I have been spending a lot of time with my eldest niece on this holiday weekend. While she is from North Carolina, she chose to come to college in Wisconsin, near her grandparents and me. (For the record, the kid loves snow, which amuses me to no end!) All day yesterday she begged and pleaded to listen to Christmas music. Normally, my parents would not have gone for that, believing it is way too early to start thinking about that holiday, but they indulged her request by listening to hours of Christmas music while we played games.
Of course, I could not let the opportunity go by to educate her on Band-Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas,” which led to more discussion about Live Aid. As the conversation continued, it reminded me of something I have heard John Taylor speak of before, which is how Live Aid divided the decade. Before Band-Aid and Live Aid, artists were basically out there, having fun without worrying too much about the world’s problems. Afterwards, it wasn’t cool not to care anymore as many artists who were more socially conscious began to find themselves in the spotlight more and more. I have always agreed with John Taylor on this point and then moved on. Now, though, based on the conversation with my niece and this idea, I wonder how much it not only changed the music world of the 80s but me.
Like many of you, I was a die-hard Duranie in 1984 and simply couldn’t get enough. I lived, breathed and slept Duran Duran (as much as my parents would let me, anyway). I remember Band-Aid coming out and how cool I thought the song was and found myself in love with the idea that it was to help people. I was 9 at the time. I thought it was so great, in fact, that I distinctly remember trying to tell kids at school about it during lunch time with little luck. Even as I type that, I feel myself getting frustrated just as I did then. Why didn’t they get it, I wondered. Didn’t they see that it was super important to do something to help the starving people in Ethiopia? I should have known right then that I was different. Now, I understand that the kids at my lunch table weren’t jerks but they were kids with more fun things on their minds.
Now, Band-Aid and Live Aid didn’t immediately push me into action. (Again, I was around the age of 10.) Yet, I believe it stuck with me. I saw this band I loved having fun in the 1980s and I witnessed them do something to help others. What an awesome way to live, I thought! I wanted to be just like them in really every respect I could think of, whether that was to be smart, articulate, well-dressed and more. It also meant that I should try to have this combination of compassion and fun.
Looking at my life now, with Band-Aid and Live Aid more than 30 years ago, I think I do try to live my life that exact way. I went into teaching, a service profession. I spend my “free” time working on causes that I believe will help people. That said, I still love to have fun. Funny enough, that fun usually surrounds time on tour, seeing Duran Duran perform live. I like to think that I apply what I learned from Duran Duran in 1984 and 1985. Now, on that note, let’s watch a little Band-Aid ourselves to get us in the giving spirit of the season: