REVIEW / Having a ball with Geldof in Goondiwindi

WHEN we have a Prime Minister who is younger than anyone in the rhythm section of the Rolling Stones, you have to conclude that pop music has grown up. If you could put a date on it, the coming of age happened when a profession hitherto associated with sex, drugs and hotel furniture rearrangement performed an acrobatic volte-face by advising us to re-route our spare cash towards a drought in East Africa. Since Live Aid, the largest and most widely broadcast rock concerts have been celebrations of conscience.

The news still hasn't reached the Australian outback. In the extraordinary Geldof Goes Goondiwindi (C4) the high priest of global selflessness took his toothbrush sideburns to the back end of a place beyond nowhere, the home of several million sheep and the chosen few whose sacred task it is to shear them. There has been a three-year drought in Queensland (scientists have yet to discover the means of irrigating land with beer), but this film did not portray a society in need of, or indeed deserving, the rock community's beneficence. They asked Saint Bob to come anyway and, two days after he left, it rained for three days.

'Gob Beldof', as one grateful ballgoer called him, was performing at Goondiwindi's annual Bachelor and Spinster Ball. He obviously said he'd only come if he could film it too, astutely spotting that there was a chance here for a concert video that would also be a work of anthropology. The main pleasure for the viewer was in congratulating yourself that you weren't there. If the Australian Tourist Board had had a veto, it's likely you wouldn't even have been watching.

According to one old Goondiwindian, the Ball apparently started out as 'a highly chaperoned event' designed to assemble lonely Outbackers who knew only family and flock. One of the guests had clearly shrugged off his chaperone because he welcomed the crew by head-butting the camera lens. Two more revellers greeted each other by a little known local ritual of spewing a mouthful of beer at each other from a range of approximately seven millimetres. These people make their compatriot Merv Hughes look as outgoing as Howard Hughes. Through a fog of hops came an exegesis of the event's liberal code of conduct: 'You can't sort of get kicked out that easily, because you're already out, aren't you?' Move over, Wittgenstein.

While all let their hair down, some also let their trousers down, in the time- honoured manner first mentioned by Chaucer, and emphatically aired the contents. It forced you to contemplate the possibility of an etymological connection between 'colony' and 'colon'. And to think that the ancestors of these people thought it was their job to civilise this barren land.

If they were into word play, the Goondiwindians would probably have renamed the visit of a saint in a flowery suit as 'The Unforgettaball', except that no one seemed to remember much about the night before. They should have been watching Unforgettable (BBC 1), a short educational series about brushing up your memory.

When it wants to be didactic at peak time, the BBC has a new policy of calling in a comedian to read the script, which is another way of saying: 'Warning: this programme can cause boredom'. As the point seems to be to maximise the incongruity between presenter and subject, soon we'll doubtless be offered Jim Davidson on safe sex or Bernard Manning on healthy eating. Alexei Sayle has just done a series on road safety; this time it's Greg Proops's turn to spend 10 minutes in a no- gag zone.

We've now had two parts to Unforgettable and this columnist can't remember much about them. We met a man who has memorised the Blackpool phone book, which is obviously useful information to have at your fingertips. And we met the recent Mastermind champion who won despite meeting the question 'Which London football club is nicknamed the Gunners?' with a look of blank astonishment. Some things you just don't need to know.

Arts and Entertainment
Wonder.land Musical by Damon Albarn

Theatre

Arts and Entertainment

Film review

Arts and Entertainment
Innocent victim: Oli, a 13-year-old from Cornwall, featured in ‘Kids in Crisis?’
TV review
News
Northern exposure: social housing in Edinburgh, where Hassiba now works in a takeaway
books An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop
Arts and Entertainment
Terminator Genisys: Arnie remains doggedly true to his word as the man who said 'I'll be back', returning once more to protect Sarah Connor in a new instalment

 

film review
Arts and Entertainment

festivals
Arts and Entertainment

Final Top Gear review

TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty and Carl Barat perform at Glastonbury 2015

music
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Richie performs live on the Pyramid stage during the third day of Glastonbury Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
Buying a stairway to Hubbard: the Scientology centre in Los Angeles
film review Chilling inside views on a secretive church
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Williamson, left, and Andrew Fearn of Sleaford Mods
musicYou are nobody in public life until you have been soundly insulted by Sleaford Mods
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dew (Jess) in Bend It Like Beckham The Musical
theatreReview: Bend It Like Beckham hits back of the net on opening night
Arts and Entertainment
The young sea-faring Charles Darwin – seen here in an 1809 portrait – is to be portrayed as an Indiana Jones-style adventurer
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

    Is this the future of flying?

    Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
    Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

    Isis are barbarians

    but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
    The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

    Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

    Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
    Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

    'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

    Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
    Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

    Call of the wild

    How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

    Africa on the menu

    Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
    10 best statement lightbulbs

    10 best statement lightbulbs

    Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
    Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

    It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
    Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

    Dustin Brown

    Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
    Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test