The new version of Band-Aid’s Do They Know It’s Christmas? has gone straight to the Number One spot in the UK singles charts (such as the singles charts are these days), although for some odd reason it’s only available as an import in the US (although it can be downloaded). Naturally there have been some revisions to the original release from the mid-80s. When the new generation sing ‘do they know it’s Xmas time?’ they then have to add to coda: ‘yes, at least among the many Christian communities in Africa’ while the line ‘feed the world’ now has the rider ‘except for the parts now to unsafe to sned aid angencies into because of bloody stupid US, British and Fundamentalist actions’. Seriously though, feeding the world makes a hell of a lot more sense than bombing it. It’s also much cheaper (grain is a lot less costly than guided weapons – although Bill Hicks once said why not use that technology to feed the hungry and have laser-guided bananas dropping from bombers?) and the end results tend to be more stable, i.e. people who have had their lives saved, are happy and grateful instead of resentful and full of hatred. Perhaps we should be asking Bush and Blair (both supposedly devout Christians, although I suspect Jesus would not care to share their views) is they know it is Xmas?

Seriously, I hope it does well, but the real shame of it is that this gesture is still needed, that Band-Aid and Comic Relief (only in Britain would we run a major charity by comedy, you have to love it). From that original single of course came Live Aid, which was just an incredible event for millions of us at the time; it really looked like popular culture and ordinary people making a difference in the teeth of disasters which governments responded so weakly to. And although the shame of the world governments is that this new attempt has had to have been made, it is not right to say the events of the mid 80s didn’t change things – a hell of a lot of people are alive today because of those movements and that can’t be a bad thing. Now if only our governments would put a tenth of the effort into helping other people instead of bombing them.