Posts from 4th January 2005

Jan 05

Oh no

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 406 views

Oh no.

One of the side effects of the first Band Aid single was that every tragedy had an associated charity single. There are two rationales for any charity single – raise awareness and raise money. In general it’s hard to get too upset about them, even if they are wretched (and this is going to be wretched) – they bring charities money that almost certainly wouldn’t have been donated otherwise.

But in this case it really is hard to see the point. Is it raising awareness of the Asian Earthquake? Hardly – it’s led almost every news bulletin for a week. Is it raising more money? There’s the nub of it – staggering amounts of money are already being donated. Even assuming that the record company releasing this waives all production and distribution costs and donates the full £3.99 to charity, the existence of this record is based on one assumption: that somebody with £4 to spare will not donate it to the DEC unless incentivised by a record featuring Cliff Richard and Boy George and written by Mike Read. If said somebodies do in fact exist, they need their heads examined.

It’s sadly obvious that staggering, eye-popping amounts of money are precisely what is needed here. Which surely means that anyone wanting to help should be asking quite carefully what they can most effectively do. Britain doesn’t need another charity single, especially for a situation like this where those affected will still need money in 1, 10, 20 years, when copies of “Grief Never Grows Old” are mouldering in landfills and charity shops. It seems to me that there is a very simple way for a pop star to make a long-term contribution: take a song, a new song or an old song but ideally a good one, and sign over all future royalties to a charity. It would mean giving up money, but money the star doesn’t have yet, and it doesn’t mean producing more bloody CDs so that everyone involved can feel self-satisfied when it gets to No.1. Or if you must show you care by getting product out, take a new song that people might actually want to buy in the normal run of things and give that to a charity album (a la War Child but without the shonky remixes).

But we’ll never know. This single will come out, and sell a lot, and the unspoken assumption will be – as ever – that the money raised wouldn’t have found its way to the charity anyway. And I’ll feel a bit guilty for hating it. And people won’t ask if charity singles are the best way of raising money pop stars have, and they won’t ask why pop stars only seem to talk about charity when there’s a bit of plastic at the end of it.

Explaining one of my new years resolutions the other day

Proven By SciencePost a comment • 314 views

Explaining one of my new years resolutions the other day (to not fart in public places) there was a remark that this would be dangerous. Apparently said person thought the gasses would build up inside me and make me explode. The same person later said that excessive flatulence is the sign of a bad diet.

I am sorry to have to contradict on both points, via the either rather up front Facts On Farts website, or the more sedate Wikipedia entry which both – ahem – pooh pooh these assertations. Admittedly the cause of more than average flatulence seems to be based on foods I am inordinately fond of (dairy products, dried fruit and pulses SHOCK!) but there is nothing unhealthy about holding a fart in, or having excessive flatulence. However one thing that seems to come out of the surveys is that people who fart more are happier. Hmm, I might have to rethink that New Years resolution.

Of course said person got her information from “Doctor” Gillian McKeith so I could have assumed it was bollocks.

Riding Giants proves more than many of last years cinema documentaries

Do You SeePost a comment • 218 views

Riding Giants proves more than many of last years cinema documentaries that as long as you get your structure right, you can make anything interesting. I am not someone who is vaguely interested in extreme sports, and surfings only boon in my life has been The Beach Boys. But Stacy Peralta’s doco marries some wonderful visuals with a positively engaged set of talking heads and left me with a rather in depth knowledge of big wave surfing.
That said, I would have liked more info on surfing deaths: the film skates around all but one dramatic death of a surfing pro. There must be plenty of amateurs who die every year, and to talk about the danger without the stats seemed an omission. But the biggest gap was more information on the post Gidget surfing explosion. Indeed I would have liked more about Gidget full stop. Perhaps it is embarrassing to the surf bums that the most famous and most important populariser of surfing was Sandra Dee!

THE FT TOP 100 SONGS: 100, Sultans Of Ping FC – “Where’s Me Jumper” (1992)

FT + New York London Paris Munich//10 comments • 5,385 views

An OLD MAN and a WISE MAN are sitting on a bench.

WISE MAN: Tell me, Old Man, if you had one piece of advice to give young students, what would it be?
OLD MAN: I would tell them to be neither too proud or too ashamed of their music taste. The music you hear when you are young will expand to fill the space you provide for it, regardless of how good or bad it is. Perhaps you will be lucky, and you will find that the music you hear at 18 remains excellent. Perhaps you will be unlucky, and your bloom of youth will be wasted on awful novelty indie records that if you screw up your ears sound a tiny bit like a Wedding Present B-Side. But do not congratulate or blame yourself – it is not your choice.



FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 392 views

Judge for yourself as long as the link works. My immediate thought was “This reminds me of nothing so much as Siouxsie’s “Face to Face” song from the second Batman run through a squelchifier” crossed with Disco Tex’s “Shirley Wood.” The more-than-slight problem is that it is not as good as either of those. Best part of the song is the a capella break she apparently does not sing on.