Bob Geldof – “reaction will not come from music, but from social media”

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During his appearance at Sani Festival in Chalkidiki, near Thessaloniki, Greece, and celebrated its 30th anniversary, Bob Geldof talked to Euronews Greek about his music, the war in Ukraine, as well as the role of music as medium of activism.

Talking about the Boomtown Rats music, he credited the success of the songs to his bandmates: “what made them hits was those guys, you know, whatever they put into the song. That’s why it’s a hit. Not because of what I wrote.”

He doubts whether a reaction to the current state of things will come through music: “Well, it won’t be through pop music, because I think the rock period is finished, 1956 to, you know, 2000, perhaps 2005. Pop music was the central spine of the culture, through which we understood practically everything. That’s not true anymore. And the reason for that is social media. So, social media will be the mechanism whereby something could happen. But for that to work, it’s to diffuse.

So, one way of thinking about this is the diffusion of the medium has meant the dilution of the message. So that’s the problem. Like everyone has it, everyone has access, everyone has an opinion, and you just get noise. And the only way to get something to work is to organize and work collectively towards one end.

That’s the only way to make things work. So, people do concerts for different things all the time. Do you know about them? No. During the pandemic, there were online concerts, I suppose billions of people watched them. Does anybody know about it? No. Oh, yeah. Okay, next…

So it’ll come through something like that, but it will probably be a moment. And politicians have learned to ignore the moment. So, I’m not sure, you know, everything is new. Everything is determined by that thing we have in our pocket. Everything… And we still haven’t quite learned what it means. We’ve seen the political examples: Brexit, Trump, all these things that are resolved. We’ve seen a global economy that moves too fast for us to understand. That’s the digital economy.

If there is a digital economy, there must be a new politics that understands how to manage this economy. And we’re still waiting for that. So in the meantime, we’ve got confusion and chaos and flux”.

Finally, he also talked about the war in Ukraine: “What’s happening in Ukraine is disgraceful. Putin is a brute. I met him once and I looked at my notes and the notes I made on the day was: cold, cynical, calculated. That was the note I made. He’s just using food as a weapon. There’s millions of people who’ve never heard of Ukraine, who’ve never heard of Putin that will die because of what he’s doing. You say it’s not a war. He says it’s a military operation. That has grain got to do with this, you know? It’s disgusting and it’s disgraceful. And he is despicable”.