Trigger Warnings – Mentions of death/illness
With my birthday out of the way, you may now bring up the subject of Christmas without me trying to throttle you. So, I decided tonight’s topic should be the latest Band Aid single and in particular, the situation regarding Adele’s refusal to take part and why, you’ve guessed it, I’m on her side this time. Oh, you didn’t guess it? You thought perhaps because I am a charity worker I’d despise anyone not taking part in a charity effort? You thought wrong if that’s what you thought, this entire conflict between her and Bob Geldof highlights the trouble with Band-Aid as a means of fighting poverty and illness in Africa, in particular, that it does so very little to make a change.
So what’s the story? Well, thirty years on from the original Band-Aid single, Bob Geldof has gathered an array of modern musicians to do a modified version of the song to raise money for the fight against Ebola and well, that’s a nice idea, Ebola needs to be wiped out, it’s a plague, literally, and it is killing people en masse who don’t have access to doctors and clean water and so on. However, of the people on his list, Adele was said to be ignoring phone-calls and shutting herself off from the world and Bob dismissed this as Adele being a miserable stingy cow or perhaps too caught up in looking after her private life to spare a weekend for recording the single. The news recently came to light though that she isn’t ignoring the calls, she’s refusing them and with a darn good reason
I take a bit of an issue with rich people telling me to give my hard earned money away when they aren’t exactly leading by example and it seems Adele agrees with me because instead of taking part in the music work, her manager confirmed she has been making private donations of actual physical money to Oxfam, one of the charities actively working to combat Ebola. Geldof wanted to make Adele the subject of public shaming, saying she’s “doing nothing” when in fact she clearly is doing something and this tone is generally the same tone the song itself takes – self-righteous “I’m so benevolent, I care about poor people, look at me being charitable” kinda syrupy nonsense that doesn’t mean anything. The song patronises an entire continent asking if anyone there is aware it’s Christmas, despite the strong Christian presence in Africa as a whole the song seriously went on this assumption the entire continent was ignorant. No, they didn’t know it was Christmas clearly because Africa is full of backwards cave people who mash stones together for fun. Admittedly they took out the horrible line of “Well tonight thank God it’s them instead of you”, a strangely self-aware comment on the western world, living in blissful ignorance of the plight of our cousins across the pond as we whinge about not having a second car and they whinge about not having a second son any more because he died of starvation. Oops, was that harsh? Well, tough, we enjoy a level of privilege, even the working-class and one song isn’t enough to change it, no matter how many covers there are
Band-Aid is such a smug self-satisfied service really, a bunch of overpaid idiots huddled together for a bit, enjoying a free trip to Africa to spend a few days gawking at people dying of illness so they can feel they are morally righteous in their quest to record a song before flying home again and making this master cure-all for everything through the power of music. I think Band-Aid is a fitting name really, there are people dying of hunger and sickness and the proceeds from these recordings are indeed little more than a band-aid (Plaster to my British audience and I) on a gaping wound, handed out with a patronising smile and when they take it, still choking on vomit, we dance around saying we are so honoured we made a difference. I’m not here to poo-poo on people for trying, it’s great, but when you look at the line-up, you have to ask yourself “Why am I the one giving money and them the ones giving time? They have money to actually give away, all I’ve got is pocket change!”. I’d like Bob Geldof to put his money where his mouth is and dish out a couple of thousands to Oxfam for the Disasters Emergency Committee, both of which go unmentioned by Band-Aid despite the fact that Band-Aid pops up once in a while around Christmas with a big parade and a heroic cape on and the other two work around the clock, every day of the year to actually do something on, they don’t wear capes though because capes aren’t going to feed a family or plant a field of crops
Furthermore, look at the people involved. Bob Geldof, notorious tax-evader, says his time is what he’s paying to this charity, his time and effort. Fuck that Bob, you’re worth £32 million, how about you give some of that away if this means so much to you that you’ll demonise anyone who doesn’t listen to your precious little song? Or hey Bono, you don’t pay your taxes either do you? Yet you have no problem telling me to make a donation to charity on your behalf! And don’t get me started on One Direction, a band of tossers so outrageous they have SEPARATE JETS for when they don’t feel like travelling together. Jets. Plural. Fucking sell them and take a taxi like a normal person, you bunch of pre-pubescent tweenybop twats.
The British people as a whole, give a lot to charity, certainly from my experience from working in the shop, I’ve turned my back and turned back to see a stranger stood at the collection box trying to stuff notes into the coin slot, I’ve met people who see me opening up the shop and rush over to give me money saying it has to go to those most in need, be it a war zone or a quiet village somewhere they’ve never heard of and the donations we get, I often look at and think “Why not sell this? It’s worth a fortune” only for them to say “We’d much rather the profit went to people who need it more than we do”. We’re not stingy people, we can be thrifty and overall it might not be as much as it could be but we’re all poorer and we give a huge amount compared to celebrities and internet personalities, that has to be worth something
I don’t mean to be angry but this really gets me worked up, to see people don the halo when they’re no angel by a long shot. I work hard for my money and I don’t give much but I don’t have much to give, especially at this time of year when expenses are coming out the wazoo but I try, we all do, except for those with the money to spare. Private jets, tax-dodging, publicly shaming their peers, it’s pathetic and it contradicts the spirit of love and charity they claim to be representing. If you want to make a difference, give your time to a charity store of your choosing and help them raise money or make a donation and say where you want it go to the person at the till and it will go there. You don’t have to give much but if enough of us just parted with £5 one day to the fight against Ebola, the world would notice the difference