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One can hardly have failed to notice

the explosion in recent years of the

fund-raising power of pop. Fife Aid.

taking place in Craigtoun Park near

Saint Andrews over the weekend of 23 and 24 July. and the (‘ND benefit

scheduled for 6 August at Edinburgh‘s Murrayfield stadium.

are only the newest events in a trend

that reached its apogee at Wembley Stadium hang in the middle of the Eighties. when Live Aid turned the developed world into an extended.

generous family linked by the magic of television ~ or a bottomless pocket

to be mined by cheap sentiment.

depending on your point ofview. All

that was needed was a television set

and a moderate donation to share in

that global moment. Small wonder that the spirit of Woodstock was evoked time and again in America. where hippy ideals of love and togetherness have died hard in the hearts of those who were young in

the Sixties and now. facing (at least)

their second marriages. second mortgages and second chins. wish

they were still there. As far as

goes. large-scale televised charity events are less risky than LSD. Revolutionary rhetoric having long

given way to the yuppie explosion. the exhausted idealism ofthe Summer Of Love would seem to have swung back and in an

expression ofconcern for all manner

ofhumanitarian causes. especially among those in the pop world who

always believed that music could be

more than just about having a good


The new role of popular music.

although it was always a form which

idolised the outsider and the

underdog. could be compared to that ofBatman. swooping in when all else

fails. raising a lot ofcash and a very

high public profile fora short while.

then returning to the secret identity as millionaire playboy.

The re's scarcely a ca use around that hasn‘t been patronised by the pops. ()ne organisation that has benefitted greatly from the active involvement is Amnesty

International. an avowedly apolitical

organisation dedicated to pressurising governments around the globe to free their political prisoners. ofall pcrsuasions. and particularly popular with U2 (who found Amnesty 100.000 new memberson their last US tour). Peter Gabriel and Simple Minds. who endorse them heartily and promote their works whenever possible. distributing thousands of handbills at every concert. urging fans to join up and write letters to heads ofstate demanding the prisoners unfairly jailed.

Amnesty International workers

require great patience. but ‘Sun City“

was the sound of patience running