Music for Life 2011

In the last 6 years it became a tradition that Studio Brussel  organises together with The Red Cross a huge charity campaign just before Christmas. Following the example of the Dutch "Serious Request" campaign (and other glass houses in Switzerland, Sweden and other countries) , 3 DJ's lock themselves for a week in a glass house without solid food  and present a week round music at request for which you pay for the charity cause of the year.

The Glass House has been hosted in Leuven, Ghent and Antwerp over the last years and the campaign grew bigger and bigger each time:  landmines, malaria, HIV orphans, ...lots of different causes got supported.  Each time the actions became a hype and you could not escape "Music For Life": politicians came on prime-time tv quizzes 'for life', the regular popular late-night show has become a 'glass show for life', competing radio stations have an emission 'for life', schools bake cookies 'for life', companies have a Christmas party 'for life'...whatever we do the week for Christmas is 'for life' and raises money for the good cause. 

For some incomprehensible reason Studio Brussel has decided that this year will be the last Music For Life.  As a closure they have built 3 glass houses, one in Leuven, Ghent & Antwerp again and the DJ's get moved each time to a different city after 3 days.  Don't ask me what the added value for the campaign is to justify such an extra logistic cost except the brand image of Studio Brussel?! It made me think of a radio emission 'Interne Keuken' I missed (but caught up partially online) on which Linda Polman told about her book 'De Crisiskaravaan': on the moral of help organisations that are forced to buy their access into countries from corrupt local forces and need to market themselves and the crisises they support for their own existance, .... Very shocking, real and sour food for thought. A book I want to read, yet I am afraid it would make me too cynical.

Anyway, the last Music For Life is currently in full swing with special news paper pages attributed to it to report how the whole region is once again mobilising for one and the same good cause just before christmas.  People are car washing 'for life', pulling moving carts 'for life', having sit ins 'for life'...all because we do give a shit ....that too many children die of diarrhea in eg Nepal due to lack of proper sanitation.

My optimism yesterday that I could combine painting in the Ardennes, grocery shopping , driving back and forth and going to see the free concert 'for life' of Selah Sue all in the same afternoon failed miserably . But I did make it at the square for the last half an hour that Music For Life was broadcasting from Leuven before the DJ's stepped in a glass little moving van to ride from Leuven to Ghent across the country (with all the necessary media attention along their road of course).

 When you see the whole circus it's become, maybe it is good that the yearly hype will get stopped. And yet...yet I also truly like how for once we all mobilise for the same cause.  Music For Life reaches people that probably would not have helped another charity and will next year probably only occupied with Christmas shopping.  The good thing is that Music For Life also supports background problems that might not otherwise get all of this attention ....Diarrhea in Nepal is not truly top of mind of world issues, right?

So I'll miss #MLF in the coming years, not only because they bring a week of the best music ever....I hope some other organisation jumps in the void next year and manages to get us going again, maybe differently and in a lot smaller scale but nevertheless.  Because charities , whether we hate it or not, also must market themselves and there's an opportunity available next years in Belgium.


Lilacspecs said…
I think MFL is a great cause and it's always fun to see the glass house in het Zuid, but to be honest I'm really put off by the slogan this year. It's probably just a language thing, but the whole "we do give a shit" thing trivializes it to me. The cause is great, but I really don't like that slogan. It's childish, but maybe that's just because I've heard it all my life in my first language and associate it with immature people using the phrase to mean other things.
Goofball said…
Actually I was hoping to get a response from an native English speaker on the slogan, I was wondering.

Personally, I love it, I think it is well found. But I've learned in my international job that we (Belgians/Dutch) easily take English curses or expressions in our mouth eg stating in a meeting that a solution is crap or bullshit...and seeing the native speakers really shocked. And then you get the cultural language issue "you can't say that" "why not, it is" "yes, you might think that but truly you can't phrase it that way"
I am convinced that we adopt 'bad English language" easily in our own language, knowing rationally what it means, but not feeling the true connotation since we need to translate in our mind.

....while typing this I just see the video's on tv where they've auctioned that you can go to use a celeb's toilet. Geez, they really went a little overboard on the theme this year, don't you think? But it's funny.

What bugs me most this year is the entire hype circus it's become. I don't know what to think about it.
Brian Miller said…
use a celebs toilet...ewww...sounds pretty cool honestly and esp if for a good cause...

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