Sunday, July 08, 2007

Earthy Thoughts

Well, Live Earth has passed, at least the day itself, and it would be difficult to let it do so without some sort of comment.

I think I'll let others mostly do the talking (I'll add links at the bottom as I come across them, hopefully from a good spread) as I had/have no real problem with people giving their time for free (it would be churlish not to - and I find the number of snipes on performance quality a bit graceless, though if you charge for a gig I guess you need to be held for review), or the notion of massive coordinated entertainment as a method of awareness raising. But, as discussed in these pages before, it is more what others - ranging from the media to those they speak to - make of it all and take away from it... now and as the subsequent days pass.

There seem to have been three basic 'camps': those who saw it as a real force for change and/or liked the idea of a party, those who really didn't like any aspect of it at all, and those in the middle, like me, who were/are simply concerned about the ultimate message created by both the medium and the messengers.

I watched sporadically, becoming one of the 2 billion who apparently did so, leaving it late afternoon perhaps before it really 'warmed up' (Can't say the vibe came across as anything like Live Aid). Frankly what I as a viewer took away from it was mostly shaped by what happened during the intervals, and that was out of the hands of the organisers and those taking part. Can't say it was too encouraging. I don't know if it was an attempt at balance, or simply poor selection of talking heads, but to a celebrity-influenced culture (which is surely who the thing was/is mostly targeted at), the rather formulaic articulations of concern, and reasons for it, seemed to be rather outweighed by the sheer number of flip celebs who were dabbling with the notion of doing good by the planet to justify being on screen, but certainly were not going to change how they spend their money. Probably smart, with a tabloid paparazzi ready to catch them stepping out of Wembley into the Cayenne to get back to Islington, but disappointing. Here's hoping that beyond the UK and the BBC, other countries were a bit more 'on message'.

But, as warned, when you play with the celeb media you have to appreciate that you cannot control it. Their priority is what sells, and while they'll go along with anything that brings celebs into the camera frame, especially in large numbers, they also know what else will shift more copies before, during and after. Especially with a readership that does not enjoy the lifestyles of those who have taken it upon themselves to offer advice/opinion on how those of more modest means should conduct theirs.

One message I did hear from the commentary box, and not from the stage as money really is not a problem for this set, was to do what you can simply because it makes financial sense. Came across quite a lot, and I endorse that. So I hope it sunk in. Not so much go green, but go greed.

Sadly, in closing, I also note some others (Sheila Hancock on the Andrew Marr show as I do) who, like me, were left a bit unsure as to what exactly they were to do now. And if that's the case, bearing in mind the objective was 'awareness', one has to wonder what message ended up being served ultimately. But at least, for now, it has at least got a lot of folk talking.

ps: As I write this I watch the opening of the Tour de France, with the cyclists preceded by a Caravan of Sponsor vehicles that throw freebies to the crowds. I guess they missed the pledge. But then it was all so last year, er, week, er, day. And imagine what the country's focus will be later today if one of our favoured sons does well at Silverstone rushing around in circles in a fairly low mpg vehicle just for fun.

Guardian - The artists formerly known as huge carbon footprints - well, the headline kinda sest the tone

Observer - Rockin' all over the world (but just watch your carbon footprint)

The Independent - Live Earth: One big gesture for man, one giant problem for the Earth - with links at end to more, like this: So, Al Gore, what's the one thing we can all do to tackle climate change? Oh, and this, from another page: The Big Spend: The vision thing

The Times - Live Earth fails to pack large-scale punch - An odd, and rather mean thing to focus on, especially for a 'quality'

The Telegraph - Live Earth concerts kick off around the world - Can Live Earth really save the world?

Ho-hum, can I really face the tabloids?

Mirror - LIGHT OF MADGE DAZZLES - I'm sure there is soemthing in there about saving the planet too, but I couldn't find it
Mail - The greatest show on Live Earth rocks Wembley but leaves the world cold - Well, there was an ad for npower 'green' energy. Live Earth is promoting green to save the planet - what planet are they on? - I'm guessing they were not keen.
Express - ONE WORLD, ONE BEAT - All I could find. Not exactly what one would expect following the world's biggest music event.
People - DAY THE EARTH TURNED BLUE! - nothing like getting our priorities straight
News of the World - Green star is an eco disaster - I hate to say I told you so, but there was always the danger the messengers would be vying with the message.

BBC - Live Earth Wembley - the home page link, goes to others.
BBC - Live Earth gigs send eco-warning - interesting, if depressing, to read the comments. At least they are talking, I guess.

On a more positive note - Daily Grist: Live Earth was a smash hit, and more - Not exactly the headline even here, though. And I just heard on the BBC that the concert managed 1/3 of the Diana gig last week. So as smash hits go, maybe you had to be there.

One via Dave, who has kindly noted I may have mentioned this beforehand: Pretty big footprints

So... what was the enviROI?

The Ecologist - Live Earth: a short tragedie And they were there!