Oxfam Blog: 16 December 2011
A hop, skip and jump around Europe
10 days. 6 arena shows. Thousands of fans. I haven’t calculated the mileage. For this Oxfam rep (hi, it’s Pete from the VIVA tour!), the journey started Tuesday morning in South Yorkshire. Home of chips n’ gravy, Bakewell tarts, and of course, Yorkshire pudding. If you’ve never tried one, make it a priority. I left possibly the only place in the world where you can buy a pint of Horlicks (from Grindleford cafe), bound for a city famous for great food – Paris. All sorts spring to mind; baguettes, snails, wine, cheese – as many varieties as you could shake a glow stick at.
But why all the chat about food? That’s because on this Coldplay tour, Oxfam will be talking a whole lot more about food. GROW is our new campaign to fix the broken food system. We want to shout about it, start conversations, get you all thinking about what is your favourite food, and what a shambles it is, that so many people in the world live without enough food.
1 in 7.
Seriously, that’s bonkers.
I reckon most people would agree with that. Put it this way, if you and 6 mates went out to get a pizza and one of you didn’t get any, or only got the crusts and some scrapings of mayo, it wouldn’t be fair, would it? That person would go home hungry. But with your mates, I’m sure together you would find a solution and share it so that each of you had enough. Common sense. Fairness.
That’s what we need to do with the food system, treat it like that pizza between friends. If sharing it out meant that each of you had a little less and there wasn’t quite enough, you might need to order some more. Making sure not to exhaust the resources of the restaurant (think of all the food-producing fields in the world), making sure not to defrost the chef’s freezer so he/she could still produce more for tomorrow’s customers (think climate change and future generations), and make sure that the chefs, waiting staff, cleaners and food producers all got paid a fair wage (think world food trade).
Got all that? OK, I admit, it’s not that simple. It’s not quite that easy either, but I think you might agree that we need to find a way to do it. What better way to do it, than working together?
That’s why I’ve been catching the Coldplay tour bus heading across the channel to Paris. So that we can go and talk to thousands of amazing Coldplay fans about all this. You have helped Oxfam so much in the past, as have the band. Hundreds and thousands of you joined our campaign on the VIVA tour. Let’s do the same on Mylo Xyloto. We all know that when a Coldplay crowd raises its collective voice, it’s impossible to ignore. Look out for the wandering food items along with the other Oxfam volunteers at every concert before stage time and raise your voice for the GROW campaign. This is going to be a fantastic tour. I can sense it and I can’t wait.
P.s. I must just share one more story with you. It’s another food related one. Tuesday morning I went to the post office to collect a parcel my family had sent. It was a slice of my sister’s birthday cake, complete with chocolate buttons. It was still intact and despite travelling through the postal system in a margarine tub, it tasted fantastic. I’ve never received cake in the post before.
If you have an unusual food story, share it with us on twitter #lovefoodhateinjustice @oxfamontour and you might see yourself feature in the next post.
2am in Paris
At the time of writing: 2.10am. Been in Paris for less than 24 hours. But we’re off soon. Just waiting for a couple of the guys still loading their gear out at Bercy. It’s been a long ‘day’ but a good one. The reception the band got when they went on stage was phenomenal.
Anticipation, excitement and happiness just seemed to flood the arena in a twinkling mass of waving arms and wide eyes. What a sight that is, when the wristbands light up and the whole arena, full to the rafters, raise its voice to welcome the 4 guys from England, on stage.
This evening I watched a woman’s face as she went through what looked like a real mix of emotions. She looked amazed, stunned, overwhelmed, and completely happy, and then she couldn’t control her tears. Tears of joy. That’s quite an impact for a band to have.
Can Oxfam’s work have the same impact? Well, perhaps not in the same way, but maybe it can. If someone hasn’t eaten for days, and is given a first meal, or is helped to get a new small scale farming deal to sell their farming products and secure the future of their family, maybe it can.
I’ll leave the emotional stuff to the band; after all, they’re pretty good at it. But we will do what we can, to help all the Coldplay fans who are hungry for change, to see a positive outlook for the future of our global food system. The GROW campaign is really growing.
We will do what we can, to help all the Coldplay fans who are hungry for change, to see a positive outlook for the future of our global food system. The GROW campaign is really growing. Loads more fans got involved with our campaign this evening, having their photos taken to be added on the Oxfamontour wall of fans faces, following us on twitter, tweeting the hashtag #lovefoodhateinjustice and following us on this tour blog. You may have even seen a certain hot dog pop up on Coldplay’s live blog.
Paris Bercy fans have been great to us. The Oxfam France agir-ici volunteers have been fantastic. Turning up to give their time to help us to spread the word on GROW. All smiles and full of energy and enthusiasm. They were a great bunch and I have really enjoyed my brief experience working with them. So thank you to all of them. Thank you to all the fans too, who came and made it what is was.
p.s. Today’s surprising story is of when I saw a slightly unusual ‘cloak room’. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen one like it, full of motorbike helmets and not a cloak in sight. I guess scooters are a popular way to get around in Paris…