There’s nothing unusual about a good old fashioned celeb-spot in Notting Hill, but there was something unprecedented about the number of cameras in west London last Saturday.
Not that I can say I gave it much thought as I walked, head down, through the crowds on Portobello Road, hoping to return a pair of shoes and grab a few groceries as quickly as possible before returning to the comfort of my sofa.
Only after arriving home did yours truly realise what all the fuss had been about. Band Aid 30. This year’s reincarnation of the festive favourite, ‘Do they know it’s Christmas?’
Thirty years ago, Bob Geldof urged the nation, ‘Give us your money’. Three decades on and he’s at it again, this time to help the fight against Ebola in Africa.
Going on sale first thing Monday morning, the charity single is already the fastest-selling of the year, raising millions for an incredibly worthy cause, you’d think the world and his wife would be backing Sir Bob and his merry men.
Not so. Yours truly wasn’t around to witness the reaction to the song in ‘84, but I’m not aware of a backlash like the one we’ve seen this week. From rapper Fuse ODG to newspaper columnists, people have been more than willing to come forward and explain why they’re no fan of the fab Band Aid 30 crew. For Fuse, who spent much of his formative years in Africa, it was the misrepresentation of the continent. This is not, he says, a true representation of New Africa, a continent home to 70 per cent of the world’s fastest growing economies and one which works hard to dispel the old image of a continent ridden with disease and poverty.
Another columnist listed problems with the project – from the lack of recognisable faces on show to an apparent public shaming of Adele for not joining them (how dare a busy mother of a toddler not give up her time and donate directly to Oxfam itself?) and the ‘irresponsible shock factor strategy’ of showing harrowing images of dying women.
‘Even if you don’t like the single, you have to buy it’ said Geldof. And after thinking long and hard, I don’t agree. Do we have to buy it? No.
Could we make a private donation, direct to the Disasters Emergency Committee? Yes. As I will be doing this year. I do know it’s Christmas, but I’d like to choose how I give my gift.