Band Aid 30 and Live Earth

It’s extremely late, but still compulsory for the first post of 2015: Happy New Year.

Before getting on to the crucial reviews of last year’s music, books and television, as is now blog tradition (albeit for January rather than February), two recent (-ish) news stories provided an opportunity to rehash the following, the bulk of which, even more shamefully, was meant for December but I like to think is now a most welcome gloomy distraction from all that is hideously pink around Valentine’s Day.

(That’s right, I’m still killing time, filling the white space, waiting for the cue to share exciting news about David’s plans for the year ahead. It’s coming, fear not, but you’ll have to bear with me a little longer because I can say no more at this point.)

The first story of interest was that the first grants from proceeds of the sale of the Band Aid 30 single, totalling some £2 million, have been distributed to charities working on the ground in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to manage Ebola.

The second, I’ll come to later.

Ebola hasn’t been in the headlines as much lately, and I wonder how much the famine that is bound to follow will feature in our news reports now that terrorists have taken centre stage once more. Food prices have risen dramatically across West Africa. A bag of rice, for example, now costs 30 per cent more than it did before the outbreak.

The latest version of ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’ marked the 30th anniversary of the classic tune, originally released to raise money for famine relief in Ethiopia in 1984, its lyrics altered slightly to apply instead to the threat of Ebola in West Africa.

What did you think of it?

The ‘There won’t be snow in Africa’ line always annoyed me, considering Morocco’s fairly high annual snowfall and ski resorts in the stunning High Atlas Mountains, Africa’s largest mountain range, so I’m glad that was cut, but I thought it a shame that Bono’s famous ‘Well, tonight thank God it’s them instead of you,’ which he sang so perfectly, has been replaced with a much tamer ‘Well, tonight we’re reaching out and touching you.’ Nothing could be as hard-hitting as the original and let’s not pretend that we aren’t glad that this horrible affliction, the deadliest occurrence since the discovery of Ebola in 1976, is ravaging someone else’s family, someone else’s community, many miles away – but still just a flight away, lest we forget – from our own.

Whatever the lyrical tweaks, I know some are angered by the increasing emotionalism of preaching celebrities, but in our celebrity-obsessed culture, it’s what we do. (And we’re doing it again this summer, by the looks of it, with another Live Earth concert extravaganza. That was the second story. More on this later.)

I know some would prefer to give directly to charities working on the ground, to local charities, volunteer-driven, without the overblown bureaucracy and high chief executive salaries. Some think it best not to give at all, such is the corruption and incompetence of African governments, we are told. For all the refuting of myths about foreign aid, few can plausibly defend the general mismanagement of African aid and how, in allowing it, we have failed the world’s poorest.

The initial reaction to the single was typical, with lots of reminders that ‘charity begins at home’ and resentment at sanctimonious, quite possibly tax-avoiding musicians urging generosity at times of austerity when they could, perhaps should, be the first to open their considerably heavier wallets. It brought out the nastiness in people, as every telethon or fresh charity appeal tends to do.

But I say, thank goodness there is a sense of moral commitment, otherwise we’d never help anyone. If it makes a difference to someone, somewhere, it doesn’t ultimately matter if we give out of pity, out of shame (about our comparative wealth; because of colonial theft and exploitation; because other people are giving so we have to be seen to be giving, too; because an Ebola outbreak was first reported in March 2014, yet it took western deaths months later for us to really club together to find a cure), to make us feel better about ourselves and our grubby lives if for only a fleeting moment, or out of panic, as if enough of us giving whatever we can afford with great urgency will somehow magically keep Ebola away from us.

We all can see the egotism and self-indulgence of celebrities in this project, but let’s look away, because Bob Geldof announced that more than £1 million had been raised in pre-orders alone within five minutes of the song being premiered on vulgar popular music talent show The X Factor the night before it was available for download. And although it did not claim the coveted UK Christmas Number One spot, with a French as well as German version this time, that money will help a great many people who, still, in 2015, need the things so many others take for granted.

I honestly don’t know who half of the people singing on it are, few of them were even born in 1984, but I don’t really care. It’s for young people to buy, for they are the ones doing most of the downloading, and their parents to be cajoled into buying on CD. A collaborative hit single from the most profitable acts of the moment is always a good way of raising a lot of money very quickly. I still believe in the power of a song to raise money, first and foremost, and then to increase awareness and change perceptions, all of which are necessary to help stop the terrifying spread of Ebola.

It’s just so easy to criticise.

It is true that all four of the English language versions since 1984 have featured mainly white faces from the First World, but that’s what sells to teenage girls with posters of pretty boys on their bedroom walls.

To be fair, I doubt that it takes all that much in the pampered life of a teen star to turn up at a studio to sing a line or two, knowing they stand to gain much from the experience, but we shouldn’t assume that those involved haven’t donated privately – their time as well as money. I noted that Ellie Goulding, who sings on the record, had planned to spend Christmas Eve volunteering at a homeless shelter – and not for the first time. How many of the noisiest critics did the same? Not many, I expect. (Besides, anyone who says that, if they could buy any property in London, they would buy Buckingham Palace and turn it into a house for people living on the streets is alright in my book.)

Of course, that is not to forget nor detract from the likes of William Pooley, the British nurse who contracted the disease while working in Sierra Leone and, since recovering, has bravely returned to continue his work there, who said of local medical staff: “The big problem at the moment is they haven’t been paid for months, which sounds bad enough to English ears, but in Sierra Leone if you’re not getting paid, then you’re facing starvation. But they’re still coming to work.”

He also said of the song: “It’s Africa, not another planet. That sort of cultural ignorance is a bit cringeworthy. There’s a lyric about ‘death in every tear’. It’s a bit much.”

Bob Geldof’s priceless response: “It’s a pop song, it’s not a doctoral thesis. They can f*ck off.”

Yes, the song probably does reinforce negative stereotypes of Africa for another generation, but is it better to do nothing and pretend it isn’t happening? The popular conception of Africa isn’t pretty, preferring to focus on poverty and pestilence, massacres, genocide, and unimaginable suffering that puts our own petty woes into perspective, but if it’s the fault of some well-meaning musicians, rather than our news broadcasters, that much of what we see from Africa is terribly sad, we should be asking questions of the media. Maybe we should be criticising our schools’ geography teachers, too, for not equipping a generation with the knowledge to shoot down such accusations of “cultural ignorance” with a similarly offended retort of: ‘But, actually, everybody knows that Africa is a vast, divergent continent made up of 54 countries, and only four of these have been affected by Ebola, so please don’t insult our intelligence.’

Then there’s the whole controversy around Christmas becoming increasingly secular, when political correctness dictates we should lump all end-of-year religious observances into one giant, inoffensive ‘Happy Holidays’ instead, so as not to upset anybody. I don’t personally mind all that much if certain groups attempt to take the Christ out of Christmas, as much as we all enjoy the story of Jesus being born in a cattle shed, especially when our children get to dress up and look adorable. Maybe they could remove some of the commercialisation and over-consumption while they’re at it. But if we remember the true meaning of Christmas and what we consider to be ‘Christian’ principles of kindness and generosity, it’s all about being nice to others and giving what you can to those who have less.

Those most at risk of contracting the Ebola virus, being Muslim, wouldn’t have cared too much about it being Christmas although I expect they all knew that it was. Muslims do celebrate Jesus, the Prophet Isa, and his mother, Mary. Both religions agree on Jesus’ birth, if not death.

So I’m really not bothered that they – we – ‘let them know it’s Christmastime,’ that we care and would like to help in some small way, as uncomfortable as we may feel about being patronising outsiders interfering in their countries’ affairs after so much rape and pillage by our ancestors, and all too aware of the continuing exploitation of their lands’ mineral resources, because it’s the right thing to do and infinitely better than doing nothing. I’m just sorry that we didn’t care a bit more before some white do-gooders got sick and we all started to panic that they’d infect our cities upon their return and kill us all.

Frankly, even Christians have forgotten why this time of year was so important long before any son of God – or not, it’s fine, I don’t mind – was born in a manger. Consider the misery of hunger, of starvation, during the darkness and bitter cold of winter, where the weakest perish and crops are far less plentiful, which teach us the importance of fellowship and serve as a stark reminder of our fragility – then as now.

The Christmas just celebrated, or not, could turn out to be anybody’s last. We should all count our blessings and might pause to reflect that death is final and devastating no matter who you are or what you possess. So, if it’s not too late for a resolution, knowing that most of January’s have usually been abandoned by February: let’s vow to hold our loved ones nearer, to call them more often, to be there for them when they need us, to remember that we’re all getting older and weaker and won’t be around for ever. And not to be so bloody judgemental when someone wants to do something to help another.

I’m even going to vow to stop wondering why Cuba, an island nation with a population of 11 million people, with a GDP of $6,051 per capita, once again led the humanitarian effort and provided the largest number of healthcare workers in the fight against Ebola. Their doctors, nurses and surgeons were in West Africa while the US and UK were providing military troops, promising aid and considered sending in remote-controlled robots, which just seems to me like showing off. If only Western governments were as fearful of going into war zones.

Anyway, this Live Earth.

There will be more concerts, in June, to get people het up about climate change in preparation for the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris at the end of the year.

I was somewhat embarrassed about this even before reading the following claptrap from Pharrell Williams, Live Earth’s ‘creative director’, that had me reaching for a bucket to vomit into: “Instead of just having people perform, we literally are going to have humanity harmonise all at once.” He’s just so flipping ‘Happy’ these days, that one, isn’t he? Harmonise all at once? Do me a favour.

Over 100 artists will perform across seven continents, apparently, with concerts in New York, Paris, Australia, Brazil, China and South Africa.

Of course, the carbon footprint will be ABSOLUTELY MASSIVE and there won’t be lots of money generated, to give away as grants to those suffering most, to make that OK. How can anyone justify it?

The global television, radio and online audience is expected to be in the region of two billion, which sounds great, but so what? It’s not going to raise lots of money.

The original Live Earth took place in July 2007 and was broadcast to over 130 countries which included a then-record online audience of more than eight million viewers. Although I’m sure it made some people more aware of the very real threat of climate change, inspiring just as past events have similarly inspired – and this survey from The Yale Project on Climate Change Communication, to assess the impact of Live Earth on American public opinion, is very interesting – it didn’t make lots of money (for the wider good, I mean. I’m sure it made loads of money for hypocritical corporate sponsors, to enable them to trash another patch of land somewhere else once they’d stopped pretending to care about the planet and promising not to waste its finite resources on yet more silly vanity projects.)

This unique television event was something of a flop in the UK, and what makes me even more miserable is that one reason for the poor viewing figures (the others were that the weather was nice that day and live tennis from Wimbledon was on another channel) was that ‘it came just six days after the Concert for Diana, which had attracted a TV audience three times larger.’ That says everything you need to know about the British. More people cared that a fickle princess had died, albeit in tragic circumstances, and wanted to join in the synchronised mass mourning, than they cared about the world being, for want of a better word, f*cked.

There goes another resolution, again…

I remember the assurances that the power for the Live Earth concerts would be supplied by green sources and the food produced locally. Sydney’s Aussie Stadium, for one, would run on 100 per cent renewable energy and each Australian Live Earth ticket would come with a free public transport voucher, while all the bathrooms would be waterless and all the waste would be composted into fertiliser. It turned out that London’s Wembley Stadium had the capacity to recycle only around a third of waste produced.

So now that the aim is raising consciousness rather than money (what, by encouraging people to travel a long way to be at a stadium and drink out of plastic cups?), that basically amounts to a hell of a lot of carbon offsetting, not least to cover the flights of those performing (it makes you wonder whether there will be more or fewer musicians and crew flying in for Live Earth than delegates and flunkies flying to Paris for climate talks), while the rest of us make a pledge, wear a wristband and enjoy the entertainment with assorted drinks and nibbles.

I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather see these concerts scrapped and governments stop their pathetic dithering, fobbing us all off with promises and insufficient targets set as low as they can haggle them down, and finally get tough – by kicking out all the dangerous corporate lobbyists representing carbon-intensive industries and the climate change deniers in their pay, who have for so long hindered effective action on climate; by promising to stop banging on about economic growth when that’s the trouble; and by admitting that the elephant in the room is that there are too many of us for the Earth to sustain, so it’s high time we shake up the tax laws to bring in financial and banking reforms, social reforms to encourage us to have fewer children and live more modestly, discourage our catastrophic mass consumption, ban this, ban that, and finally prove that we really do care about our planet and the spectacular species on land and sea that we are driving into extinction before it’s too late. Bring on the public shaming, too (go, Seattle!). Many people have been saying this confidently for thirty-odd years, for goodness sake, yet we are still waiting for the gutless movers and shakers to agree on a weak plan of action. It’s nothing less than an absolute disgrace.

Obviously I’ll be watching the Live Earth concerts on a larger-than-necessary TV. How about you?

Author: FEd

Features Editor of David Gilmour's official blog, The Blog ('Features' previously being its rather naff title), affectionately - or lazily - shortened to 'FEd'.

36 thoughts on “Band Aid 30 and Live Earth”

  1. Happy new year all, hope all is well.

    I wasn’t a fan of the Xmas release, but am in favour of the concert. Just hope it’s worth it.

    Happy Days,
    Simon J

  2. Welcome back FEd, what a post and what can I say …

    I won’t be seeing the concert(s), as I didn’t buy the record, because I can get rid of the feeiling that it would be a mistake. All that actions do not have any durable substance and help mostly the wrong ones, IMHO. I’d rather see the people of the first world pay their taxes and their goverments support the second and third worlds (you wrote there’s only one planet, but we have at least 3 worlds), but that won’t happen. So maybe, I should do the same as you, buy a new trillion inches colour TV and get comfortably numb?

    Taki

    1. 😉 Don’t forget the beer. I haven’t yet decided which country it will come from, but it probably won’t be local.

  3. Hi Fed / all…….

    Hope the year ahead is good. With reference to the part of your above post where you are waiting for the cue to divulge David’s plans…….. Well, you may remember last year I offered to drive down south, pick David up – should he be up for it – and bring him to Coventry so that he could play our Godiva festival.

    Well, sadly due to cutbacks it looks as though our festival could be cancelled. However we do have some fine venues up here in the Midlands. We have the Assembly in nearby Leamington Spa, the Symphony Hall and the Town Hall in Birmingham. Of course the Town Hall was frequented several times by Pink Floyd but the place has now been refurbished. The offer of a lift up here and a place to ‘crash’ for the night still applies. Ash did say that she would help to navigate, carry cases etc. so all is good. With tongue in cheek I await the call.

    But in all seriousness I, and I guess everyone on here, awaits the release date of the album with baited breath.

    Cheers!!

  4. Hi FEd and all,

    Well I totally agree with Geldof’s view about the 2007 concerts. Al Gore had missed the point, they’re only shows and I’ve seen no message from the stage the last time (apart the ‘classic’ ones), and I think the ‘creative director’ (!) is in it only for the money. A lot of money. Poor Earth.

  5. “the year ahead.”

    Are you talking about 2015 or 2016? Some not-native speakers are confused, and even some native speakers read it as “2016”.

  6. FEd, so nice of you to give us time to reflect upon events at home and worldwide. I admire your penmanship wholeheartedly, if I could I’d present you with a Nobel Peace Prize, you would spend it wisely and graciously. TY.

    Since it is Feb 14th overseas now I’d like to send Happy Birthday to Rudders, who once called me as “mad as a bucket of frogs”. It was an honour Roofer!

    1. I’m not your friend anymore Rudders. . . you never send me a card and you never say thank you for the ones I’ve sent you on past valent. . . I mean, birthdays!

      In a huff…

  7. Well Fed, now that I have (hopefully) completed plugging Houndini’s escape routes I am in need of a new long term project, so I shall see if I can add anything.

    The Band Aid single, I confess I haven’t heard. It seems to me that each new generation is quite entitled to use the umbrella (subject no doubt to Sir Bob’s permission – somehow Midge’s seems less relevant) for a worthy cause. Personally I will always associate Band Aid with Bananarama in leggings and Status Quo doing some gear behind the bikesheds.

    I think getting the words right (i.e. pleasing everybody) is a thankless task and misses the point somewhat. This is, as Bob would no doubt remind us, a gesture from a bunch of effing pop stars, and should ideally not be over analysed. Given the simple choice between them doing it, raising some cash and awareness, and then doing nothing, I think it’s a no-brainer. (By the way I find that a rather inelegant phrase and wish I hadn’t used it.)

    I’m generally rather in favour of secularising Christmas to keep it away from those rather misguided religious types, who after all adopted perfectly satisfactory pagan festivities in the first place. Frankly the whole manger, wise men, Virgin pregnancy (whatever you say Mary, but I saw that look in Joseph’s eye), angelic heraldry, comet following camel-riding immigrant business has about as much familiarity with reality as Starbucks transfer pricing policy and I’m much more comfortable with Coca Cola’s Santa, a tin of Quality Street and a bit of good old fashioned humanist goodwill to all men at the Winter solstice.

    The whole ‘Live Earth’ business leaves me a bit cold. I have a bee in my bonnet about trying to co-opt the Earth into concerns about making life uncomfortable for humans. The Earth will be very much alive whatever mess we make of it. Believe me, it’s seen far worse over the last 4 billion years or whatever. You couldn’t tread anywhere in Texas without going up to your neck in dinosaur shit back in the day – and Texas was at the time somewhere near Bermuda due to Continental drift, so we need a little perspective. We are but a rather unpleasant, viral, almost certainly short-lived phenomena that happens to have developed an opposing thumb and a tendency for abstract thought but once we’ve dreamt up a suitably apocalyptic ending for ourselves and the Planet has been through a suitable 100 million year detox programme I can promise that you won’t even see a stain. Now call me a bit of an Eeyore, but actually there’s a sort of hopefulness about that, don’t you think?

    In the meantime we can get back to the business of speculating about all the time you spent in January proof reading the album liner notes and laying down some spoons on the special bonus track on the new album. I’m sure you’ll let us know in your own good time …

  8. Sometimes just looking at the landscape can give you an idea of the upheavals that once shaped our lands. Without the upheavals, there would be no land for anyone to live on. When a seething mass of molten rock rises out of a boiling sea, within a few decades it’s a thriving jungle island with its own ecology.

    Life will always go on. 🙂

    1. Here’s a little fact I discovered: continents move at about the same rate your nails grow! (Google it, there are some good pages.)

      It kind of puts into perspective how big the planet is and time scales involved.

      ash

  9. That’s right, I’m still killing time, filling the white space, waiting for the cue to share exciting news about David’s plans for the year ahead. It’s coming, fear not, but you’ll have to bear with me a little longer because I can say no more at this point.

    Reassuring news there FEd.

    The implication being that plans seem to be progressing along nicely and are hopefully at a fairly advanced stage for the impending release of David’s new album and his ‘Old Man’s Tour’.

    Well, we can but dream.

    Thanks again for kicking off the year with your in depth reiteration (I sadly sense a distinctly strong feeling of deja vu) on the chosen emotional subject matter.

    It is a perplexing situation which we continue to find ourselves in and if you don’t mind me saying, my personal interpretation of your observations are that I get the distinct impression that our societies leaders seems to have become even more ambivalent to the events which you refer to, paying lip service to unfolding events in a feeble attempt to be seen to be doing the right thing, whilst increasingly all of the time, it appears to be about self preservation and seeking to placate the masses protect themselves and their corporate paymasters.

    But hey, what do I know? I’m just a cynical old git who’s quickly approaching the age that David was when he released OAI.

    Would you object too much FEd, if I upgraded to a 55 incher? I’m assured it’s guaranteed to be more efficient and uses a lot less energy than my 10 year old LCD.

    ‘What is the half-life of a colour TV?’

  10. Wow Fed. It may be into February but you have provided money’s worth!

    Short and sweet. It is very commendable for people to freely give money for needy people abroad (Africa). But there is a need closer to home. There are genuinely needy people in this country. Can we get that right first please?

  11. I will not be joining in on the frenzy of overblown celebrity entreaties. As I grow older, I find my patience level for bulls–t diminishing. But, when I go to my appointment at the Veterans Hospital, I will stop at the cafeteria and leave my usual dollar or two with the cashier for any veteran who may be a little short on cash. Do what you can quietly with what you have.

    My philosophy is simple…live the best life you can and be aware of the ripples your actions spread.

  12. The speed at which our various governments effect change seems to be slower than the speed at which the continents move. I like that celebrities keep these sorts of issues alive and more than that, bring the issues to the notice of a new generation.

    Yeah, I’m fed up hearing it, same as most people my generation.

    I find it difficult to be concise and haven’t fully formulated my thoughts, so bear with me here. 😀

    It seems to me that the planet will survive.

    People will wipe themselves out eventually if we don’t sort our problems out.

    Our activities are causing changes to the climate and areas suitable for habitation causing migration of people. There are wars, there will be more wars over resources, which in turn will cause more migration. This in turn will cause social unrest then civil war and so a positive feedback situation comes about.

    Climate change and overuse of fossil fuels are not the only causes of migration and wars. People simply searching for a better way of life are migrating and why shouldn’t they?

    Wind turbines have been turned off sometimes because the national grid couldn’t cope with the amount of electricity generated. (I think nuclear is the ideal solution but recognise that safety is a very real problem, not because we don’t have the technology to keep it safe, but we don’t have the right political climate/s across the world.)

    Recent research has focused on developing ways of storing excess electricity.

    What we need now is campaigning to bring down the cost of solar panels, to further develop electric vehicles, to harness and store excess electricity so we can wean ourselves off fossil fuels. Good news:

    IKEA installs EV chargers at all of its UK stores
    Tesla to make battery for in-home use, production to begin in 6 months

    We also need a global support promise to every human being that they will be helped and supported when they fall on bad times or get old. This will be in exchange for limiting their family to only one child per person. This way no one needs to have plenty of children to look after them in old age, or has to have nine children to get enough in benefit payouts to support themselves.

    I know that sounds pretty radical. It could work though. If every human thought they’d be looked after no matter what. . . on the other hand. . . the instinct of every living thing is to reproduce like mad when conditions are good. So maybe that wouldn’t work after all.

    I am pleased about the developments to reduce our use of fossil fuels. Plastics next.

    ash

    1. We also need a global support promise to every human being that they will be helped and supported when they fall on bad times or get old. This will be in exchange for limiting their family to only one child per person. This way no one needs to have plenty of children to look after them in old age, or has to have nine children to get enough in benefit payouts to support themselves.

      I know that sounds pretty radical. It could work though. If every human thought they’d be looked after no matter what.

      Nothing wrong with “radical,” though, Ash. We want a massive change, don’t we?

      It’s been shown many times, and it’s no surprise, that women who are educated and emancipated in the Third World have fewer children. Eradicate their poverty and provide contraception and there’d be no need to suggest limits. It’s estimated that more than 200 million women in developing nations have an unmet need for contraception. Consider also all those women who die in childbirth or as a result of illegal, unsafe abortions.

      The First World, on the other hand… Well, I’m as radical as you are (or maybe not quite, because I’d probably suggest couples having no more than two children, to be fair).

    2. By coincidence Fed, I’ve just been reading an article about sex selection by parents who value male children more than female. The reason being that male children will provide for parents in old age. Female babies have been killed at birth in the past.

      By the 70s, testing such as amniocentesis was used to select females for abortion.

      Today villages that don’t even have clean drinking water, have access to ultrasound scanners!

      It has been estimated that millions of girls have been aborted so that now instead of there being 950 girls to every 1000 boys, the ratio has dropped to 835 girls to every 1000 boys. Apparently this society is experiencing more violence against women but the author also says this perceived increase, could be due to better reporting. It has also been reported that women are sold to become wives and treated as little more than slaves.

      The article finishes by saying further studies are needed into the effects of gender imbalance. The obvious thing to note in respect of this conversation is, less females equals fewer mothers. It has a nasty feel to it though, I think sex selection is wrong.

      Otherwise, contraception and (safe) abortion are good for limiting the size of one’s family.

      Another article in the same magazine, describes the recent vote in parliament to allow “three parent babies”. This is so that women who have faulty mitochondrial DNA can use the mDNA of a donor to avoid passing on genetic disorders.

      Some scientists are calling it scientific enlightenment among politicians.

      We already know about IVF treatments for people unable to conceive naturally. I’m inclined to think though, that nature doesn’t intend for some parents to succeed at breeding.

      Yes, I agree with you Fed, couples having no more than two children could mean what we value as a species would be more sustainable because some humans won’t breed, out of choice, some won’t be able to, so eventually human population will plateau then start to decline.

      Now I’m wondering about the practice of one male breeding with many females. Of course we see this in many animals. Genghis Khan appears to have done an awful lot of breeding. :))

      A small part of the article says:

      “Early in the last millennium, the population of the world was, speaking very roughly, 1/20 as large as it is today. Therefore, the average man alive then has 20 descendants alive today in his direct male line. In contrast, with about 16 million direct descendants, this one mega-ancestor was something like 800,000 times more successful than the average.”

      That’s mind boggling.

      ash

      1. It sure is staggering.

        Adoption needs to be made easier, too, but perhaps that’s another discussion for another time.

    3. I know I talk a load of rubbish sometimes. It doesn’t seem like rubbish at the time though.

      ash 🙁

  13. I wonder if ‘the creative genius behind Pink Floyd’ will be joining Live Earth’s creative director‘ in 2015 as he did in 2007… 😉 All those self-proclaimed ‘creative forces’, eh? Pompous and pretentious… sincere… or just ridiculous? What a joke!

    I wonder who will be performing in Antarctica (hi, Metallica, you, once again? 😉 ). In Antarctica, what an irony!

    I wonder if these major events will be targeted by extremists… the large crowds of people in attendance, what an opportunity for easy terrorist attacks…

    Hi, Pharrell, I used to like you and your funny hats, I hope you will – at least – make all ‘the good people’ feel ‘Happy’

    PS: Pharrell has only one son… good man! 😉

  14. Always reminded me of Xmas, not of hunger pain and misery. Even now it just reminds me of the 80s. But it did the trick and raised awareness at the time so hats off to Sir Bob.

    Damian.

    P.S. Saw a photo of David in the studio with Jools Holland. Bit of recording going on or practice…?

  15. I remember back in the early seventies when Harry Chapin would play concerts, he would split the money he made and would help to feed and clothe the poor.

    It’s great to see performers do this to help others.

    Take Care, Thomas

  16. August 1980, Earls Court. Very nice sunny afternoon. I was sat up against the wall of Earls Court – sorry, I know, corny joke thrown in. When music started up from within, it was the band having a bit of a practice, I’ll never forget that day. I was 16 and I’m sure you can guess my emotions were riding high, knowing I was finally going to get to see and hear this mystical, spiritual, very, very special band.

    Just thought I would share that wonderful memory with you all. And Fed, as you said, does David need to practice? But then again, was it the real band I could hear playing?

    Kind regards
    Damian

  17. Hey FEd and Bloggers~

    I believe that it is a positive when people do what they can to help one another and bring awareness to those less fortunate.

    So a group does a benefit concert, individuals leave money in the help jar at the VA, donate to charities that the money goes to the needy and not the administrators, give the disabled and elderly rides to their doctor appointments or on errands, help clean their homes or yards, donate time at homeless shelters/soup kitchens, just to do what we can to show we as humans care about each other may they be next door or across the sea, is what life is about.

    I like the in-put of fellow bloggers. Ash has many valid points as does Tim-c. I enjoy his views on the religious aspect. But it is an interesting thought of Jesus born in a manger and being a poor carpenter. A thought to ponder… Especially as people making decisions that only take care of their needs, even though it harms others or the planet, think they can buy their way to heaven by contributing to the offering plate at church.

    The planet is always evolving. I am sure it will shake the human race off as the fleas we are to it. We hurry our departure along. Although I hope to think some good people might be left. Hopefully not politicians.

    I do worry how human actions cause pain and suffering to the innocent. The west coast of the USA has warmer ocean waters. Mother seals have to leave their pups alone for longer periods of time as they seek the food they need further away, therefore causing their starvation at higher numbers than before. One of many species suffering. Sense Japan’s March 11th earthquake a few years ago, then the tidal wave that took out their nuclear power plant and the meltdown that followed (who decided that was good idea to build it there anyway???) the star fish in the NW have become melted blobs and are no more. The dairy cows had levels of radiation in their milk. What little snow pack the Cascade and Sierra mountain ranges were getting are now non existent causing severe water shortages for humans, farmers, and ranchers. It is happening quickly and it does not bode well for any creature on the planet. That alone would be a valid reason to not want to bring forth a large family.

    In the USA it can be a challenge to receive birth control. The religious groups are against the County Family Planning Clinics and want them shut down. They also protest about having birth control as part of an insurance plan. But they are usually the first to judge the downtrodden. A lot of churches only help poor so they can continue their tax free status. On the positive side the new Pope seems to genuinely care about the poor. I also like that he said church goers can not keep repeating their same sins and ask for forgiveness over and over again. And some people do find comfort with their religion. So long as they do not judge others.

    The only thing certain is change…

    You all take care, Suzy

  18. My previous blog dated the 22nd of February I stated about the March 11th meltdown and how the dairy cows registered levels of radiation in their milk following the incident and about the starfish. I just did not want anyone to think that I was implying that the weather upheavals on the West and East coast are related to that incident as global warming has been brewing for some time.

  19. About Ebola, sort of. . . I’m watching a programme on BBC4 at present, actually I’ve missed most of it and will try to see it on catch up TV. Anyway, the programme is called Pain, Pus and Poison. An instantly attractive sounding programme. :))

    The bit I came in at was about world vaccination against smallpox and the massive, massive success we have had in completely eradicating the disease. I googled it and found this:

    The Smallpox Eradication Programme – SEP (1966-1980)

    Extraordinary is the description. 🙂

    I was trying to paraphrase and simplify an article I read about our fight against Ebola, how near and how far we are from a vaccine, because of our success at treating and preventing the spread of it. I decided it was better to post a link to the article in New Scientist.

    Although in one way I dislike the harm that human activity appears to wreak upon the planet’s other animals I also marvel at how wonderful humans are, how clever we are, how creative, imaginative.

    ash 🙂

  20. Live Earth. I was actually in the stadium in NJ in July of 2007. I will be honest in that I only went for the music and only a few bands at that. And the take away was such a joke.

    Dave Matthews message for conservation was, if it’s yellow, let it mellow but if it’s brown, flush it down. Really?

    It also just had no solid ground, follow up or follow through. Once the show was over, it was over. You never heard anything else about the message and the message was contradictory. Like you said, the carbon footprint was not reduced by staging this concert.

    I can possibly get excited by the line up for the Live Earth concert but the message can be delivered better via other methods.

    Thanks.
    Andrew

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