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Live8 Across The Web.

U2 released white doves at Live8.





I had planned, really, to say nothing. To keep quiet. Simplistic answers to a complex problem offered by the rich and famous who could, I argue, use their own considerable personal wealth to change the plight of Africa, to say, I don't know, buy medical supplies and send it over on one of their private jets, is simply an alternative simplistic answer. Like the concert that doesn't address the capitalist concerns that I believe are at the heart of the problem. And like I said, I planned to ignore it. Keep myself entertained. Avoid it. Years later, when someone said to me, "Where were you during Live8?" I planned to say, "Sleeping? This is Australia, we didn't have any music. We just wrapped a bit of the Harbour Bridge up and no one paid any real attention."

But U2 released doves, and flickr and technorati are filled with words and images and I couldn't help myself. I began touring. I found the notes from various people at the gigs and so, here I am, writing this post (note: none of the images come from flickr. I'm snagged them from news sites). I'm going to drop little bits of the BBC blog comments through it, like so:

1952, Ian Youngs, BBC News at Hyde Park
To reinforce his message, Bob Geldof introduced a survivor of the 1984 Ethiopian famine. It was an emotional moment and proved to the crowd they could make a difference. But the embarrassed-looking young lady was then dragged around the stage by Madonna during her first song. The clash of serious message with frivolous pop suddenly became a little uncomfortable


Time to begin. Snapshots about Live8 from the web. How was it perceived?

At the BBC, David Stubbs writes, "Geldof has been a spectacularly tireless fund raiser. But inevitably, given his profession, he is addicted to the spotlight and despite his reputation as a plain and profane speaker, rather too chummy towards the powerful over the years - be it Prince Charles, the Pope, Mother Teresa, Tony Blair or George Bush. But these people front the very institutions - church, empire, Western states - that can be argued have done little to alleviate African misery. They should be interrogated, not cosied up to. Geldof's un-punkishly conciliatory stance to these people creates the illusion that, as with the tsunami, "no one is to blame"."

1723, Bob Geldof, Hyde Park
Walking onto the stage to perform his hit I Don't Like Mondays with Travis, he said: "I just had to play on this stage."






Unsurprisingly, Stubbs' views are one of the few of public cynicism, and you can dismiss Stubbs eventually for his final comments that list Coldplay and Dido who, with their innocuous pop, are apparently part of the problem, rather than being representative of a world turning towards conservativism more and more. While I don't disagree with the sentiment, neither band nor singer have attempted to become political, such as U2 have, and thus make poor examples of 'the problem' as Stubbs sees it. After all, if you're looking for the band that is the benchmark for bland and innocuous pop, there's no one better than U2, but since their return to guitars and drums, the band has become somewhat bullet proof to this criticism.

1912, Madonna, on stage at Hyde Park
Are you ready to start a revolution? Are you ready to change history? I said, are you ready?

1920, Lucy, from East Sussex, at Hyde Park
I'm just here to watch the bands, really.


Of course, that doesn't for a moment, forgive anyone who finds something meaningful in Kanye West's lyrics.

Still, Live8 wasn't all about the music.

1650, Tristana Moore, BBC News, Berlin
There are thousands of people here and the sun has just come out in the last hour. The whole road behind the Brandenburg gate leading up to the Victory column is absolutely full of people. The police were expecting 100,000, but now they estimate that 150,000 to 200,000 people have turned up.


Journalist Sharon Cobb has a list of comments from the Famous People who took stage at Live8. Unsurprisingly, they don't have anything to say, except that they're pleased to be here and people are dying. One of the richest (if not the richest individual), Bill Gates, said, "The huge turnout for Live 8 here and around the world proves that thanks to the leadership from people like Tony Blair and Gordon Brown the world is beginning to demand more action on global health and poverty."

1600, Jamie, via text from Liverpool
I thought when Bill Gates introduced Dido, he was going to start singing Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? I was gutted when he didn't!


Returning to U2, lead singer Bono has been doing the rounds to promote the cause and the day. His comments, however, have been reported as being twisted to mean the very opposite of what he apparently believes. In other words, Bono still believes that the Bush Administration is filled with sleazy pricks who are going to weasel out of promises if they can find a way. And why not? It's hard to believe that the Bush Admin has become such a humanitarian group after refusing to become part of the Kyoto Agreement and cutting aid to organisations that offer abortions.

On the net, however, Live8 commentary has continued. It is, naturally, about the music.

At one stage through the event, the One Girl Revolution (who was blogging it) hoped that Robbie Williams would be ""too drunk to perform Angels. Fingers, toes and internal organs firmly crossed."

1831, Robbie Williams
I just got in off a plane from America yesterday and I'm a bit tired. I haven't done anything for two years, I haven't played a gig for two years.


Shortly after this, however, she revealed an unhealthy obsession with Coldplay's Chris Martin: "They kept showing his lips. Oh, gods, why? I have a hard time reining in my hormones as it is right now! It's all important stuff going on here.

1457, Chris Martin, speaking on BBC Two after performing
It felt like a long, long way to the actual crowd. Who were all those people up the front?

1400, Ian Youngs, BBC News, Hyde Park
The crowds are still flowing in and Hyde Park is filling up. But even the first punters in have found they cannot get within about 100 metres from the stage. They are behind the golden circle - for competition winners, corporate ticket holders and media. And it still has a lot of empty space. Those in the front rows proper look a little aggrieved.


Did you know people were selling their Live8 tickets online? Geldof had a rant against ebay for allowing it to happen, and so the scalpers had to find alternative outlets. Meanwhile, however, over at ebay, the debate about scalping continued. This is my favourite comment from someone called Easyfox.

MY WIFE & DAUGHTER SENT ABOUT 12 TEXT AND WERE LUCKY TO GET A PAIR OF
TICKETS EACH. THEN HAD TO PAY FOR THEM TO BE POSTED. NOW WE FIND OUT THAT 15000
'GOLDEN CIRCLE' TICKETS HAVE BEEN SOLD AT 400 QUID EACH TO CORPORATIONS. HAVING
NOW FOUND THEY HAVE NO CHANCE TO GET CLOSE TO THE STAGE THEY WISH TO SELL THE
TICKETS...NOT ONLY HAVE THEY PAID FOR THEM BUT THEY WERE NOT TOLD ABOUT THE
15000 PEOPLE STAKED OUT IN FRONT. ITS A BIT RICH BOBBY BOY MOANING ABOUT SELLING
TICKETS WHEN HE HAS! E-BAY HAS BOTTLED IT BIG TIME. THIS IS AN AUCTION SITE
SUPPLY AND DEMAND. IM JUST SOMEONE WHO HAS TICKETS WE MAY NOT USE. THEY MAY JUST
GO IN THE BIN AS I CANT CONTACT BUYERS






1612, Ziad, via text
Watching on TV from Kuwait. Coldplay and Richard Ashcroft brought tears to my eyes!


The net, however, reveals that Live8 was primarily about the gig coverage for people who wanted to watch the music. MTV, in a shocking turn of events, was useless (shocking, absolutely shocking) and so old rock fans had to download their Deep Purple sets. But there's nothing wrong with that, and I only point it out because there's a real absence of dialogue from anyone about what it is that Live8 will achieve, what the problems are for the poor nations, and how it impacts on them in their daily.

Live8 is just an entertainment.

2209, Ian Youngs, BBC News, Hyde Park
A message is being flashed up saying the show will finish after 2300 - more than hour and a half late. People are being urged to leave early.




Comments

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mevennen
Jul. 3rd, 2005 09:13 am (UTC)
I saw very little of the concert apart from Roger Waters swallowing 24 years of rage and performing with Pink Floyd.

I'm seriously impressed that they managed to organise this global series of concerts. And now - we'll see what happens outside Gleneagles. A woman I met at Sheffield Uni the other day told me that there have already been protests in that city and one of her colleagues was beaten up by the police. I would rather not have a reprise of Genoa in this country, but it may well happen. I will be demonstrating myself down here next week: all these bastards will listen to is pressure from voters (and in the case of the million strong anti-war march, not even that). Blair may want to redeem himself in the face of growing public fury over Iraq. As I say, we'll see.
benpeek
Jul. 3rd, 2005 09:47 am (UTC)
i really do hope something good comes out of it. i do.

but the bits i heard, with people talking about lifting trade things and abolishing debt, while something i agree with, isn't seen by world leaders as being a simple thing. in addition, those issues are part of larger concerns created in capitalist countries, which then opens the doors for a whole heap of other issues. so while the idea and pressure is good, i just think it's too simplistic, and in the end... not much.

but the scale of it is impressive. shame it didn't happen a few years ago before iraq.
mevennen
Jul. 3rd, 2005 11:42 am (UTC)
The trouble is that the nature of contemporary Western capitalism is tied up with G8 shafting the poorer nations, so not much of the Live 8 is in their interests or those of the business groups who support them. I'm gobsmacked that the US has grudgingly admitted that emissions might have something to do with global warming. I didn't think we'd get that far.
britzkrieg
Jul. 3rd, 2005 01:47 pm (UTC)
I'm gobsmacked that the US has grudgingly admitted that emissions might have something to do with global warming.

When did that happen? How did I miss that?

I think Fox News still characterizes the emissions-warming link as "junk science." That's a damn lie, but it's a lie that a lot of people are reading.
britzkrieg
Jul. 3rd, 2005 02:02 pm (UTC)
For the record, I am an American, a capitalist, and a U2 fan. And I've been too distracted by developments in my own country to educate myself about the plight of Africa. It wasn't for any of these reasons, though, that I found myself completely uninterested in Live 8. In fact... well, it's always hard to explain why something does not interest you.

Anyway, I think that Live 8 was successful in drawing more attention to Africa's problems. If it raises any money at all, though -- I'm sure it'll cost a lot just to break even -- it won't be enough to make a dent in Africa's misery.

Debt relief sounds like a good idea to me, given what I know about it. However, I'm a little miffed by the accusations of selfishness aimed at us "rich" countries. Some people believe that if we throw enough money at Africa, all its major problems will be solved. I do not believe this is the case. Tribal tensions and backward traditions are deeply ingrained, and these could interfere with any Western attempts to alleviate poverty.

How can we "rich people" be sure that our money will get to those who need it most? How do we know that tyrants and paramilitary organizations won't seize all of our aid, even if it's in the form of raw foodstuffs? I don't think we are out-of-line to ask that our contributions be used efficiently, and for their intended purposes. That's why some of us see political and social change as a prerequisite. We want our money to feed people, not pay for the king's new mansion.
benpeek
Jul. 3rd, 2005 02:13 pm (UTC)
i'm not hugely educated on the ins and outs of africa. i can get by, but i'm not an expert.

live8, however, wasn't about raising money to solve the african nation debt. it was about forcing world leaders at the g8 summit to make it easier for those nations to advance, but it didn't, as you point out, address any of the problems existing within the nation with unstable governments, and indeed, didn't address the problem of what happens when a country, like america, is forced to restrict its own trade so that the poor nations may grow and develope a strong economy based of their own products. (one of the complaints from musicians, rightly, was that poor nations have bad trade agreements, so larger countries, such as america, ship their rice or grain into those countries, thus under cutting the local market and rendering it weak.) so on the surface you have this good idea... but in the end, someone like bush is forced to look at how this will impact on his own country first, or so i would imagine.

but yeah, i agree on the aid agencies. i saw a thing recently on the tsunami, which generated this huge amount of aid down here. they reckon only about eight or ten percent of it has reached the people, so far. the rest of it is caught up elsewhere.
britzkrieg
Jul. 3rd, 2005 02:24 pm (UTC)
Thanks for responding to my ramblings, dude. It's early on my side of the planet, and I'm insufficiently caffeinated.

I don't have much to add...

i saw a thing recently on the tsunami, which generated this huge amount of aid down here. they reckon only about eight or ten percent of it has reached the people, so far. the rest of it is caught up elsewhere.

I saw the headline somewhere, but I couldn't muster the stomach to read the article.

I know that early on, logistics alone prevented aid from reaching those who needed it. Roads and bridges were washed out. Now, though, there's no excuse, is there?
tikiwanderer
Jul. 3rd, 2005 09:08 pm (UTC)
I'm always wary of such headlines. They may be right, they may not be, but they're one of those ideas that when spoken once people will tend to believe is true because it matches so closely what they expect. Hear it once, and it becomes global truth because "everyone knows that's how it happens". Me, I wonder why it is that (it seems) so many people have this desire to prove that the people they've given their money to weren't worth helping, to use an act of giving to fuel this incredible anger and rage at others.

As a sideline on the tsunami, there are two Sri Lankan science teachers in Melbourne today for CONASTA 54, the Australian Science Teachers' Association national conference. Their main aim is to pick up teaching techniques and classroom management techniques and a whole bunch of other non-physical resources to take back, to help their schools and others get education kick-started again. The face of teaching has changed radically there since the tsunami and they're hoping our teachers can give them help. That's help that won't get sidetracked into anyone else's pockets.
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