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Monday, July 04, 2005

Mocking The Afflicted

Yesterday I talked to Sean Hewitt who had been to see the Live 8 gig in London the day before. His perspective on the event was very interesting. As I dipped in and out of the coverage I noticed how stationary the crowd looked and sounded when the older acts were on – particularly noticeable during The Who’s set. Not so, according to Sean who tells me that as far as he could see, the punters in his neck of the park were getting off on it big time.

However, as I said in my previous entry if the concert has made a fraction of the punters who saw the thing have a greater understanding about the issues, then it seems like a good thing. The litmus test for me was to ask Debbie’s daughter, Alys, the next day if she could name any of the G8 countries whereabouts they were meeting and why. She could. A week ago I doubt that she would have been able to do so. The same with Tom and he’s 14. I find some hope in this small, admittedly non-scientific and statistically unviable poll. The point of the concert for me is to what degree young people might feel more disposed to engage in a debate and process concerning these issues. As to some wider thoughts about the music, I have to say I agreed 100% with Andrew Keeling’s assessment in his diary for the 3rd July.

Aside from the gawp-factor of seeing Roger Waters on the same stage as Dave Gilmour and being struck by how absurdly contemporary Paul McCartney’s rendition of Helter Skelter and Drive My Car sounded, there next to nothing in the programme that was of much interest to me. Having said that, I thought it was fascinating that Pete Doherty was on the stage at all because as far as I could tell based on his rendition of Children of the Revolution with Elton John, the blokey at the bus stop at the top of my street with the Poundstretchers bag would have done a much better job.

It seems that the allure of this character isn't to do with his questionable talents but rather his candidture as a rock n' roll casualty. It's as though having missed out on the comparitively quiet self-destruction of someone like Syd Barrett, sections of the pop and cultural media are determined to be on hand when the hapless singer gets kicked into touch or just kicks the bucket. Yeah, watching a young person sliding deeper into a cess-pit of addiction and disorder! That's really rock n' roll, really far out!

Later that day we called around to see Thomas and Leonie – neighbours from a couple of doors up. They had called together a gathering to say goodbye to Les and Ged, who keen readers may recall have sold up and are moving to Spain. We said goodbye to Lesley and Ged last week as well. I’m told we are saying an additional and we suspect, final goodbye to them on Tuesday This really is becoming the Long Goodbye – not that any of us mind really. I’m trying to persuade them to keep a blog of their fabulous adventure. I reckon they could easily blag a book deal or probably a TV series out of it.

Although the pain in my ear has recded somewhat I’m left with an irritating ringing in my left ear. It’s making listening to music quite interesting; piano music sounds as though it’s being playing on the prepared variety – a metallic dissonance at the outer edge of the notes. I’ll be going back to the doctor’s if this doesn’t clear in a couple of days. Although it makes ELP sound as though they are being submerged into a vat of bubbling liquid, I’m afraid such advantages are more than outweighed when it comes to just about any part of my album collection. The other trouble is I can barely hear what people are saying to me in a crowded room such as at Thomas and Leonie's house yesterday.

Say What? Dave and Debbie mocking the fat bloke on the sofa. . .

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