All we need is Radio Ga Ga

Doodling around the web thinking about charity fundraisers, and the difference between what Bono and Geldolf have not achieved, and the massive responses to the Tsunami and the South Asian quake. Pop music fails miserably, where people’s organisation seems more capable.

So, here is Queen playing at Live Aid in 1985. They do ‘RadioGa Ga’ and the newsreel footage shows the disturbing eloquence of British fascist sentiment embedded in stadium rock – everyone claps in military unison – a tendency that would have inspired a contemporary Leni Riefenstahl. That Geldolf is Goebbels to her preview of Chris Cunningham is only the icing on the special edition Marie Antoinette cake that is being prepared for Africa today. Only Damon Albarn called their bluff the second time around – Live 8 was a serenade for the boot boys of the Empire, wearing punky gear styled by haute couture.

That the coloniser has neurotic phobias was reaffirmed once again when Geldolf failed to invite any African musicians to his history making poverty showcase. Though his last minute dial up to have them play in the corporate sponsored nature zone bio-dome venue was really convincing (wasn’t it just). Why did anyone put up with this? “Is that it?” (Bob’s ‘auto’biography from 1985, written by Paul Vallely). Sure, I don’t like mondays but I get up and work for a living, you pinhead Bob…


8 thoughts on “All we need is Radio Ga Ga

  1. Indeed, there has been massive peoples response to the quake. People leaving the UK with pockets full of donated cash to hand out. Organised Kashmiri groups — at the very same time that Charles Clarke decides to ban some of them — have done more practically than Geldolf’s self promotions could do in a million years. While it would be ‘nice’ if Govt’s etc could also get behind such efforts, we know usually their gestures cost more in administration costs, and come with deals, trade incentives and ‘solutions’ for vexed questions of international diplomacy – how useful is that? – j


  2. Wow, huh, I gave lots of money to the Kashmir relief fund cuz I thought they’d be better than the other aid groups at getting the aid to the people. However, all this is OBVIOUSLY not enough and I am daily filled with an ever increasing horror which is managing to top the horror of the ongoing neglect and villification of the victims of Katrina (I’m one of those people called “American”). Fucking ‘Charity Fatigue”. All those people are going to die up there!


  3. I love the phrase ‘charity fatigue’. Given that I used to think – still ‘probably’ do, see my Rumour of Calcutta book, which is about
    improbably Heidegger, Marx and charity workers in Calcutta – given
    that I think, then, that charity is only designed to make people feel
    good about themselves and about things that are horrible, but because
    of alienation and lack of responsibility (via so called democracy)
    can’t/won’t do anything that really changes situations, charity
    fatigue must thereby mean people now feel fine about ‘distant’
    suffering, even when it seems to be close to home.

    Interesting phrase.

    Anyway, I always think a militant revolutionary politics is more
    likely to have some impact than any charity initiative which
    reaffirms/alibis the ongoing order.

    I read recently that even Islamic Relief spent 5 million on
    ‘administration’. Jobs for the boys.

    So maybe cash given directly to people is a better interim substitute.
    While organised help on the ground (in Pakistan by the very groups
    Clarke proscribed) is the main game.


  4. Seems like the best initiative…

    ———- Forwarded message ———-
    From: Anandi Ramamurthy
    Date: Nov 9, 2005 1:58 PM
    Subject: Fwd: FW: Rehabilitatiing the Earth Quaked

    —–Original Message—–
    From: Ayyaz Kiani
    Sent: 09 November 2005 12:30
    To: Ayyaz Kiani
    Subject: Rehabilitatiing the Earth Quaked

    Dear Friends,

    We are a group of like minded volunteers from different backgrounds.
    Some of
    us belong to organizations working in social sector in Pakistan. We
    experience of working with local communities, but have never worked as
    relief and rehabilitation agents. The group anyway wants to help
    the trauma and the loss people have suffered in the earthquake through
    voluntary, effective and transparent initiative. Our aim is to at
    bring back the families to a level of life they were on 7th October
    the night before the havoc.

    We are outreaching to people we know – our friends, their friends and
    friends! We should talk with people / families whom we think are
    in helping out and whom we think can trust us. We hope that we can
    cause an
    outbreak of “trust” – people trusting each other to help others.

    If you have been wondering how you could help the victims and did not
    the appropriate channel – here is a possibility for you. We’ll make
    every cent collected is used 100% for the benefit of the victims (and
    get to know about it) and we’ll personly bear all the operational costs
    reaching this money to them. Please help us in this rehabilitation

    For details visit
    and pass on
    address to as many friends around as you can. This website tries to
    two fundamental questions people are asking: 1.What is the best way to
    the affected people, and 2. How can we know that our help actually
    the most deserving people? This website is a sincere and serious effort
    offer answers to these valid questions. We believe that if these
    can be satisfactorily answered many more people would like to join in.

    Looking forward to your hear from you,

    With kindest regards,

    Ayyaz Kiani & Friends

    No virus found in this outgoing message.
    Checked by AVG Free Edition.
    Version: 7.1.362 / Virus Database: 267.12.8/162 – Release Date:


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