Janet Street-Porter: Oh no, not another big charity concert

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The Independent Online

Today sees the publication of Lord Stevens' report into the circumstances surrounding the car crash which killed Princess Diana, and yesterday her sons announced a memorial service and a pop concert at Wembley next summer to mark the 10th anniversary of her death.

There is no doubt the Princess carried out a large amount of work for charities. More important, she knew how to use her high profile and status to help causes, such as Aids, which previously had a certain stigma attached to them. The first member of the Royal Family to kiss and cuddle someone who was HIV positive, she may have been unstable, neurotic and self-obsessed, but she was determined to lend her support to the underdog and the less fortunate.

The Princess was beamed on to television screens around the world in 1985, dancing away in her seat at Live Aid with Prince Charles at her side looking rather uncomfortable. It was her kind of event - she enjoyed the company of pop stars and the famous, and revelled in the attention. I attended the reception after the rain-lashed opera concert in Hyde Park, and starry middle-aged men like Luciano Pavarotti and Michael Caine were bowled over by Diana as she toured the after-show party with wet hair and streaky mascara.

She came up to me and asked me to "please help me help people with Aids", something I always have done (and didn't need a prod from her). But you could say that one word from a princess probably raises more money than 50 from a journalist, no matter how strongly we might feel.

There was also the slightly disconcerting juxtaposition of a lifestyle involving luxury yachts and suites at the Ritz, followed by flying visits to show support for Mother Teresa in Calcutta. The Princess was an avid consumer of fashion - let's not deny that. No matter what Mr Burrell might say, she didn't exactly live the simple life. She was a mass of contradictions - we all are - but nevertheless remains an iconic figure to many people.

To honour the good things about her life and what she achieved, what could have been more appropriate than a series of memorial concerts held simultaneously in a dozen of our great cathedrals? Is a lavish pop extravaganza at the new Wembley Stadium, featuring everyone from Elton John to Joss Stone, really such a great idea? I have my doubts. The event will raise millions for some of the charities the Princess supported, but why can't we just hand over our donations without the show? Unfortunately, in the 21 years since Live Aid, pop musicians have increasingly allied playing their music at huge concerts with charitable causes. I don't think the end result benefits either the charities or quality of music, to be honest. The only thing a big event does is shift a lot of records - that's why artists rush to be included.

Musicians like Bob Geldof and Bono now rub shoulders with politicians and address governments about matters of policy. Neither was elected to office by voters. And only last week, Razorlight and the Scissor Sisters announced a series of global pop concerts to raise money for clean water for the world's most deprived people.

Pop music is increasingly being emasculated in the name of charity - and we seem unable to put our hands in our pockets or write a cheque unless we can eat a burger and sit in a vast stadium staring at a bunch of artists the size of matchstick men in the distance. Whatever happened to just being born with a conscience?

Who do you think you're kidding?

Naomi Campbell feels victimised! On eight or nine occasions over the past decade, people have claimed she has demonstrated a short temper and a tendency to chuck something first and think afterwards. Recently the London police decided not to take further action over allegations that she had attacked her drugs counsellor. In New York the Tempestuous One faces charges of assaulting a maid with a mobile phone, and could be jailed if convicted. Naomi's version is rather different - she told Sky News she's so scared people may claim she's attacked them, she cannot risk being alone in a room with anyone. You could look at this from another perspective. Most of us might not choose to be in a room with Naomi, especially if she's had a bad day and has a mobile in her hand...

* Linguists at Lancaster University have discovered that teenagers really do speak like Vicky Pollard. They found that teenagers use a vocabulary that's just half as big as that of people aged 25 to 34. And guess what? Their three favourite words are "yeah", "no" and "but", which crop up about twice as often as for other age groups. The boffin who compiled the report had to read through 10 million words contained in internet blogs by teenagers - I'm amazed he kept his sanity. He comments that the young use language in an "adversarial" way - no surprises there. In my day we simply sent our parents to Coventry, refusing to speak to them for days on end, communicating when absolutely unavoidable with a curt grunt. Poor Zara Phillips is not much of an advert for a private education and blue blood - when she received the Sportswoman of the Year award the other night, her vocabulary seemed completely threadbare, consisting mainly of the word "amazing" repeated endlessly as a kind of monotonous mantra.

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