In the second instalment of new column Cosmic Slop, Getintothis’ Shaun Ponsonby deplores this year’s token telethon rock concert, Live Earth.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of Live Aid, the seminal 1985 event that saw many of the world’s top stars put aside their differences to achieve one common goal, greater record sales, I mean, raising money for famine-stricken Ethiopia. I mean, greater record sales.
So, after the pointless Band Aid 30 version of Do They Know It’s Christmas? how is Sir Robert Frederick Zenon Geldof going to assert his self-importance to commemorate the 30th anniversary of his greatest achievement? He celebrated the 20th anniversary with Live 8, which successfully managed to wipe out third world debt in a parallel universe. Surely he can achieve similar success by wiping out Ebola?
But, no. Apparently he is uncharacteristically admitting defeat on that one. Luckily, somebody else is filling in the telethon gap in the market by stepping in to celebrate the…erm…8th anniversary of his…umm…largely forgotten huge global event.
Remember Live Earth? Me neither. But it definitely happened. My special edition of This Is Spinal Tap has their reunion performance from the event on it as proof.
Al Gore threw it together in 2007 to raise awareness about global warming (you know, that thing nobody knows anything about?), and was very Live 8-ish, with several stages all over the world. And, like Live 8, was rather ridiculous in its purpose.
Holding a huge worldwide rock concert across several continents to which audiences will flock from miles around and making a gimmick of artists’ private jet flights around the globe to solve climate change is quite possibly the most ridiculous idea since the Dumb and Dumber prequel. It’s like holding an AA meeting with an open bar.
In 2007, The Guardian reported that the total carbon footprint of the original Live Earth would have been at least 31,500 tonnes, which is 3,000 times more than the whole of Great Britain’s annual carbon footprint.
Furthermore, after playing an event that begged the planet to think more about carbon emissions, generic indie thingies Razorlight had their tour bus chauffeured by police escort to the airport, caught a private jet to Scotland, and then travelled by helicopter for their set at T in the Park.
But this time is going to be different, according to Gore’s top aide, Pharrell Williams. They’re taking a different approach as last time there were criticisms and ridicules from “pundits and comedians who didn’t understand global warming”. Yes, pundits and comedians… and Dr John Barrett from the Stockholm Environment Institute… and John Buckley of Carbonfootprint.com… and Dr Andrea Collins, sustainability expert from Cardiff University… you just don’t understand climate change in the deep, meaningful way that Pharrell does. I mean, you might talk the talk, but did any of you co-write Blurred Lines? I think not! Hang your heads in shame and do some fucking research, will you?
Last time around, the UK hosted a Live Earth stage at Wembley Stadium, but we are a conspicuous absence this time around. Perhaps the dismal viewing figures and shoddy broadcast we were subjected to last time has something to do with it. An average of just 900,000 people tuned in to the bulk of the event when the BBC decided they couldn’t be arsed with Metallica, Spinal Tap and the Beastie Boys, cutting them off mid-set yet insisting on an interminably long set by the Black Eyed Peas.
But at least it’s in conjunction with the United Nations. Because that’s what we want, isn’t it? Government-approved rock & roll! Yes, Sir! No sticking it to The Man for me!
Naturally, as much as I’m bitching about this now, I know I’m going to sit and watch the entire event when it is broadcast, and then sit on my own with the curtains closed so as not to risk being in natural light and bitch about it further to myself because everyone stopped answering my calls. And I have no doubt that Al Gore genuinely cares about global warming given how much time he has given to it, but surely getting Pharrell up to sing Happy isn’t going to change many people’s minds?
As Noel Gallagher drolly put it when asked about Live 8; “Are they hoping one of these guys from the G8 sees Annie Lennox singing Sweet Dreams and thinks, ‘Fuck me, she might have a point there, you know?”
Keith Richards met Justin Bieber in a bar. Highlights from Keef included; “Who the fuck are you?” and “let’s get one thing straight; you’re a wannabe”. There’s nothing anyone can add to that to make it better.
Neighbours Jimmy Page and Robbie Williams arguing over renovation to the latter’s home. Why is this not a reality show?