Friday, October 13, 2006

Damon Albarn in Mali

Interesting account of Damon Albarn's latest forays into the Malian music scene in today's Indy. Albarn lies at one end of the muzungu-in-Africa paradigm (generative, engaging, listening), with self-righteous tossers like Sting and Geldof at the other extreme (patronising, glib, deaf).


Anonymous,  4:14 pm  

Jez, I followed bits of the 'live aid' campaign and watched the whole series of 'Geldof in Africa' on the beeb. As a fellow Brit (urself) who would also like to see prosperity in Africa, I don't quite understand why you refer to him as patronising. What would you do differently if you were a musician with his connections/influence?? (Other than those wristbands of course)

Jeremy 4:32 pm  

I would do EVERYTHING differently.

I'd be less of an arrogant prick for starters.

I'd focus on bottom-up-driven transformation and engagement. I wouldnt put myself centre-stage in a travelogue series, (sweating muzungu under a silly hat cliche) - I'd let all those encountered do the talking and remain behind the camera. The Geldof-Palin style of travelogue is tired and reminiscent of 19th century anthropology. Its as outdated as the Benny Hill show..

Geldof will not be forgiven for forgetting to invite black/African musicians for Live8 (being forced to create a second-tier event at the Eden Centre). This is where Albarn is to be celebrated and Geldof to be ignored.

And let us not forget, in the year of Live Aid, there was a net surplus of money TO the West from Africa (thanks to the debt). Live Aid and Live 8 achieved nothing except salve the superficial guilt of a new generation of apolitical bubble-gum beings. The white wristbands were a waste of good rubber.

Perhaps Geldof's most egregious error so far (in terms of material outcomes) was to be the mouthpiece stooge for the Commission for Africa (Blair's stain-on-the-conscience report). Instead of being an obnoxious ranting outsider, he became an obnoxious ranting insider.

What gives failed musos like Geldof, and dad-rockers like Bono the right to pontificate about Africa and development?

The final blow to global humanity Geldof has unleashed upon the world is his fripperous daughter. Ok, it didnt help matters being brought into the world called Peaches, but what gives this overpriviliged madam the right to become a documentary maker - starting off examining Islam of all things...

Anonymous,  5:03 pm  

i think you mean Bono, not Sting. But i agree with everything you've stated.

Anonymous,  12:12 pm  

Jeremy, I read your blog regularly and I recommend it to anyone that has an interest in Nigeria mainly because I feel you write very well and it's good to hear what's going on in the homeland. I however do think it is rather rich of you to call someone arrogant - I actually find you quite arrogrant and at times patronising. Bob Geldof and others may not be doing things in the way YOU think things should be done but I believe they have thier hearts in the right place. I do not agree with all they do but who else of any prominence is standing up for Africa? The very least it has done is brought African issues to the forefront.

Please remember we are all individuals and if we were all asked how we would approach the problems in Africa we would all have a differnet take on how we would approach the issues. It is enough that they have tried. It is very arrogant of you to condemn them in this way. As intelligent as you may be you don't know it all.

From a humble reader who wil continue to enjoy (most times) the contents of your blog.

Anonymous,  1:03 pm  

Both geldof and albarn are pricks. Simple. They just exhibit it in different ways.

Anonymous,  10:15 pm  

Anonymous (12:03 PM) - when you say something like Albarn 'is a prick' you need to motivate it in some way for it to be believable.

Anonymous,  11:55 am  

I just saw the first episode. What got me was the "them" (Africans) and "us" (Westerners, apparently) language. Eg "the modern world" as opposed to the traditional world - even though he made the point that the Masai are actually living in the twenty-first century. And the fact that early hominids were "male", "female" and even "a child", but homo sapiens was always referred to as "man" and "he". I have nothing against Geldof personally but I think that the use of this sort of language - and the thinking that goes with it - is what led the world into the current "Third" versus "First" problem in the first place.

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