MUSICIAN AND artist Brian Eno, who supports the charity War Child, says that pop stars who give generously to charities are frequently misunderstood.

' I HAVE also been there, pouring scorn on those egocentric compassionates who make themselves feel better by "helping out people" about whom they know nothing. At the time of Live Aid I spent a lot of time saying why I thought it had been misconceived and was likely to do more harm than good.

I was severely taken to task and since then I have noticed how attitudes like the ones I used to hold discourage people from getting involved. A lot of people quite reasonably wouldn't want to put up with the relentless sneering.

Linda McCartney, for example, sent 22 tons of her vegetarian burger mix to Sarajevo (then under siege) via War Child. She was adamant that the gift should be anonymous, probably because she knew the English press would crucify her for it. The implications of the criticisms were: she did it only for the publicity; she just wants to make herself feel better for being so rich; she wants to convert the world to Linda-Burgers - it's just marketing; she couldn't get rid of the stuff in Britain.

A few years ago I could have imagined myself thinking the same. But there are things to consider. Does the possibility that someone's motives may be mixed invalidate what they do? If you believe that celebrities shouldn't be doing this kind of thing and you are going to use your public voice to try to embarrass them for it, then perhaps you owe the would-have-been recipients of their largesse at least an explanation.'

n Brian Eno's, 'A Year With Swollen Appendices', is published by Faber and Faber.