It’s here, it is come once more and yet again we are all dutifully bound to “Let them know it’s Christmas time again”. Band Aid 30 is upon us. On 17th November, for the fourth time in its history, Band Aid bounced back into our lives onto our radio waves, and was met with the usual celebrity hysteria. However, despite Bob Geldof swearing on television, he shouldn’t have anything to worry about; with £1 million raised on the opening day alone it looks like people are going to giving him all of their “fucking money”.
Originally released in 1984 and then again in 2004 Do They Know Its Christmas is perhaps one of the most iconic Christmas songs in Britain, so it is unsurprising that it bounced back into our lives and onto our radio waves for the third time on 17th November, a celebration of Geldof’s 30 years of feeding the world.
Filled with the volunteered vocal tones of the stars of the moment, the talents of Ed Sheeran, One Direction, Emeli Sandé and Bastille among many other Platinum sellers have ensured that once again Geldof and his band of Merry Christmas Men are sitting pretty at number one, and probably will still be there come 25th December. However, this time around there is one crucial difference. Instead of utilising the profits of the celebrity sing-a-thon to try and battle worldwide famine, Geldof, this time, has turned his attentions towards the Ebola crisis currently wreaking havoc across areas of Western Africa.
Unsurprisingly, as has been true of anything of any slight interest to the general public in recent years, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, British news channels and international news channels, erupted. I’m pretty sure somebody even talked about this on MySpace. Predictably, a large proportion of the keyboard warriors appeared unimpressed, some might even say offended, by Geldof’s recent attempt at Christmas chart domination.
Many argue that the lyrics, which have been altered this time around, convey an ignorant misconception of how many countries actually need our help, whilst also making the whole disease sound much less dangerous than it actually is. Bono’s famous emotive lyric, this time altered to ‘reaching out and touching you’, has been judged as insensitive due to the fact that this is a disease contracted by personal contact which exposes people to contaminated bodily fluids.
Perhaps more controversially, many of the stars that contributed to the single, including One Direction, are known to have partially or wholly avoided paying various taxes. Surely, some have argued, they should donate some of their owed millions, rather than convincing others to donate a miniscule pound.
To begin with, it is perhaps hard not to succumb to the cynicism, but upon reflection to do so is to forget the people at the heart of any type of charitable campaigning; those in need. These artists invited to sing by Sir Bob have guaranteed much needed funds will be raised, the evidence of this is quite clear; £1m in the first day was incredible. Is that not what Band Aid was all about?
Western nations are in a position whereby we can afford to be critical of charity, we are not in desperate need of financial or medical help. Have you ever thought about how ridiculous being critical of charity sounds? All that should matter here is that those in need are receiving the help that they deserve; the resources and skills necessary to fight the disease and preserve life.
We are losing sight of the aims and principles of Band Aid. The most important thing is the aid, the band should always be of secondary importance, and as long as the ‘band’ are encouraging people to give, and the aid is getting to those in need then Band Aid will always be alright by me.