It matters not that Sir Bob went on the show that has slaughtered the music industry to promote it, looking as though he'd been dossing in a goat pen for a month; nor that he badgered Adele by phone a hundred times, but she refused to pick up, and isn't on it; nor that Chris Martin is. It's irrelevant, too, that 'it's that song, yet again, when will they learn to leave the bloody thing alone?' I said it myself, a week ago, but I take it back.
Whatever we think about 'Do They Know It's Christmas?', and despite the fact that it never snows much in Africa anyway, not even the frozen-hearted can remain unmoved by the efforts of Bob, Midge, Bono, Sinead, Guy Garvey, Roger Taylor, the Bastille boys, Emelie Sandé, Olly Murs, One Direction et al et al. When Bono was asked, outside SARM Studios on Saturday lunchtime, 'Doesn't it feel unbelievable to be back here thirty years on, doing this all over again?' his retort was immaculate. What's unbelievable, he said, or words to this effect, is that we HAVE to be. If all those international politicians at all those G8 summits and the rest had kept their promises, there would be no need.
Was it appropriate to screen footage of the harrowing removal of a dead African extinguished by Ebola on The X-Factor last night - to all intents and purposes an entertainment show - ? By God, it so was. Bleary Geldof, himself no stranger to anguish and tragedy, never beats about the bush. We are left in no cotton-woolled doubt. This disease can arrive here on a plane, at any time. It can finish us in a heartbeat. It's not going to. We will dutifully do our bit. We will all download or pre-order this single today - the CD is out on December 8th, three Mondays' time, but you can have it on iTunes immediately.
We may reflect on the updated lyrics; compare the impassioned, older, wiser recording to the almost gleeful innocence, three versions ago, of the very original; we will perhaps love, hate or be left indifferent by what is, after all 'only' a pop single - all the while knowing, in our bones, why it means much more.
This song, such as it is, stands for compassion. For the saving of lives that could in a blink be our own. If not for them, then do it for you. Do it.