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Jaime’s Christmas Special with a Load of Dodgy Pop Stars!

At Christmastime it’s hard, but when you’re having fun. . .

I have seen the video for “Do They Know It’s Christmas” many, many times in the past decade.  Katey gave us the Live Aid DVD box set, and it includes the videos for “DTKIC” and “We Are the World” in the prelude to the concert. I’ve saved up a lot of fascinating observations on the “DTKIC” video that I’ve decided to share with you. Ready?

After the dramatic shots of British pop stars getting out of their cars to go to the studio, the video starts off with a whimper–close up on Paul Young singing for 15 seconds.  He has no make up on.  Not even a swipe of powder, and his skin is blotchy and red. Has Paul Young been crying over famine victims? Maybe that’s what we’re supposed to take from that. When they sang this at Live Aid, David Bowie delivered these first lines. He’s not there for this video, but if he’d shown up, I think he would have remembered some concealer.

But the next piece of the video shows Boy George, who is wearing enough make up for everyone.  And cut to Phil Collins, rocking out in a sweater vest. All Boy George and Phil Collins parts look like they are filmed in a high school gym. . .must have recorded at a different time than everyone else. I guess that’s why BG had time to do his face.

George Michael comes on next, still working the Wham aesthetic. This is an interesting time for GM, because by the time the Live Aid concert rolls around, he’s gone through his Faith makeover.  But whatever, because when I’m watching this I’m just getting all excited for the next bit. . .


Simon LeBon appears and seems like he’s in a whole different video. I have a theory about this: I think the members of Duran Duran had been out partying the night before and really had no memory of what this gig was for. (Diet cola commercial? Aid to Africa? Whatever!) When you first see Simon, he looks kind of like he has a cocktail in his hand, and then he sings saucily, “It’s hard / But when you’re having fun. . .” and on the fun he lifts one eye brow. Sexy! Plus he’s insanely wearing a shirt with horizontal stripes under a jacket with vertical stripes.

You can tell his hangover starts to set in on the next bit, when Simon has to sing next to Buzz Kill McGee, Sting.  “A world of dread and fear. . .”

A note on Sting in this video: Tonight it occurred to me that Sting looks exactly like kids who went to all-girls Catholic high schools in the ’90s.  (Not when they were in school, but like if you met them at camp or something.) They had this distinctive confident casualness of dress that we public school girls rarely achieved. But anyway, Sting’s messy hair and plaid scarf totally make him seem like a member of the Marian Class of 1995, to me.  Field hockey player, probably.

Tony Hadley’s next.  Man, I always mix him up with Philip Oakey from Human League! That’s who I thought this was for years. (Hadley is from Spandeau Ballet.)

I never really noticed that they zoom in on Sting for the line “the bitter sting of tears” til Katy pointed it out. I guess I’m usually too overcome with anticipation for the big reveal that comes next: Bono and his Terrible Hair!

Bono’s first solo line is the worst line of the song, “Well tonight thank God it’s them / Instead of you!”  Is that really the sentiment we’re trying to get across here? Horrible! Click here for the amazing passive-aggressive boy shit behind this. (And do you think he made small talk with Simon LeBon between takes? Or did Simon just go over and start hitting on Jody Watley to pass the time?)

Next we find out that Paul Weller is there! He’s the one who looks like Alan Cumming. And we see my boyfriend, Ultravox Guy, behind the mixing board.

Wait a minute, is John Taylor wearing a Duran Duran sweatshirt? Willie thinks this is shameless plugging.  I stand by my original Duran Duran theory of the “Do They Know It’s Christmas” video: I believe that John probably woke up naked in the limo and this was the only thing they could find in the trunk for him to wear.

Inexplicable commercial for Squirt, thanks to Paula Yates. I totally never recognized 80’s-version Paula until Pam set me straight (thanks!). . .Paula wasn’t on my radar until the Michael Hutchence years. But obviously this is back when she was married to Bob Geldof.  (And I had no idea Squirt was sold in the UK.; to me it just screams “grain elevator pop machine.” But anyway.)


Here is the part where I am temporarily discomfited by seeing my boyfriend, Ultravox Guy, standing next to Bono, which makes me realize they are the same height. Ultravox Guy looks taller at Live Aid! Must be the trench coat.

In Paul Young’s next big piece the camera angle is unfortunate. You can kindof see that his teeth aren’t that good.

We get some additional scenes of people arriving.  The members of Bananarama look like they just rolled out of bed.  Man, to be back in the era of fashionably huge sweatshirts!

Jody Watley and Kool & the Gang are allowed in, even though they are Americans.  (Well, I guess we can be glad they included some black artists in their aid to Africa video, even if the overall vibe of the song is still so clueless.)  Jody Watley’s hot pink lipstick is marvelous and she’s wearing a big sweater with horizontal stripes over vertical striped pants! This must have been the in look that fall.

Hey, there’s the Squirt Shill Lady with a baby.

And the rest of the video is mostly the whole choir singing “feed the world” over and over.  Simon helps Bob Geldof with a sassy “One Two Three Four!” Someone needs to give Bananarama some coffee, they all look like they want to roll back into bed.  (Too bad Squirt is caffeine free!) Bono’s wearing a black hat, which looks kind of stupid, but when you remember his hair you don’t mind too much. My boyfriend Ultravox Guy is looking adorable and happy (he helped write the song and he’s relieved everything’s working out). Aah! It’s Nick Rhodes! And he has scary skunk hair!  The end.


People who played at Live Aid who I wish would have shown up for “Do They Know It’s Christmas”: David Bowie, especially if it meant fewer Paul Young close ups; Adam Ant, especially if he could work in some running kicks; Bryan Ferry, especially if he insisted on holding two microphones at once; Freddy Mercury, especially if he taunted the camera people; and David Bowie’s percussionist (Kenthro?), especially if he stole Phil Collins’ drum sticks and danced around shirtless.

Irish Boy Fight Addendum: We were watching this documentary about Irish music called Out of Ireland, which is basically a 150-minute episode of “Behind the Music,” and we found out the real story of Bono getting the worst line in the whole song. First of all, way before “DTKIC,” Geldof had fancied himself as the big rock star from Ireland, and so we might imagine he was not feeling very warm and fuzzy towards U2 and their massive success in 1984. When he first put out the call for musicians to come to this gig, U2’s manager had not taken it seriously. But about two or three days before the recording, the manager realized there was a critical mass participating, so encouraged U2 to join in. Now I’ll just quote from Bono and Geldof’s respective interviews in Out of Ireland:

Bono: Myself and Adam went over and there was a load of dodgy pop stars there. And I remember thinking, “Oh this is really. . you just have to swallow for this one.”

Geldof: I remember Bono querying whether I was really trying to say “tonight thank God it’s them instead of you.” He said that’s a bit [makes a face]. And I said, “Well it’s not meant to be, because the reality is,  y’know, thank Jaysus — how would you do it?”

Bono: And he showed me the lyric sheet for “Do They Know It’s Christmas.” And I looked at it and I said that’s great, just don’t ask me to sing that line. And he said, “Listen, they’ve all done their lines. That is the line I’m asking you to sing.” And I was like, [covers face with hand] “Ah!”

Geldof: And so when he sang that line, y’know, it was with such a total understanding. It’s not just passion, it’s a real venom, which is exactly what I wanted. Like this rage.

Ahahahahahaha! Now it all becomes clear! Geldof totally gave Bono the messed up line on purpose to embarrass him. And Bono’s “venom” and “rage” were not really directed at famine, were they? I love it.

bobg bono

Murder Mystery Addendum: I have no idea if this is a real thing, but according to the Internet, a chap named James Ward Byrkit is planning to create a movie that imagines a murder during the filming of this video, and Bob Geldof has to solve the mystery.

I read lots of mystery novels, so obviously I have thoughts on this. Most importantly, thoughts on who the victim should be.  There are several candidates that could generate good drama:

  • Bono, as a result of the aforementioned boy-fighting. Geldolf would be racing to clear his name.
  • George Michael, because he was just hitting his peak of solo fame. Everyone would suspect poor Andrew Ridgeley, and you could do some juicy red herrings with other closeted pop stars.
  • Any member of Duran Duran, with the murder set up to look like erotic asphyxiation.
  • Phil Collins, dispatched by a time-traveling Jaime Danehey, seeking to spare herself his output from 1988-2000. [Maybe Aimee Mann would have won the Oscar!]

But the video itself clearly shows that the victim should be Paul Young. You guys, he looks rough. It totally works to create a story where his morning cup of tea was poisoned, and over the course of filming the video his organs are beginning to fail.  Motive: someone found out just how many songs he was going to get to sing at Live Aid.

If you are inspired to feed the world now, Bob Geldof and Bono are still raising money for aid to Africa through One. Merry Christmas!