That “Sir” Bob Geldof, eh? He’s such a card. “Do you want to get pissed, stoned or fucked? Is it that type of festival?” he announced at Dorset’s family friendly Bestival festival at the weekend. I am no prude, you may be relieved to learn, but these sound more like some aim-to-shock words of some angry, young rocker, not a 63 year old grandfather. I find it all a bit creepy and not a little sad.
I say sad specifically with reference to getting “pissed (and) stoned”. Sad, dispiriting and inappropriate, you might say, for a man who lost his ex wife and his daughter to a combination of both. I doubt that Geldof made the comment with any real thought of how someone like me might interpret it, but it was the first thing I noticed when I read the review of his set at the festival.
Geldof has form when it comes to the use of shock. “Just give us yer fockin’ money,” he urged back in 1985 at the epic Live Aid gig, which certainly shocked people who had never heard anyone swear before (where had they been?) and his anger and passion certainly helped brow-beat us into helping starving Africans. And he has gone on to shock ever since, not least with his music which, to be honest, I have always found to be truly shocking. I am surprised he is still playing at all. In fact, I am still recovering from his award for “Outstanding Contribution to Music” at the 2005 Brit Awards. Someone must have been seriously pissed and stoned to come up with that one.
But there, I am at it too, making a lame joke about a very serious subject.
Geldof should have known better and he probably does. He’s worth £32 million, mainly through his astute business dealings, I suspect, and not continuing royalties from “I don’t like Mondays” and he can do what he likes. He can be as crass as he likes too, as he was at Bestival, coming out with something that was as crass as it was unthinking.
The truth is that Geldof is not the outsider at all. He’s noisy and brash, but he also firmly part of the establishment he so often rails against. It is only his ability to shock that creates the illusion he is on the outside.