Friday, July 01, 2005

Thoughts About Aid Concerts and Imperialist Art

I don't know much about the Live 8 spectacle in Philadelphia and around the world tomorrow. Its claimed intent is to raise awareness about African debt-- I suspect the actual purpose is to raise awareness about a host of corporate music artists!

Let's see: World monopoly Capitalism impoverishes entire continents, then the economic victors feign to care about the results.

At the moment I'm staying at a cheap hotel. One of its virtues is televisions in the rooms. I watched a show on public television that showed clips of Live Aid (in-between begging endlessly for money) from twenty years ago. Quite interesting for what it showed.

Most of the footage was from the London concert, which consisted of many posturing Brits, several of whom-- Sting and Bob Geldof in particular-- were purely awful. The show was awash in irony. After all, Great Britain had been the prime mover behind the imperialism and exploitation which put the African continent in the condition it's in. There on the stage were some of the biggest beneficiaries of the world's sick distorted economic system (near-billionaires like McCartney and Jagger) showing their "concern" for Africa. Hypocrisy; condescension: one can't think of enough words to describe the charade. Silhouettes of Africa at Wembley Stadium while a vast crowd of whites and a tired cast of mediocre performers engaged in "Let's pretend."

It was fitting that Geldof was the worst of a bad lot; "I Don't Like Mondays" or other whiny Brit-pop crap; preening and narcissistic, with hardly a smattering of "rock" to it and no visible talent.

Most revealing to me was that rock n roll was a spent force even then, in 1985. The performances were more pop than rock. The British legends like Mick Jagger and the Who were exposed, as performers, as not very good. David Bowie was merely going through the motions of what a rock n roll star should act like-- moving a little bit; attempting beyond his limitations to appear charismatic. This isn't my opinion-- it's all there on the videotape. Compare the line-up to the founders of rock, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, James Brown,, and you'll see the difference. Or to late-Sixties greats like Joplin and Hendrix.

Rock's permanent problem (the top artists today, Eminem and the rest, aren't rockers) is that its defining icon and greatest talent in voice and movement was part of the genre's birth-- a touchstone which can never be surpassed. Watch old films of early Elvis Presley naturally gliding cat-like all across a stage and you'll see what the Live Aiders of 1985 were aspiring to.

For me, watching TV has confirmed to me the decline of other art forms, like pop music and movies. I saw, on CNN an air-headed "journalist" from People magazine named Leah Rozen gushing over minimally interesting film personality Tom Cruise. Literature has, at least in the Underground Literary Alliance, REAL personalities like Wild Bill Blackolive to throw at people; who emanate authenticity, meaning, and substance; who aren't just slick manufactured products. Or like Jack Saunders, who'll be on display at our own Philly concert on July 16th.

WRITERS are the artists who can best address the globe's severe problems-- not phony playing pseudo-musicians with little inside their heads.

This is why the ULA's upcoming event is significant.


Tao Lin said...

this post is disgusting

all the ULA ever does is complain mindlessly

there are independent publishing companies working hard and putting out books right now instead of complaining mindlessly (complaining is okay, but look how stupid and uninsightful and 2nd-grade-ish your complaints are)

soft skull
punk planet
coffee house


you don't know shit about music by the way

there are independent record lables putting out 'political' and 'other' music independently right now and always have been

g-7 welcoming committee
sub city
fat wreck chords
asian man records


what the fuck did chuck berry or jimi hendrix or joplin whoever ever do except make a lot of money?

they put out their records on corporate, money-first, major silly man!

saying that people are hypocrits for trying to help people who they've hurt in the past is analagous to saying "...i am an idiot."


i won't be commenting here any more

because i just vomited onto my computer and it stopped working

but i hope my voice will stay in your head, and i hope it will sound like this: "...stop complaining mindlessly, do something, stop complaining mindlessly, do something, think hard for once, do something, use my brain and think hard about things for once, stop complaining mindlessly..."

jimmy the hyena said...

Anybody who doesn't find popstar parasites using the misery of starving people for self promotion autolegitimazation and onanistic aggrandisation grotesque isn't thinking to much themselves. But it is nice that Bono lets Bob play Jesus H.Christ once and awhile. He must get tired there on his cross on his Cote d'Azur beachfront estate.

King said...

Mindless is someone who can't see I was discussing specific things-- mainly the 1985 Live Aid concert, its hypocrisy, and the mediocrity of the majority of the performances at the thing. "Reader" reacts mindlessly. All those independent record and publishing companies mentioned are nice-- but what do they have to do with Live Aid?
(Yes, people are always complaining. Marie Antoinette's attitude back in 1789. "Who are those ungrateful dirty people out there always complaining all the time?"

King said...

p.s. Another cowardly anonymous demi-puppet of no substance run off. "Reader": Don't let the door hit you on the way out. (Try using your real name for once if you come back.)

King said...

Bob Geldof was asked on the radio this morning if Live 8 will have impact. He responded with a vague answer about the "realities of politics."
Meanwhile, news reports say cd sales for those who appeared are up dramatically.
p.s. Another excellent Monday Report up this week by Adam Hardin, at