BOB GELDOF

Re­nais­sance man is play­ing live at the Ir­ish Vil­lage, Dubai tonight. By Nick Alatti

Friday - - Leisure Charts -

Pop singer, hu­man­i­tar­ian, ac­tivist, busi­ness­man… Bob Geldof’s life has been one of con­stant rein­ven­tion. It has also been a life laced with tragedy, with the shock­ingly un­timely deaths of his wife Paula Yates in 2000 and daugh­ter Peaches last year. In fact, Bob is still mourn­ing the loss of 25-yearold TV per­son­al­ity and model daugh­ter Peaches and has spo­ken mov­ingly about the “in­tol­er­a­ble pain” he felt and how he felt “re­spon­si­ble” for it as her fa­ther.

One of Bob’s cop­ing strate­gies has been live per­for­mances with his band, The Boom­town Rats, and as a solo artist. It is as the lat­ter that Bob finds him­self per­form­ing in Dubai tonight at the Ir­ish Vil­lage – mark­ing St Pa­trick’s Day, now a world­wide cel­e­bra­tion of the Emer­ald Isle’s rich cul­tural and artis­tic her­itage.

In an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view with , he says, “Ev­ery­one can join in – we all need a St Paddy’s Day.

“I once saw a New York po­lice­man on duty at the New York City St Pa­trick’s Day pa­rade. He had a sham­rock in his cap and a big badge say­ing ‘To­day I’m Ir­ish and Proud!’ It was un­likely he was ei­ther but Paddy’s Day [is] a day of in­ter­na­tional fun cen­tred around the Ir­ish no­tion of “the craic”, which is Gaelic for hav­ing a laugh. It’s not a bad thing to cel­e­brate. I love do­ing this gig.”

Bob grew up just out­side Dublin in the sea­side town of Dún Laoghaire. Af­ter a brief flir­ta­tion with rock jour­nal­ism, he be­came the lead singer of The Boom­town Rats, a band that bor­rowed some of the at­ti­tudes of the punk rock move­ment in 1970s Bri­tain but were unashamedly main­stream.

They hit the top of the charts in the UK twice with and

. Doubt­less, Geldof’s band will be in­clud­ing th­ese two hits but mu­si­cally his solo out­put is more ma­ture and less breath­less than the Rats. “The two bands are com­pletely dif­fer­ent,” he says. “Dif­fer­ent songs, sen­si­bil­ity and of course play­ers.”

De­spite his com­mer­cial suc­cess, Bob’s lyrics have al­ways been pep­pered with sharp so­cial com­men­tary and he laments the decline of the protest song in popular mu­sic. “Pop mu­sic is too safe th­ese days,” he re­marks.

“But that is be­cause pop no longer has the cen­tral role in the cul­ture that it once had. So­cial me­dia has re­placed that.”

When the hits dried up for Rats in the 80s, Bob rechan­neled his en­ergy and ef­forts as well as his con­sid­er­able pow­ers of per­sua­sion into fight­ing poverty and famine in Africa. He brought to­gether some of the 1980s big­gest pop stars such as Boy Ge­orge and Bono un­der the ban­ner of Band Aid for the sem­i­nal fundrais­ing record

; a song re­cently rere­corded by some of to­day’s mu­sic stars in­clud­ing Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith. It’s one of the myr­iad of achieve­ments that earned him a knight­hood in 1986. But Bob, now 63, has never been one for pub­licly ac­knowl­edg­ing his ef­forts. “I’m not re­ally proud of any­thing I’ve done,” he says. “It’s just stuff.”

Bob lost his daugh­ter Peaches to tragic cir­cum­stances

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