Wednesday, 6 November 2013

7 inch singles collection: Band Aid - Do They Know It's Christmas

Get your cash out it's time to give to charity:


A-side: Do They Know It's Christmas?
B-Side: One Year On
(Mercury 1985)

OK, where do we start on this one. It's a good and worthy cause, I get that, but there is something about this record which really annoys me. Could it be being urged by a collective of multi-millionaires to guilt-trip me into giving my hard earned cash to a charity of their choice, rather than one of my own. This isn't the only worthy cause out there, perhaps I think my hard won cash should go to cancer prevention, or Alzheimer's research, or to servicemen injured in the line of duty, or well the list could go on forever. The way this record was advertised, and forced upon us at the time was such that if you didn't buy you were made to feel as though you'd put a pistol to the head of an Ethiopian child and pulled the trigger whilst laughing maniacally to yourself. 

Alternatively I could dislike this record so intensely because it's rubbish. I know the lyrics aren't meant to be taken literally but "There won't be snow in Africa this Christmas" always makes my blood boil - like there ever is any snow in Africa, at Christmas, apart from the mountain-tops where it's pretty much all year round. For that matter how frequent is snow in England at Christmas these days, and exactly what proportion of Africa is Christian enough to celebrate Christmas. As I said I know much of it is metaphorical but it just gets my back up.

It's just a bad record - if Bob Geldolf had actually made a decent record (and he's capable of it), then maybe lots of people would have bought it and then he could have said all the money from this is going to help starving people in Africa, then maybe I wouldn't have minded. However the intense evangelicalism that went with this set me off on the wrong foot.

I didn't buy this the first year it was released, but got it the following year - hence why the b-side is called One Year On. This entails Midge Ure to drone sonorously one for 3 1/2 minutes detailing exactly how many tonnes of rice, trucks, goats, etc. over the tune of Do They Know It's Christmas. That said at least he is dull and boring about this - maybe he knows that any hint or trace of emotion in his delivery would make the whole thing sound even more smug and self-satisfied than it already is.

Do then ends ever justify the means? Maybe in this case it does - but that doesn't mean I have to like it. 

As I get older I get more tolerant of music which in my younger days I would have felt a vehement dislike for. Except this record - once I found Do They Know It's Christmas annoying now I find it deeply offensive.

I will now try and be less angry for next time when it will something from the soundtrack of the film Less Than Zero

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