[you've read it; you can't unread it]

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Band Aid: Wrong

It will not have escaped your notice that a new version of "feed the world" has been produced, twenty years after the original (15 years after the second version, in which Matt Goss sang the famous "tonight, thank god it's them instead of you" line) to aid the people of the Darfur region of Sudan. This raises three questions in my mind; why? why? why?

Why record a new version of this song?
I do not ask this, as some have, with the subtext that the original was such a timeless classic of the pop genre that it should on no account be meddled with, but with the emphasis on this. It is, and feel free to argue about this, shit. The melody is inoffensive enough; simple and easy to croon along to in your car, but the lyrics are so blood chillingly knobish that they would make Nicky Wire himself weep with shame. This state of affairs is not improved upon in the new version. The lyrics remain largely unchanged, despite the fact that they have little relevance to the situation in Sudan (famine amongst mainly christian Ethiopians then, genocide of mainly muslim Sudanese now), and a rap has been added which includes the line "Spare a thought this yuletide for the deprived. If the table was turned would you survive". There's only one word for that: total garbage.

The production on the original was as you might expect for a pop record made in 1984; thin synth' sounds and booming, stadium-rock style drums. The new version is what you might expect if you were trying not to offend anyone in 2004. Generic rock ballad piano intro no.23, some tastefull bowed guitar for some off the shelf, "it's not all bad" credibility with the Snow Patrol buying public etc. etc. etc. The "everyman for himself" style massed ending is kept, this time with teenage croaker Joss Stone wailing like a japanese fisherman over the top.

Why these pop-stars?
Travis, the twat Williams, Bono, Will Young, Dido (who, as Beth Pearson of The Herald wrote, sings with the "apparent belief that being dumped and having sympathy for extreme poverty call for the same style of vocal"), Busted, Jamelia, The Sugababes etc. It can be no suprise that a bland paste of a record is the final outcome.

Why record a charity single?
Most of these pop stars know fuck-all about the crisis in Sudan, and cared even less before their agents told them it could forward their careers. I saw Busted being interviewed outside the studio, "Yeah, it's really bad. We read a pamphlet in the car on the way here, it's not good.". What! You read a pamphlet! Idiotic, cynical, Tory scum.

And what use is this record going to do anyone in the Darfur region of Sudan? Tajudeen Abdulraheem, director of Justice For Africa, has said, "The fact that Band Aid has been relaunched is proof that the situation may not have improved. It's an indictment both of African leaders and global leaders. If this is all we can do, in 20 years there will be another Band Aid. That line 'Tonight thank God it's them, instead of you', 20 years ago, I had a problem with that sentence. What it means, in effect, is a whole celebration of 'aren't we lucky?' "

Paul Hetherington of Save the Children said, "What we need now is not so much a Band Aid as a bandwagon that's going to roll through to the G8 and bring about real change for Africa. There have been a lot of changes, but what people need to be aware of is we've put a lot of money into emergency relief and sticking plasters, if you like, but not a great deal of money has gone into development work and aid. That's what's needed. If money had gone into development aid over the past 20 years we probably wouldn't be needing Band Aids anymore because we wouldn't be getting these disasters.".

Perhaps what is more important to consider is that the current situation has been brought about by government backed arab Janjaweed militias and government troops attempting to rid the region of black africans. It is now estimated that more than 70,000 people have died in Darfur and massacres are still going on. Sudan's government insists that the killings are the result of tribal chaos in the region. However, African Union observers in Darfur say the government has been arming and directing the Janjaweed militia. Amnesty International has produced evidnece that Belarus, Russia, China, Poland, France, Iran and Saudi Arabia have all supplied the Sudanese government with arms. Merry Christmas.

On a seperate point, the line in the original song, "do they know it's christmas time at all?" was a rather misguided sentiment. If you had asked an Ethiopian if they knew it was christmas time on 25th December, 1984, they would have replied; "what, it isn't 'christmas time' for another twelve days yet, dickhead!", as christians in Ethiopia celebrate christmas on 7th January.
November 17th: More than just a Wednesday

In Greece, on November 17th 1973, a student uprising at Athens' Polytechnic University was brutally suppressed by the military government which had seized power. The government of the "Colonels" was backed by the United States as part of a Cold War strategy to reduce the influence of communism in the region. For information on the current efforts of "George Bush and his international gang of bastards" to dismay the Greeks, visit
Greg's blog.

November 17th is, for the above reason, the name taken by a home-grown Greek terrorist group originally formed to destabilize the government of the Colonels. Though the Colonels are long out of power, the group itself still exists and has been responsible for several bombings and the assassination of a British military attaché in 2000.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Pop Music: Incomprehensibly witless

Why is there such a thing as McFly?

Monday, November 15, 2004

The Junction, where we were last night, has a tiny serving hatch in the wall which is occupied by a miniature branch of the Cambridge Crepe Company. I have rarely seen anyone so outraged/crestfallen as Jo was when he found out that they were out of batter and no crepe could be purchased.
"Holes, dug by little moles"

Mercury Rev were, as expected, top action. The old stuff is reinvented live as a swirling hurricane of noise and melody, and the new stuff sounds enormously promising. We were even treated to a stripped down rendition of the classic Flaming Lips number "There you are". It was so good that my little blond accomplice fainted twice before they even took to the stage. So, in summary, wallop.

Friday, November 12, 2004

We're going to see Mercury Rev on sunday. Excitement she wrote! I was always amused when my former house mate Jean "it was almost as good as pretty woman!" Harris refered to gigs as going to see bands "in concert". Something about that just sounds odd.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

C-Mac has an idea that all products with woefull T.V. advertising should be boycotted. Nominate among current commercials?

Wednesday, November 10, 2004


"He's fouled him!"
Such were the half-witted, mongrel cries of a small and weaselly gaggle of chav scum on the touchline of our game against Milton on Sunday. The reason: I had, having deflected a header from a striker dashing onto a long cross at the edge of my penalty box, collided with him. He, being stoat like in appearance, had been sent sprawling by the impact. His verminesque friends looking on began their odious chorus as I set off to collect the loose ball. Imagine my delight when I hear a feeble whistle from behind me and turn to see the referee, some 50 yards away, waddling towards my goal, pointing theatrically to the spot. After some initial confusion and a lot of camp striding, the ref arrives in the penalty area.
"You did well to spot that from 50 yards away, ref." I spat.
"I've got good eyesight!" lisped the overweight dog-worrier then, realising that I wasn't complementing him but giving him what pundits to refer to as 'the verbals', he adopted a stern expression, presumably in an attempt to render his next sentence a warning, and said, "I've also got good hearsight.".
"Breaking rocks in the hot sun...."

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Here, for no good reason, are some funny band names. All are real bands, most are stolen from The Wire.

Gaggle of Cocks
Hymen Holocaust
Dean Dean & the Sex Machines
Bondage Fruit
Asshole Blues Players
Super Nudist
Contagious Orgasm
The Most Sordid Pies
Ape has Killed Ape
Fuck You Yankee Bluejeans
Her Majesty's Secret Cervix
Stinky Fire Engine
Boris the Sprinkler
Bump of Chicken
New Faggot Cunts
Future Sperm Brazil
Lesbian Dopeheads on Mopeds
Head of David
12ft Forehead
The Fabulous Shitheads
Clothes Line Revival
Mansfield Deathtrap re-recordings
Pedestrian Deposit
Priest in Shit
I am Spoonbender
Lubricated Goat
Neon Hunk
Pittsburgh Loves War
Bread in Captivity
Joan of Arse
Smacked Arse O'Reardon
Party of Helicopters
Swallowing Shit
Prostitute Disfigurement
Man vs. Tiger
Gay Barbarians

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