Live 8…was OK

I would love to say it was great so keeping the message that was endlessly played throughout yesterdays concert (Live 8. G8. Be great.) but it wasn’t. Like the original Live Aid no doubt in a few years time people will look back and say it was amazing but for me it’s all about what happens over the coming week. Already it looks like debt relief for the poorest nations has been secured and that aid will be doubled. The third key measure is fair trade. The amount of money the US and Europe (in particular) subsidise their local producers is amazing. They also force developing nations to open up their markets while at the same time ensuring their own are protected. This has to stop.

Key for me also is the government in Africa. Many countries which are poor also have a concentration of wealth and armies fighting over small strips of land which leads to questions of “why should I donate”. I’m not sure how this should be solved – I definitely don’t support the idea of regime change where the west takes over the running of some of the worst countries. Maybe a half way house is required where aid,debt relief and trade rules are introduced only if key UN advisor’s placed in each African country can see that the money is being used wisely and that the poor really are getting the help they need. But to think that all countries in Africa are like this is naive – I was surprised at the amount of calls that yesterday was an ego trip for most taking part and it will make no difference. Even if this turns out to be true and not one thing will change surely people have got to try in the hope that their efforts, particularly in Edinburgh, will make a difference.

Finally – concert highlights – Coldplay & Richard Ashcroft even though their timing was way off, Madonna proving she’s still got it even in her 60’s, Travis who actually got the whole crowding moving, The Killers who were robbed and got to play only one track, Velvet Revolver…rooooooooooock and Robbie – Come On!! Lowlights – Elton, Dido, Mariah Carey – fuck off with your mike stand requests and Pink Floyd – yawn. Over 60 and don’t we all know it.

All in all an OK concert – hopefully by Friday we can say it was great.

The Girl in the Café

I guess you could say the film The Girl in the Café is typical Richard Curtis – doddery english guy falling for lovely woman, and a woman way out of his league. All the usual content is there but I’m a sucker for it and always like his films. This also had a political…edge isn’t the word but you know what I mean…undercurrent – that’s better. Set against the G8 summit the politics were dumbed down but the message still hit home more down to the acting of the two leads – Bill Nighy and Kelly MacDonald. Kelly MacDonald was superb and also had the best quote of the film:

dirty dirty dirty John

I could listen to her saying the word dirty all night but enough of my fantasies. Her speech to the G8 dinner was superb with the clicking fingers every 3 minutes really hitting home. The end was left open – G8 summit in Scotland and what will these 8 men do, but it should have been more. Where was the appeal to support Make Poverty History? Where was the plea to march to Edinburgh? Live 8 has always struck me as ‘disorganised’. This just added to that feeling – I hope the organisation doesn’t let it down.

Nasty eBay

So Geldof has been ranting about eBay and how folk have been selling their Live8 tickets on the auction site. While I don’t agree with what the sellers are doing, I don’t agree that it’s eBay’s fault. So watching the ITV news I loved Sir Bob’s quote when talking about eBay – I would love hackers to hack into eBay and stop it working. Quality. His other quote was valid though:

The people who are selling these tickets on websites are miserable wretches who are capitalising on people’s misery. I am appealing to their sense of decency to stop this disgusting greed

Even better – ITV’s Mark Austin started off his interview with eBay chief executive in UK with a ‘what are you going to do about this then’ type quote only to have the wind taken completely out of his sails with a ‘we’re taking them down’ statement in a small but clear voice that totally debunked the whole interview. Nice one eBay. Back onto Sir Bob – he also quoted:

What eBay are doing is profiteering on the backs of the impoverished.

This is something that could easily be labelled at others who have gained out of the plight of millions in Africa.