It’s not that there’s anything inherently wrong with charity, or with selling a specific product to raise funds for a specific cause. (Well, actually, there are some interesting arguments about the ethics of charitable giving here, for those interested.)
It’s just a little difficult not to be faintly nauseated by the opportunism of Simon Cowell’s wretched new fundraising version of Bridge over Troubled Water. Charity singles have always been dubious if not outright crass; both musically horrendous and dripping with egotistical posturing, but this one’s a fucking corker. The line up’s a predictable mix of old lags, has beens in need of a career boost and nonentities, with a few interchangable current pop muppets slung in here and there, the choice of song another clear demonstration of how many of the people who produce these things know fuck all about music and don’t really like it.
Maybe they were originally going to bag You’ll Never Walk Alone until someone pointed out that was covered for another fire-related appeal in 1985. Or they had to skip I’ll Stand By You because that’s been done for Comic Relief. Those of us with a tendency towards gallows humour could probably spend a few minutes coming up with other suitable suggestions, of course.
The thing is, the atrocity of the Grenfell Tower fire has already prompted a huge outpouring of generosity from across the country. Money and goods have been flooding into the area at an overwhelming rate. People do not need a shitty, lazy, emotionally manipulative mess of a pop song to encourage them to give more.
There are also reasonably strong arguments to be made that what the Grenfell victims and survivors need is not charity, but justice. It’s the State that should be contributing to the support of these poor people; they shouldn’t be dependent on the possibly temporary altruism of others.