we know what we've got to do now."

Good lord - how lucky we defeated that army to be ready for the Second World War a year later.

The Mirror took four people to contribute a single story - surely a shining use of scarce resources, although they seemed to have done little more than rewind their Sky+ to scribble down some quotes:
Razorlight's Johnny Borrell said: "There are people who work day in, day out for things like Stop Climate Chaos, organisations like that, and Live Earth, out of the belief that they want to make the world a better place. And those people are heroes."

Which, as his private jet waiting to whisk him up to T in the Park, was a bit like BP hailing the people who wash spilled oil off cormorants.

The People, tucked away in a report about a child murderer, throws in a surprising glimpse of some more of the hypocrisy at the heart of Live Earth: for many of those involved, it formed a jolly weekend double with watching motor racing slowly depleting the planet:
Celebs at yesterday's Live Earth concert are among those expected at the [Silverstone Grand Prix]. Selected guests are given the packs containing programmes, glossy brochures and details of special offers and information.

You might wonder if anyone felt anything more than a slight pang of pity when Phil Collins swore. Alice Doonan insists people were:
Billions of TV viewers around the globe heard a string of four-letter filth from Genesis frontman Phil Collins and US band Black Eyed Peas.

And presenters Jonathan Ross and Graham Norton were both forced to make grovelling apologies for the stars' foulmouthed outbursts.

Wrinkly rocker Collins shocked show producers by changing a line in the hit single Invisible Touch from "She will mess up your life" to "She will fuck up your life".

Clearly, Doonan couldn't have been watching the coverage if she thought that Ross was "grovelling" with his apologies; it's not clear, either, how she assumed that "billions" of people saw Collins' pottymouth - wouldn't it have been about six in the morning in the US?

Kitty Empire filed a review for The Observer which suggested it all hung on Madonna:
The night, however, belongs to Madonna. If Live Earth is a spectacle as much as a wake-up call, pop's queen bee has the massed children's choirs, dancers and carbon-quota-busting light show to make Live Earth historic.

Her progress from Material Girl to planet custodian has been an unlikely one - not least because it involves Gogol Bordello playing 'La Isla Bonita' at punk speed tonight. But perhaps Live Earth's most potent message is that if Madonna - one of pop's most inveterate megalomaniacs - can give a stuff about the future of the planet, than so can we.

Except, of course, as both the Mail and the NOTW have published detailed breakdowns of just what an environment depletion monster Madonna is, building the show on her shoulders looks a little ill-judged. Like MacMillan telling the poor they've never had it so good.

The Sunday Times' Robert Sandall was one of the few journalists to suggest that, actually, it was all somewhat less than half cock:
As a concert, Live Earth was not the repeat of Live Aid/Live 8 it clearly wanted to be. Unlike the events organised by the charismatic Sir Bob Geldof – upon which this one modelled itself closely, right down to its choice of name – the acts who answered the call from Al Gore’s people to play at Wembley Stadium were a bit short on superstar clout.

It was Geldof’s legendarily persuasive powers which got Pink Floyd to abandon a 20-year feud and re-form for Live 8 in Hyde Park in 2005. There was nothing on the Live Earth London bill to command that level of anticipation and potential drama.

With the exception of the closing act Madonna – who played next door at Wembley Arena only last summer – there was nobody on the Stadium bill with the cross-generational appeal, and catalogue of monster hits, to supply the great unifying moments which event gigs need to make their message stick in the mind.

Back to Madonna, though, for the Sunday Telegraph. They've dug deeper than just calculating how many lightbulbs she gets through, and found that even Ray Of Light, the song she did on stage last night, has a dirty little secret:
The Ray of Light Foundation, a charitable fund established by the star to support her favourite causes and named after one of her biggest selling hits, has $4.2 million (£2.1 million) of shares in a string of companies including Alcoa, the American aluminium giant, the Ford Motor Company and Weyerhaeuser, an international forest products company. All have been criticised by environmentalists.

You see what you can do if you don't restrict your coverage to 'sitting in front of the TV with a notepad'?
The disclosure was made by America's Fox News network, which obtained the foundation's most recent tax returns for 2005.