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Monday, 13 July 2020


Available for freelance writing commissions on a variety of subjects including family history, nostalgic Belfast and its famous people, shops, shoppers & shopping (40 years in retailing), the golden age of Hollywood (including westerns) and humorous pieces on life's weird and wonderful. Op-eds, columns, non-fiction book reviews too. & @JoeCushnan

I have a portfolio of features, reviews, poetry and short fiction published in all sorts of places - Belfast Telegraph, Tribune, Ireland's Own, Dalhousie Review, Fairlight Books, Reader's Digest, Reality, Lapwing Poetry, Ink, Sweat & Tears, Spillwords, Dear Reader, Amethyst Review, to name a selection.  Oh, and the odd BBC radio contribution. I wrote a book on retailing, on dealing with job losses and a biography of Stephen Boyd.

This is a series of very short items that have nothing to do with the current news agenda.  Swift diversions for a moment or two.

Apropos of Nothing #84 – 13 July 1985 

On Saturday 13 July, 1985, Live Aid benefit concerts took place at Wembley Stadium, London and the John F. Kennedy Stadium, Philadelphia.  Following an idea from Boy George, it was organised by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure to raise funds for relief of a severe famine in Ethiopia.

The total amount of money raised by Live Aid varies across different reports but it is suggested that more than £150 million was donated.  There was and is controversy over where the money went and how much was stolen by corrupt politicians. and governments. But there is confidence that a substantial amount reached people who were in desperate need.

The concerts were triggered by a BBC news report from Michael Buerk who described what he saw in Ethiopia as ‘a biblical famine in the twentieth-century’ and ‘the closest thing to hell on Earth’.

Prior to the concerts, Geldof and Ure pulled together a supergroup called Band Aid – including Bono, Phil Collins, Boy George, George Michael, Sting, Paul Weller, Status Quo, Queen, etc. – to record a single - Do They Know It’s Christmas? - which went straight to number one and stayed there for five weeks.

The global television audience for Live Aid was over 1.5 billion people in 160 countries, making it the biggest live broadcast in history.

Sources: Various

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