Thoughts on Live 8

It was announced today that there’ll be a huge gig in Hyde Park on July 2nd called Live 8, to highlight the cause of the Make Poverty History campain, and put pressure on the G8 leaders meeting the week after in Gleneagles to make changes to our screwed up economic system that currently favours the rich over the poor, widening the gap between them.

The gig won’t be a fund raiser in the way that Live Aid was, it’s all about awareness and garnering public support for the changes. On the same day, there’ll be gigs in Paris, Rome, Berlin and the US. It’s all happening on the same day as the Protests in Edinburgh in the run-up to the G8 summit.

Which begs the question, why isn’t it happening in Edinburgh? People are already suggesting that up to a quarter of a million people are going to descend on Edinburgh for the weekend. Why host an event in London that could a) dent the attendance in Edinburgh and b) split the media attention? I’m all for gigs big and small that raise awareness of such issues, but the timing could have been better. Even having it on the Sunday would have been better, giving die-hards the change to hot-foot it from Scotland back to London.

Meanwhile, I was asked to play a gig in Edinburgh months ago, which has yet to be confirmed (looks unlikely to happen), and have now been asked to play one in London on July 2nd (sadly not in Hyde Park – I’m sure some solo bass noodling would provide the perfect antedote to overblown rock dinosaurs giving it earnest for hours on end).

As it is, I’ll probably still go to Edinburgh, minus bass gear. I’ve already planned to go to the protests, and on a much more selfish note, can stay on a day or two and see if I can sort out some promo for my Edinburgh show! Having said that, the London show does look fun – it’s organised by Filomena Campus, an improv singer I’ve done things with before, and the last gig we did together featured some fab players – Orphy, Dudley Philips, Roland Sutherland etc.

Hopefully the split in the focus of events on July 2nd won’t confuse people as to the aims, and somehow some kind of miracle will happen in the G8. Given the kinds of people the US have been putting forward for jobs in the UN and World Bank of late, I don’t hold out much hope for them to show any compassion to the poor – clearly making the mega rich even richer is a much higher priority than ending the trade inequity that leaves entire continents languishing in crippling poverty despite them being rich in natural resources.

I’ll stop now, I’m slipping into despair again…

Read the Guardian’s report on the announcement