BOB’S A LAUGH

Cyprus Today - - OPINION - With Stephen Day

FED up with Brexit? Bored to tears with the dire warn­ings of doom from the Re­main fac­tion? I know I am. Fear not, good old Sir Robert Fred­er­ick Zenon Geldof KBE (Bob Geldof to you and I) has just given us the hearti­est Re­main laugh we have had in some time. He cer­tainly brought tears to my eyes when I re­cently read his “let­ter to Theresa May”. I was in hys­ter­ics. I couldn’t stop laugh­ing. I ached.

For­get the Re­main MPs, Theresa has got Bob on her back now, sup­ported by Sting (well he would, now, wouldn’t he), Rita Ora (who?), Da­mon Al­barn (no sur­prise there), Ed Sheeran and oth­ers. The PM must be quak­ing in her leop­ard spot shoes at the thought of such in­tel­lec­tual clout be­ing brought to bear on Brexit.

In re­port­ing Sir Bob, the UK’s Ob­server news­pa­per head­lined “Imag­ine Bri­tain with­out its mu­sic”. What? No more Boom­town Rats? (That might be a bless­ing.) No, it’s more se­ri­ous even than that. A “botched” Brexit (he re­ally means any kind of Brexit) “will leave the Bri­tish mu­sic in­dus­try si­lenced”, he says. I see. The £94 bil­lion his in­dus­try thank­fully gen­er­ates for Bri­tain “will be crit­i­cally dam­aged” (he omits to say why).

Yes, Bob, af­ter Brexit, you might need a visa to play in EU coun­tries and be big in Ger­many, where most faded rock stars seem to end up (pity he hasn’t). Oh yes, and don’t worry about EU warn­ings of the planes stop­ping fly­ing, Bob — if they do, it will be your ad­mired EU bu­reau­crats that do it, not the UK. What’s the bet­ting, af­ter Brexit, he will fly just as eas­ily as ev­ery­one did be­fore the UK joined the EU, a mere 45 years ago?

As for the rest of the “global” mu­sic mar­ket, Brexit will open it up even more to his mu­si­cal “tal­ents” (pro­vided he keeps his mouth shut, which I ad­mit might be a prob­lem for him). He’ll be able to sing “I don’t like Brexit” (sorry, I mean “Mon­days”) to his heart’s con­tent, from New York to New Delhi. That’s what Brexit is all about, Bob, “global Bri­tain” rul­ing it­self and mak­ing its own trade deals, even in mu­sic. Just like we used to. Fancy that.

He says his in­dus­try’s “global suc­cess” can be traced back to the Bea­tles. Cor­rect (for once). Let’s con­sider that. I seem to rec­ol­lect that the Bea­tles formed in 1960 and broke up in 1970. Now, let me think, when was it the UK joined the Com­mon Mar­ket, un­spo­ken fore­run­ner of the EU we were “conned “into join­ing? That was 1973, wasn’t it? Yes, it was. Funny that. All that suc­cess glob­ally and no EU. Well I never. How on earth did all those mu­si­cians that fol­lowed the Bea­tles to the US, like the Stones for in­stance, ever man­age to do it with­out the EU? It’s a mir­a­cle, isn’t it?

Bob might be loudly “ac­tive” in most things other than mu­sic these days, but he is al­ways pre­dictable. He tells Theresa that he is “com­mit­ted to a demo­cratic vote” on Brexit. Is he re­ally? I thought we had one, Bob, in 2016; on June 23, to be pre­cise. No, he means a “peo­ple’s vote” (in other words a chance to get it “right” next time). Who does Bob think voted that day — the lep­rechauns?

I sug­gest Theresa looks at some of Bob’s Boom­town Rats hits to give her a clue as to what he is re­ally on about. Look­ing af­ter No 1 (1977)? Pos­si­bly (all their hits were in the late ’70s and ’80s when we were in the EU, so that might ex­plain it — lit­tle else can). Rat Trap (1978)? (That’s what he thinks Brexit is.) Or per­haps Ba­nana Re­pub­lic (1981)? (Which is what the EU in­creas­ingly looks like.) Who knows?

Sorry, Bob, your let­ter is a joke and if it were in­ten­tional, it would be quite a good one. Sadly, it’s not.

He did a great job with Live Aid, it was a won­der­ful event, for a good cause, but that was way back in 1985 and let’s face it, it res­cued the Boom­town Rats from ob­scu­rity, didn’t it? Oh, and one other thing. He couldn’t have done it with­out the thank­fully more ret­i­cent Midge Ure, of Ul­travox fame, the for­got­ten Live Aid or­gan­iser. He’s still mak­ing great al­bums, like Orches­trated, for in­stance. Why doesn’t Bob do the same? Has com­edy be­come his nat­u­ral forte?

Most of the ex­cel­lent mu­si­cians who have put their names to Bob’s let­ter can be found in my mu­sic col­lec­tion. Their opin­ions on Brexit are no more im­por­tant than mine or any­body else’s. Nei­ther are Bob’s. Bri­tish mu­sic IS an as­set to the UK econ­omy and Brexit will have NO IM­PACT on it what­so­ever. Its suc­cess is global al­ready, not re­stricted by the EU. That is the point, Bob. Now, where did I put that Boom­town Rats hit?

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