TODAY -

All about understanding Bob Geldof

Jyaneswar Laishram *

Bob Geldof in 1987
Bob Geldof in 1987



Bob Geldof! He recently hit the news headlines for calling Aung San Suu Kyi 'a handmaiden to genocide'; and he returned his 'Freedom of the City of Dublin' award. He did it all in protest over the Myanmar leader's accomplice to the recent ethnic cleansing in her country that resulted in the genocide and fleeing of 600,000 Rohingya Muslims from their homes in Rakhine State to neighbouring Bangladesh where they live in pathetic makeshift refugee camps today.

In his protest, Bob said straight he didn't want to be on a very select roll of wonderful people with a killer. In this, many of my friends, who know little or nothing about 'Bob Geldof', argued who the hell is he who is talking too harsh against Aung San Suu Kyi, long seen as a champion of human rights. These friends of mind are neither Pink Floyd fans nor rights activists. "Google search it" I suggested them. They did and showed me a page-full of things about Bob Geldof from Wikipedia— an Irish musician, activist, founder of Live-8, so on.

I told them there is something more about Bob Geldof that Google couldn't search. I narrated them Bob Geldof is a born musician and philanthropist. His idea of music is very intrinsic. When he formed his punk rock band The Boomtown Rats it was very clear to him they would sound something different and real. Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy, who was also from his hometown Dublin, was helpful to him in finding a launch pad in London. Inspired by Lou Reed style, Delta blues sound and some other things like that, The Boomtown Rats attempted for a dynamic and different sound without directly copying from others. They wanted to go back to the basics of the sixties, making out their own direction from there.

On a whole, it was overtly Pink Floyd's 1979 rock opera film The Wall that introduced Bob Geldof to me and many of my rock inclined friends. In the film he played the grown-up version of the boy 'Pink' whose father was killed in the war (Second World War). His childhood was filled with oppression of his overprotective mother at home and abusive teachers at school, then continued with a breakdown marriage and drug abuse in adulthood—all contributed to his self-imposed isolation from the society represented to him as a 'wall' metaphorically.

After that, it was his autobiography Is That It?— which critics call a life history of an unusual life—that brought unfold to me a complete chapter of Bob Geldof's life. The book bared everything about him, who is direct, loud-mouthed, button-holing, obscene, compassionate and compelling. Many mistakenly call Bob a musician-turned activist; but the activism in him was born before his love for rock music. He started thinking in an altruistic way to help needy people, as early as in his teens. Let me relate this to some anecdotes from his autobiography.

The author's copy of 'Is That It'
The author's copy of 'Is That It'



Bob's home was where he and his like-minded friends gathered for talks and music. He talked a lot.

Most of his friends said his house wasn't like theirs for there was more freedom, they could do things there they couldn't in their own, because of their parents. But whenever Bob's father was around he insisted to tell his son to change the way he talked for all the shouting. He would provoke it, not for the conversation value, but simply to tease and irritate his son. Most of that time his father opposed to the ideas Bob held true and argued for. One evening he was broke down and crying out of sheer frustration and rage because he couldn't articulate what he wanted to say.

When he was getting tired of sterile argument and protest politics, he decided to understand more and get involved. It was when he began going to the Simon Community, a group of people who took care of the drunks and homeless in Dublin. He joined the group's activity simply preparing soup for the needy people at night. His team would fill flasks hot water and collect fresh breads from the bakeries who liked to help. It was the time Bob came to know firsthand about people who were suffering. But what seemed to him intolerable privations however appeared unnecessary to many in the wealthy section.

Mary was a woman in her early fifties—a tattered and kind woman. She wore a torn knitted woolly hat, a couple of dresses, woolen socks and a dirty beige coat. She lived in a doorway near his house. Bob talked to her for a long time every night, sitting on the doorstep, while she curled up herself inside the porch. He felt disgusting how the owner of the house would step over the poor lady every night and shut the door. "Ah, he's a lovely man," Mary often said. 'Lovely' was what Bob couldn't digest as he was plainly a juvenile Marxist. Though not so 'lovely' it was true the man wasn't bad as he let the woman live on his doorway, while others shooed her off.

Bob brought Mary a blanket one day. He offered her soup at nights. She wasn't ashamed of taking it, but he was ashamed of leaving her there in the depth of freezing winter lying on the tile porch with the lights on inside the house. He said it's not fair to simply blame the governments alone for that. His idea was for everyone to rediscover a sense of individual responsibility for each other. That's why he liked the Simons and continued to help the underprivileged across the globe, using rock music as a voice. Bob never mentioned it, but his song Mary Says sounds something related to poor Mary of the cold winter nights.

It was in September 1981 Bob first performed for a cause at Amnesty International's show 'The Secret Policeman's Other Ball'. His song Do They Know It's Christmas? was written to raise fund for the 1984 famine in Ethiopia; it was recorded by various artists under the brand Band Aid, which subsequently gave birth to Live Aid concert in the following year.

On his visit to Africa in 2004 Bob came to know that more people in the continent were at risk of starvation than had died during the Ethiopian famine. He thus decided to form a new international lobby for Africa with eight international fund-raising concerts under the banner Live 8, with a stark objective to give pressure on the G8 (the inter-governmental political forum of the world's eight major highly industrialised economies).

The Live 8 gigs were scheduled a few days before the world leaders gathered at Gleneagles for the G8 Economics Summit, pulling the attention of the leaders of rich nations towards the issues that burdened Africa—AIDS, hunger, government debts, trade disparities and many others. It was at one of the gigs Pink Floyd performed in original lineup, which brought back Roger Waters into, after a gap of 24 years.

This is how Bob helped the people across the world. His antagonism against Aung San Suu Kyi, who was also given the Freedom of the City of Dublin, is that the Myanmar leader's association with his very own city ashamed him. "There is always a true feeling in everything Bob did or said, which I simply can't ignore," I conclusively told my friends.


* Jyaneswar Laishram wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer can be contacted at ozzyjane(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was posted on December 14, 2017.


* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Folk Dance @ Republic Day #2 : Gallery
  • Fixture : 61st CC Meet Football Tournament
  • Shopping for Shivaratri #2 : Gallery
  • Open letter to Chief Minister of Manipur
  • Civil Engineer @ BETQ Data Analytics
  • National Integration Tour for Children
  • Of sporting spirit & Yaosang festival
  • Slow gradual death of MPP : Its identity
  • Legend of a strong & powerful Koireng man
  • Women's Polo Tournament #5 : Gallery
  • NEROCA FC Vs Aizawl FC #2 : Gallery
  • Atonement of Lost Heart :: Poem
  • Training on Food Processing at Oinam
  • French leave versus friend's leave
  • Being youth: A social-existential perspective
  • Raj to address issue of SC/ST Reservation
  • Sunny side up
  • One year in office : Meaningful slogans
  • Lui-Ngai-Ni @Longmai (TML) #1 : Gallery
  • Death of Guerrilla General Charles Wingate
  • March Past @Republic Day #3 : Gallery
  • Mini-dam at Tuidimjang, Myanmar
  • Tips for facing Board exams
  • Children by the River :: Poem
  • Manipur House : Accommodation in Delhi
  • Mass Anti Drug Rally at Lilong
  • Saroi Khangba #1 : Gallery
  • NEROCA Vs Churchill Brothers #1: Gallery
  • Nationalist Democratic (NDPP) Manifesto
  • Journeying in Lenten season
  • Multidimensionality: Strength of sociology
  • Indo-Naga Talks 2017 :: News Timeline
  • Your mandate for Naga solution: Imkong
  • Impositions on information
  • Centre to fund NE plans fully: DoNER
  • Manipur tops NE in forest conservation
  • Phases of Manipur Culture #1
  • Rengtokung, Rinchonwon :: eMing
  • Brajabashimayum Jugolchandra : Akademi
  • Meetei as General category is wrong
  • Fear :: Poem
  • Cong cracking the PS whip
  • Lodges complaint over threats of KPLF
  • Students embark on integration tour
  • District Sales Manager - Globizs Solutions
  • Keeping doors of the NPF wide open
  • Temples of Manipur : Gallery
  • Thanga Landscape with Loktak : Gallery
  • Imphal Art Camp @Kangla #3 : Gallery
  • On the Question of Nation and Nationality
  • Cry of a Dying River - 18 : Poem
  • Simultaneous election ok, but EVM ?
  • First Balloon Pulmonary Valvotomy perform
  • Free medical health camp by Loktak PS
  • Tomorrow's Manipur
  • Cracking down on traffic violators
  • Hazarika's 'Strangers No More' released
  • Likkon Sanaba @ Lamshang : Gallery
  • Lui-Ngai-Ni : Flash Presentation
  • Shopping for Shivaratri #1 : Gallery
  • Yet it galloped :: Poem
  • Cheirao Ching Kaba & Double Ninth Fest
  • Lui-Ngai-Ni - Seed Sowing Festival
  • Understanding share market as career #2
  • Hope floats
  • Time for SIT to pull up socks
  • Framework shrouded in mystery: NNPGs
  • 2 NE earn 'special mentions' in Forbes list
  • SSS MANIFA @ Kakching : Gallery
  • Sangai Fest: Leima Jagoi : Gallery
  • Shrinking wetland in Manipur
  • Parent cant be replaced by rose on 14 Feb
  • Lifetime award for Salesian Varsity VC
  • Something is terribly wrong: SC to CBI
  • Demand for regulatory over alternate media
  • Are our women safe?
  • Church in electoral politics ?
  • Priority remains unchanged- Shurhozelie
  • Landscape of Loktak Lake #2 : Gallery
  • Sentinel Cup Equestrian #3 : Gallery
  • You Are The Only One- 15 Lightgrey
  • Tribute paid to Guerrilla General- WW-II
  • Customer-centric services in medical
  • Checking noise pollution
  • Tackling the level of noise
  • Final Naga pact to be in Constitution
  • NEROCA FC Vs Aizawl FC #1 : Gallery
  • Khousabung observed 'Black Day' : Gallery
  • Pains :: Poem
  • Sainik Schools under foster care- ironic truth
  • Cattle urine: An alternative to chemical use
  • My lachrymose week at Govt hospital
  • Laiphadibigi Bor :: Funga Wari
  • Imphal Art Camp @Kangla #2 : Gallery
  • NEROCA FC Vs Gokulam #2 : Gallery
  • Turning sunset years into gold
  • T Gwite and his Thanlon Times
  • NPCC for Secular Front
  • Be a leader of the people, as chosen
  • February 27 : 'If elections are held...'
  • Cross border trade resumes in Manipur
  • MaiOn - Scenes #3 :: eRang
  • Rhizome Festival @Thoubal #2 : Gallery
  • Moirangthem Rajen: Akademi Awards 2014
  • MSAD Annual Report 2016-17 : Download
  • Saving Nambul: Need of the hour
  • Lifeless Words :: Poem
  • Ridiculous supposition of TR Zeliang
  • Illegal timber smuggling curbed
  • Act Jiribam policy also matters for Manipur
  • Banning Catholic schools
  • Folk Dance @ Republic Day #1 : Gallery
  • Day 1- Imphal Jamboree #2 : Gallery
  • Manipur Radio- Streaming Android App
  • A song of victory :: Poem
  • Redefining the lingo
  • Learn lessons from your past mistakes
  • Fire at Namphalong Market
  • Beware of middlemen
  • Increasingly polluting Nambul river
  • ACAUT accepts resignations of Chairman
  • Loree Kaju Luita Phanit #1 : Gallery
  • Royal Crematorium at Bangkok #3 : Gallery
  • 1994 batch seek help for Sir Sekaran: DBS
  • 13 Jobs at NIELIT Kolkata [Upd]
  • Biology is Chemistry
  • Recruitment of MIL (Tribal) teachers
  • Corruption at Pravabati College
  • Birth Heart Defect treated
  • The Killing Fields :: News Timeline
  • Back to the hot seat
  • Ambience for education
  • Aribam Chitreswar Sharma : A Profile
  • Sentinel Cup Equestrian #2 : Gallery
  • Election despair in Nagaland
  • Share market as career options
  • Sentinel Cup Equestrian Championship
  • DG Assam Rifles calls on Chief Minister
  • The danger seen in the N. Biren Govt
  • As Feb 27 approaches: High octane drama
  • Singcha Wuya Won @Kamjong #5: Gallery
  • NEROCA FC Vs Gokulam #1 : Gallery
  • Nongthombam Lakshman : Natyabhusan
  • Tableaux @ Republic Day #2 : Gallery
  • Alien at Home
  • Cry of a Dying River - 17 :: Poem
  • Leadership skills for 21st century
  • Task before new MPP president
  • Landscape of Loktak Lake #1 : Gallery
  • Sentinel Cup Equestrian #1 : Gallery
  • Dongkhojam Lunkim: Akademi Award 2014
  • Padmashree L Subadani felicitated
  • Cosmological evolution with baby cosmos
  • Russian wife scam - The perfect crime
  • My Fevered Dream :: Poem
  • Indo-Naga Peace Process :: Articles
  • CCNTHCO decides not to interfere in poll
  • SC recommends names of new CJs
  • Recipients of Akademi Awards for 2014
  • Day 1- Imphal Jamboree #1 : Gallery
  • Heart Foundation financial assistance
  • The cry of a disgruntled citizen
  • Harassment of activists: Pravish's death
  • TSA condemns KPLF/KPLA's diktat
  • Appeal to join Reservation Kalhousi Rally
  • Educating the educators
  • Rejecting boycott call: Delivering a point
  • IISER: Impact of Establishment in Manipur
  • MSAP Sports Meet @ Pune : Gallery
  • March Past @Republic Day #2 : Gallery
  • Wetlands: Why we should care ?
  • World Wetlands Day: Decommission Ithai
  • MSAP Sports Meet & elections held
  • NPF to abide by principle of democracy
  • Chairman, SC/ST Orgs visit Manipur
  • Pollution pangs
  • Nagaland BJP in a fix : Catch-22 situation
  • Rongmeikai & Langbung: Manipuri Folktale
  • State Kala Akademi Award, 2014 : Gallery
  • Imphal Jamboree by Global Shapers
  • Architecture as a career
  • Towards positive change; let's win together
  • Training for NSS Program Officer concluded
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Cooperation rather than conflict
  • Imphal Evening: Promoting nightlife
  • Total lunar eclipse of January 31, 2018
  • February Calendar for Year 2018 :: Tools
  • Women's Polo Tournament #4 : Gallery
  • The other half :: Poem
  • Towards a final Framework Agreement
  • Don't wanna miss the Misses
  • Job @Ascend Institute of Training
  • President of Natl Higher Education Body
  • Technology to the rescue
  • Heading towards Central rule : Nagaland
  • Indigenous Game of Wrestling: Gallery
  • List of MLA (Jan 2018) #2 : Gallery
  • Tableaux @ Republic Day #1 : Gallery
  • Joint Indo Myanmar Cleanliness Drive
  • CM's cash awards for toppers
  • Ichangi Laidhi #2 :: eRang
  • Gaan Ngai @ Ragailong #2 : Gallery
  • Reporting in Conflict Situation #2
  • Meetei Chanu 2017 #4 : Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Emoinu Khoiramba @Koubru #3: Gallery
  • Lafoi Shamda puthorkpa #2 : Gallery
  • Imoinu Erat Thouni #3: Gallery
  • Time Table - Class XII Exam 2018
  • Time Table - Class XI Exam 2018
  • Maring: Kummui Chaa-um : Gallery
  • Time Table - HSLC Exam 2018
  • Front Page Photo #6: Gallery
  • Calendar for the Year 2018 :: e-pao Tools
  • Restricted Holidays 2018 : Govt of Manipur
  • Public Holidays 2018 : Govt of Manipur
  • General Holidays 2018 : Govt of Manipur
  • Manipur Sangai Festival 2016 #7 : Ooba
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic
  • SPONSORED ADS