Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
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08/29/2005: "What do critics know anyway?"

A bunch of critics are talking about how bad coldplay sounded last night at the VMA's but any idiot could tell it was Chris Martin's mic; you could barely hear him over the band and he was really having to strain to be heard. Leave em alone!

Sorry, I know that's not really relevant to anything, except that I was thinking about all the charity work the group does, traveling with Oxfam, donating a lot of money, promoting the Make Trade Fair cause at their concerts etc. I think of all the frivolous spending I've been doing and sure, I don't make millions of dollars but I am better off than most the world's population. I finally decided to increase my "charitable giving" by signing up with Oxfam's "Pledge Partner's program where they charge your tax exempt donation onto your credit card each month.

Oxfam started the "Make Trade Fair" campaign, they're a trustworthy, low overhead organization doing a lot around the globe to end extreme poverty. Someone posted here awhile back that campaigns like this don't really help or change anything, but tell that to the family that gets food, or a new school, or a medical clinic. It makes a difference to them. And if everyone who is fortunate to make a decent wage just gave a little, then it could *really* make a difference.

Replies: 12 Comments

on Monday, August 29th, Kasia said

I do agree that giving even little money makes a difference! I also try to help! I support "Viva programme", which takes care about horses, who are transported from Poland, Ukraine to Italy. The way they are treated is so bad.
And in Poland once a year in January we have a huge charity "show" called The Great Orchestra of Christmas Help". They collect money for children with different diseases ans it's a big event in the whole country. There are concerts, tv programmes, radio auditions etc.
If I were extremely rich I would join much more organizations like "Greenpeace", "Amnesty International", "Fresh Air Fund". It's good that people like Chris Martin and Bono do not forget about the rest of the world! Like pop stars! Hey, maybe that stupid bi Britney will write a mother's guide? That would be at least funny.

on Monday, August 29th, Joan said

Isn't Oxfam the organization we associated with in school when we did the day "famine?" I remember sitting in the grade school basement burning my mouth on hot chicken broth for lunch. Looking back, it doesn't seem like much of a sacrifice, but I imagine it would be to an adolescent belly.

I think the more we would all understand how truly blessed we are - if you're reading this, you can afford a computer and internet service (most likely) - and I bet you didn't sacrifice anything for it. I know I didn't; we could certainly pony up a few bucks (or more) to help others.

More and more I am, I don't know the word, maybe "flooded" with the idea of my "littleness" in the world and the entire history. It really helps to put things in perspective. We must put out the hand to others. It just makes sense. And I am no pop star, just little old me sitting in central Nebraska.

A challenge has been issued: How have you helped another today?

on Monday, August 29th, Elise said

That "Great Orchestra of Christmas Help" sounds wonderful Kasia. At the holidays, people are feeling more generous, too bad people can't work that hard at helping people all year usually takes a holiday or a natural disaster to rouse us.

And I forgot all about that Joan, but you're right, that probably was Oxfam!

I've had the same feelings of not making a difference and it has really been bothering me lately.

But I am also feeling more and more like there *are* things that I can do everday to make the world a little better.

I mean, all I had to do in order to fit the Oxfam pledge partner thing into my budget was give up a $75 dollar a month gym membership. Wow, what a hardship!

on Tuesday, August 30th, Dio said

I must admit I can't stand that snide little hypocritical snot from Coldplay. He rants on about fairtrade and shit whilst being supported by an evil and greedy corporation. Its the same right-on idiocy that made Live Aid 2 a shambolic epic of self delusion.

Musically I do sometimes like what Coldplay do, but the second he starts singing I lose all interest in them. His lyrics are dire and obvious to the point that on occasions I've been able to guess whole next lines before hearing them.

A long time back I was toying with the idea of starting a site called 'Donate Coldplay A Decent Lyric' but never got around to it. One day maybe. :D

I'll go away and expect a clip around-the-earole anytime now. :)

on Tuesday, August 30th, greg said

But hey Dio - even Rage Against The Machine "sold out" by making - I would term a smart move - contract with a big corp.

I suppose in these cases I'm happy for any musician to be heard by more folks than can be supported by their website and work of mouth. Esp. in the US where it's so vast a market.

Take U2 ... There's a band that NEVER should have made it! They've been my fav since '81. I never would have heard "Boy" a year after it came out without Island records.

I know its a trade off and a compromise, but the music is worth it!

Elise - I belive OXFAM to one of the best global charities. I also recommend Doctors without Borders, and Amnesty Int'l! :)

on Tuesday, August 30th, Elise said

I don’t know Dio, have you read some of the Beatles lyrics? She loves me yah yah yah… I mean, when they first started out their lyrics and chord progressions were simplistic, if you think about it, Coldplay has only been around for a few years, I’m willing to give them time to get their lyrics up to speed with what they’re doing instrumentally (which I think is very good). And really, lyrics don’t have to be incomprehensible to be good. Take the chorus from “The Scientist”:

Nobody said it was easy
Oh it’s such a shame for us to part
Nobody said it was easy
Nobody said it would be so hard
Oh take me back to the start

Now, not complicated lyrics to be sure but it hits on such a universal feeling.

And, on the point about corporations, first of all, they got big fast with a record deal after they’d only been a band a couple years…plus they were really young and that was before they got involved with Oxfam and fair trade.

Since then Chris Martin has spoken out against EMI saying it was a shame that his music was bringing so much money to a greedy corporation but…they’re locked into a deal with them and they *are* allowing (as Greg mentioned) Coldplay to get their music out to the masses.

And through the power of their popularity and their sold-out shows they are reaching a lot of people, giving out pamphlets about fair trade, spreading awareness, donating 10% of their earnings to charity, plus Chris Martin has traveled around the world to see how fair trade can impact developing nations.

I think, ok, they’re still millionaires and all, they could be doing more…but what about all the rich fuckers who don’t do a damn thing to help anyone? At least they’re trying and with all the money they’re making, that 10% has probably really done a lot of good in the world.

If you haven’t seen their DVD “Coldplay Live 2003” you really should. I wasn’t a big fan until I saw them live and watched the behind the scenes bits. You could see immediately how authentic they were, and how much they cared about their music and each other.

They aren’t perfect but who is? Here’s a bit from an interview with Chris Martin:

"Is there a reason why Coldplay lyrics don't really reflect your political beliefs? Do you like to keep music and politics separate?"

CM: "There's no conscious reason, that's just how they come out. One day, that might change, but we really can't tell. I think we often take the easy route of singing about girls."

So, there is some self awareness there. And I can empathize. I have very intense personal and political beliefs but you’d never guess it from viewing my artwork. Maybe someday it will but it has to been when that’s what the muse is feeling. You can’t force it, if you do it comes off looking (or sounding) all wrong.

Personally, the bottom line for me is how does their music make me feel? And the answer is...complicated. Because some songs make me feel amazing and others are so sad but hell, I love the way they *sound* and the fact they can make me feel anything at all is something!

Oh, and part of why CM sounded off at the VMA's may have something to do with the fact he's been having vocal chord problems from touring fatigue.

on Tuesday, August 30th, Dio said

Thing is though Elise, this whole Fairtrade deal is smoke and mirrors. Its another consumerist ploy to make us feel good about are selves as we rape the planet.

Ask yourself. Do we need to fly Mangetout from Kenya, irrespective of how much the farmers get paid?

Its all the more richer when the you consider the fact that we're paying premiums on food we don't need, transporting them miles and burning through fossil fuels in the process when farmers in the country practically have to sell the daily essentials like milk and eggs for 0 profit?

The whole balance is out of kilter, this whole Fairtrade and Third World Poverty thing is taking the focus on the real problems in the world. We ain't going to go down because a few farmers in Kenya are explioted - its the fact we live a livestyle the makes us believe we need mangetout from Kenya.

So Chris is jetting around the world feeling good about himself as he checks on some farmers clamouring to get the same home comforts that are killing us and the planet. Its also known he drives around London in a petrol guzzling 4x4 - and his wife is no better. I'd happily donate 10% of a fortune to make myself feel better about stinking rich.

I'm sorry - it doesn't wash - its hypocritical and its typical of these people. They're not helping the problem, they are the problem. :D

I'm no saint, its easy for me to pontificate as I sit here in comfort. So I'm as guilty - I realise that. But I do try to avoid doing stuff that pollutes the planet, despite the fact everyone else rushes around in a headlong dash to waste our resources.

Its like pissing in the wind, but everyday I turn off the computers my colleagues have left on, or walk rather than take the car - I'm trying to do my bit.

And I'm not a Beatles fan either. I'll stop rambling and pontificating now :D

on Tuesday, August 30th, Elise said

What the hell are Mangetouts?
Look Dio, I understand that the world is basically fucked, but it's easy for people like you and I who already have the good life to say "if everyone consumed at the level we do the world couldn't sustain us all". It's good you're trying to do your bit, but Chris is trying as well and I don't think he should be criticized for being a hypocrite. There are WAY WAY WAY more rich assholes who aren't hypocrites simply because in order to be a hypocrite you at least have to purport to believe in something. Most people don't even try to fake concern...and I think his concern is real, despite his 4x4.

I mean, people are still going to want their morning cups of coffee so why not buy from companies that are helping to raise other communities out of poverty?

No one ever does anything that is 100% altruistic anyway. If you donate money or volunteer (or turn off your co-worker's computers) you're doing it because it makes *you* feel better and what's wrong with feeling better? Most people are too self-absorbed and stupid to give a second thought about where their food comes from or how many people get fucked over to put mangetout on their plates.

Besides, the whole make trade fair thing was started by Oxfam, they are working to improve the lives of millions of people around the world...tell them that their efforts are nothing but smoke and mirrors.

And more importantly, what's the alternative? People are already campaigning for public transportation, energy conservation, Community Supported Agriculture etc. but the global market is all about supply and demand. The demand isn't going away but forcing multinationals to play a little fairer is at least something.

In the mean time. I'm just going to enjoy their music, and try to "live simply so that others may simply live."

And you don't like the Beatles! What kind of Brit are you??? Must be the Welsh thing.

on Wednesday, August 31st, Dio said

Haha - I didn't realise liking the Beatles was a prerequisite for being a Brit.

I don't know about it making me feel better. It makes me feel madder, not better - but there's nothing wrong with feeling better. :D

on Wednesday, August 31st, Dio said

Oh yes, Mangetout are peas (still in the pod). Not long ago had an advertising campaign about how they're fly them in fresh from Kenya that just drove me potty everytime it came on. :crazy:

on Wednesday, August 31st, Elise said

I read somewhere that Charlotte Church (from Cardiff right?) hates the Beattles too (and thinks Coldplay are wimps) oh, and also said Dylan is a freak! I can understand (sort of) the other two...but DYLAN! Come on!!!

Oh, and peas being flown in fresh from Kenya, yah, that is pretty disgusting...of course, where I live almost everything has to be flown in (or comes on big belching barges) because of the no roads thing, and because we don't have any local farms or ranchers. I think about that all the time and it really bothers me. I guess I could learn to hunt bear!

on Thursday, September 1st, Elise said

And, you can read in this article that Coldplay is also planting new forests and protecting old ones as part of conservation well as trying to help out local communities...