Ricky Blue's Other Life
Ricky Blue
Ricky Blue
is a Montreal-based humorist, singer, and writer. He and partner George Bowser are the famous Bowser and Blue comedy act. Here's his bio from their Bowser and Blue website.

Ricky Blue was born in Liverpool, England, but raised in Maine, New Jersey, and Toronto. He has an MA in English from Concordia University. He has been involved in bands and media music in Montreal for over twenty years. In 1981 he won an international 'Clio' award for excellence in advertising.

He once appeared on television naked.

His life had no real meaning, however, until he began to play with Bowser and Blue. Rick plays guitar, mandolin, and harmonica, and sings in a rather pleasant baritone when George will let him.

His columns are archived here

Posted 07.18.05


Sir Sponge Bob and the 'anti-poverty' Musical Elite

Like many of you, I watched the parade of Rock Stars at the Live 8 concerts. I admit it was because of the music, not because I thought it held the key to solving world poverty.

I certainly give Sir Sponge Bob credit where credit is due: he can organize one heck of an event. But economics? Why would anyone take the advice of a musician? Most musicians can't even get a bank loan. And here they are dictating monetary policy to the World Bank?

The Live 8 solution to world poverty is typical musician economics: "You know that money I owe you? Why don't you forget about it - I did!"

I suspect most of the audience was there for the music, not the message. The price was right - free!

They might have cheered: "Let's eliminate poverty." But that's like cheering for: "Let's end war." It's all part of arena rock: slow tempos and simplistic slogans.

I think rich musicians believe causes like this will ennoble them. It makes up for the lifestyle for which they are famous: the self-indulgence, the sex and drugs.

Now they can proudly say: No. Wait a minute. This is the real me - the saint who wants to end world poverty! That naked, coke sniffing, whiskey drinking, pussy hound you saw prowling the strip last night was someone else.

And all the record execs that are so good at siphoning off the hard-earned money of naive young musicians with creative accounting "expenses" can step up and say: "See what idealists we really are? We're deep. We care about others. We do. Honest!"

Rock music became very pretentious ever since it was infested with rock critics. That's probably what killed it. Rock stars were judged on their "credibility" not their music. Neil Young has tons. Celine Dion has none. At Live 8 she was booed.

Of course, it could have had something to do with the fact that the only thing asked of you to help end world poverty was to show up. And she didn't. She sent a picture of herself.

Musicians are just musicians. Their views on world politics are no better informed than a group of plumbers. But let's look at the music business. About two per cent of all the musicians in the world control about 98 per cent of the musical wealth.

The music business is one of the most obscenely stratified businesses in the modern world. It makes the oil business look like a hippy commune.

Wouldn't it make sense that before you go telling nation-states how to spend their citizens' hard earned taxes, you should clean up your own act? Share your wealth with all the less fortunate musicians acting as human jukeboxes for peanuts in all the sleazy dives in the world, playing the same few songs that make the two per cent of musicians rich.

Because people only want to hear the songs they hear on the radio. And the radio only plays songs that are owned by the five record companies who control the known universe.

So many musicians are forced to walk away from their shattered dreams and take day jobs to pay the rent. And they shake their heads in sadness listening to the plastic crap that brings in all the money. Hey, Sir Sponge Bob and your friends in the musical Elite: How about making this poverty history?