Do They Know It’s Christmas? #BandAid30 Official Artist Q&A

Spreading joy. Band Aid 30
Spreading joy. Band Aid 30

Who are “they”?
Africans.

What is Africa?
A place where bad things happen.

Do they know it’s Christmas time, at all?
No.

Why not?
It’s not Christmas. It’s mid-November.

Yeah, but if it was Christmas, would they know it was Christmas?
Probably. This song gets wheeled out every few years, which has made a big difference. And, in any case, Christ is pretty popular in Africa. Particularly the countries the British invented/named/colonised.

Which ones are those?
Most of them.

So, if it was Christmas, who wouldn’t know it was Christmas?
The Muslims, probably. They don’t celebrate Christmas.

What do they celebrate?
That’s for them to know and us to find out.

Could we drop leaflets from drones over the Muslims on December the 25th to let them know that it is Christmas?
No.

Why not?
Because letting them know it’s Christmas, at all, is not the point. We are trying to stop Ebola.

What’s Ebola?
Bad.

How bad?
Very bad.

Have they all got it over there?
Not really. In fact, Nigeria contained the virus quickly and easily on their own, without any assistance from white people. But we don’t talk about that because it doesn’t help the “White Man as Saviour” narrative.

Right. So who are we helping again?
Bob.

Dylan?
That’s just the problem. It’s Bob Geldof. And if he doesn’t get on the telly a lot every five to ten years to remake this song, he wouldn’t have a purpose in life. You could say you are making a grumpy old man a bit less grumpy.

What’s in it for me?
You get to do something good for a change. And you get a lot of publicity. It aids your career, basically.

Do I get to meet any real-life Africans?
No! Oh, actually I mean yes. We have got a token African artist for you to meet. Bob Geldof doesn’t like African music or culture, but some fusspots reckon it is important that African musicians should get the chance to meet Chris Martin – to show that we have problems over here as well.

This sounds like a load of bollocks, yet something I can’t really get out of. How much of my time will it take?
About three hours. And your conscience will be salved for the rest of your life.

What does salved mean?
Just get in the recording booth, do your thing and make Bob Geldof happy.

Don't look directly into his eyes - Bob Geldof
Don’t look directly into his eyes – Bob Geldof

Who is Bob Geldof again?
He’s like a sweary Irish Medusa. And before you ask, sweary is when you say bad things to people, Irish is a term used to refer to the people of Ireland, who are similar to the English except they have more boybands and sanctimonious middle-aged rock stars, and Medusa is a less attention-seeking version of Bob Geldof, with better hair.

I’m scared now.
Don’t be. Ellie Goulding is in there. Just hold her hand and everything will be okay. Probably.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Note to reader. Two tips for doing something, whilst avoiding Geldof’s circus. Donate to Medecins Sans Frontieres and listen to some cool African music. Some of my favourites are Konono No.1 and also The Ethiopiques albums. Probably you have your favourites too, so feel free to let me know the stuff you like to listen to, when you aren’t listening to the Boomtown Rats.

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11 thoughts on “Do They Know It’s Christmas? #BandAid30 Official Artist Q&A

  1. I think you are a cynical bastard who is falling in with the English penchant for bringing everything down. Your article perversely takes the negative interpretation of the question “Do they know its Christmas?”. I have always thought that the question is posed to US IN THE WEST so that we reflect on parts of the world who do not celebrate Christmas and are in need of aid.

    I have no more idea than you do about what Bob Geldof is like or what his motives are. I instinctively feel that he is sincere in wanting to raise a lot of money to do good and he has a bloomin good track record. I do not have this feeling about you and would like to know what you are doing apart from asking us to donate to MSF and listen to African music.

    • I feel like the fact the previous commenter described Africa as a “part of the world that doesn’t celebrate Christmas” says all it needs to.

      Please I beg you, pick up a book, Google “African Christianity” and learn something.

    • To be fair to Saint Bob, he is now that well connected and the appaullng efforts he has made previously to “do good” for those he decides are “in need of aid” have received so much criticism that there is a slim chance he’s going to funnel these funds through official channels such as the UN.

      But that is where the possible benefits end.

      What you fail to grasp, Erica, is that the continent of Africa is large, ethnically diverse and complex place. At the moment, three (of 54) countries in it are in need of international assistance (due to this epidemic) which is being provided through pre-agreed methods. This does require financial support but not in this manner because this song perpetuates a negative stereotype of a wonderful and fascinating continent whilst supporting the myth of western/christian cultural superiority. In doing so it unwittingly undermines the extraordinary achievements post-colonial countries have made and undervalues the hard work, dedication and innovation that has been shown by the people and governments of the continent in controlling the disease.

      The author is not “being a cynical bastard”. He’s trying to reinforce a more positive image of an undervalued area of the world.

      If you do want to do something I strongly recommend you look in to the recent history of continental development; read some books by African authors; and have a look into some of the current complexities and achievements of economic development throughout Africa. If you want to do something more tangible donate to a Central Appeal Fund, such as the DEC, where the money will be well accounted for. Or, if you really want to help, go on holiday there (perhaps not to an Ebola hotspot) because tourism provides a much needed form of direct foreign investment in a dignified manner and you’ll probably really enjoy it!

    • I don’t think it’s a penchant, we’re just not falling for it any more. All this celeb crap, using charity to get your face on tv just one more time is wearing very thin and becoming all too obvious. ‘Hey, but the money helps people, who cares, its still a good thing right?’ I hear you say. But no, the money they make is piss poor. In fact, by us criminalising Khat we have taken £15 million a year away from Kenya….Band Aid has handed out £75 million in the last 20 years so surely would it not be better to use Africa to grow stuff…FOR THEMSELVES! 500000 people work in Khat fields, producing £90 million worth of exports a year for Khat. Famine? really? they can produce this amount of Khat, give half a million peope jobs and all they do is grow drugs to sell to Britain. It isn’t money they need its a kick up the arse.

  2. As good a job Medecins Sans Frontieres are doing, they aren’t geared for dealing with famine. Understandably enough food production in the area has halted. Its not inconceivable Geldof, with 30 years experience in this field is ahead of the curve.

    • You are totally missing the point Will Rees, this is not a fundraiser for famine, it’s for Ebola and Medecins Sans Frontieres are infinitely better experienced and equipped to deal with it than Saint Bob and his band of merry z-lister celebs.

    • What?! Woah woah woah! Who mentioned famine? It’s an epidemic that is being tackled here. And who ever said Saint Bob had 30 years of experience dealing with famine? He organised one lousy pop concert and undermined the ability of an entire nation’s agricultural market to recover from a drought through misdirection of enormous quantities of unaccountable financial flows. As impressive a fuck up as this was, I’m not sure that can be counted as “dealing with famine”.

  3. If peopLe put more effort in to just doing things instead of criticising any and everybody else. If people stopped talking religion and instead talk about simple humanity and the rights of every single one of us then we can all make a difference. But let’s face it how many people will read this or any other person making a comment on this site. Bob Geldof can reach more people, whatever his reasons. Cynicism allows people to have a reason not to act. People who think they have read more, know more or done more than most should just keep on doing more. Well done. But allow those who do want to help in whatever way they are able to – to do so! Who is supior to who here? I will buy the record as it keeps people talking about issues that affect others and continue to do what I feel is necessary to make sure that real people are given real opportunities to have good and healthy lives.

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