ElD - Currently you’re stepping back into the spotlight and promoting a charity compilation CD for Aids Be Gone. Can you tell us a little about the campaign and the CD?
Angie Bowie - It started with WORLD AIDS DAY 01/12/2009 when Giovanni Perini suggested we do a track for the cause. We went one better and did an album!
So Bravo Giovanni.
The CD is called AIDSBEGONE VOL1 and features the talent of such diverse artists as:
Tamkikrest, Bite, Chris Robison, Musselmen & Lowery, She Wolves. Myself (Angie Bowie) and Clif Taylor, The Eris Sisters (mancalledclay), The Ezra Beats, Wasted Angels, Gary Heffern, Transisters, Subterraneans, Tara Rez & The Duel, Giovanni Perini, Al DeLoner, Charles Garish & The Ex Gay Ministers, Charles “Upchuck” Gerra and Jude Rawlins. All need to be thanked for their contributions and assistance in assembling a fantastic Volume 1 for the AIDS BEGONE FUND-RAISING initiative.
Bego put it best….
"AIDSBeGone VOL1 is a witty, infectious mixture of music from around the world united for a single cause and compiled by brilliant taste-maker Angela Bowie. It is the perfect mood music for the new decade! -Mark Bego Feb 19/2010
ElD - You’ve a date in London confirmed for the legendary 100 Club to tie in with the Aids Be Gone promotion?
AB - It’s going under the name of AIDSBeGone LIVE @ the 100 CLUB.
For those who don’t know it’s on Wednesday the 14th of April and I will be doing a set with support from some great UK artists such as Tara Rez and The Duel, The Courtesans and Jude Rawlins, then we will be have an after hours party at the equally legendary Bar12 that’s just a brisk hike up the street. So yeah. I’m looking forward to this. I’m hoping it will be well supported.
Of course the shows are obviously to promote the sales of the AIDSBeGone CD. We really want to do our part and help fund the development of an effective AIDS vaccine.
Money is urgently required to pay for the support drugs that help those who have already contracted the disease to live satisfying lives. Being able support people in being able to work and enjoy some relief from their condition is of paramount importance to myself and those who are helping out with this.
The show is a means to an end. Live shows stimulate sales!
ElD - Aids/HIV as an issue that needs to be addressed appears to have dropped down the agenda globally. Climate change and economic issues are currently the hot buttons that have risen on the political ’things to do’ list. How do you feel about that? Does it make you angry, dismayed, a combination of many emotions?
AB - Do I wish it were completed? The AIDS vaccine and the cure for those suffering with the disease? YES, I do.
I think with all the time that has passed since the disease was recognized we are due for a cure now.
We said the same thing about breast cancer and yet still every year mothers, daughters and sisters die from this horrible condition.
There are various elements that play into the problem of stopping the spread of AIDS. One is the irrational fear of birth control by religions with long arms into societies particularly affected by the AIDS virus.
Condoms have proven themselves as a preventative tool in stopping the spread of AIDS but the Catholic Church disapproves and so enlightened information that may help is being suppressed. Without insulting people in specific countries I would just like to say, to stop the spread of AIDS USE CONDOMS!
I’ve gotten to the stage that it doesn’t make me feel much apart from despondency. It makes me despondent.
That important issues like the cure for cancer and the cure for AIDS have waited 70-80 years on the backburner after two world wars and numerous incursive battles, Vietnam, Iraq, The Falklands etc etc. It’s a sad memorial to our civilization. Let’s cure the disease and explore space and do things that are less destructive.
Heck we can give Lady Gaga $1.99 and watch her video along with another billion folks that’s better than all this bloodshed and still no cure for diseases that by now should have been run out of town!
ElD - Initially Aids/HIV seemed to be a disease that happened to other people. We would see reports about its effects in third world countries, and in the West we could pretend that it had nothing to do with us. Then when cases did start to arise it was initially gay men and intravenous drug users that succumbed to it. So we had the religious right making ludicrous comments about it being a punishment from God and that led people to believe that if they lived a life that these narrow minded people promoted then they would be fine. Obviously that was a crock though, but do you consider that people in the West are still stuck in that sort of mindset, and if so then what can we do about it?
AB - Every generation has to be re-educated in their lingo and fashion. We just have to attract the youngsters and speak straight to their heads & hearts. That’s not difficult if one isn’t bombarded by negativity and laziness.
My motto is productivity rewards creativity. Accomplished tasks sustain my energy and the work schedule I design.
All we can do is repeat what we know about stopping the spread of the disease and repeat that information until we are blue in the face and we must raise money and find a vaccine and then find a cure for those folks already HIV positive. Everyone is stuck in that mindset when it comes to an incurable plague that we have not yet arrested. No one likes to feel helpless and when faced with such a daunting challenge often if we are frightened or it affects us or someone we know we shy away so as not to have to live through the pain of facing it.
ElD - Maybe this is a bit too personal, but can you tell us how it initially impacted on your life, as I know you have lost friends who contracted Aids/HIV? When did it hit home that people you knew were suffering and facing an early demise?
AB - No, you are not getting too personal. I lost many personal friends including a whole group of New York folk, more than 20, and from London John Bindon and Pierre La Roche, Tina Chow a lot of people. We suddenly realized that the noose was tightening and little was being done to relieve the suffering.
As I looked into the eyes of my friend Pierre La Roche, as we visited, I could see the distance between us as he contemplated his life. I asked if he would like to have lunch, we could bring it in, order on the phone or did he want to walk out to a corner restaurant perhaps,
‘No I am too tired,’ he said, ‘but thank you, merci Angie non, Je suis heureux que tu es venu. Je vais dormir un peu.’ I watched him lie down and sat and stroked his hand. I sat watching his handsome face and stroking his forehead and tracing his eyebrows with my finger as my mother did when I was feverish. The I decided I would leave as he rolled over safe and comfortable under his quilt and towards the wall. How many more bedside vigils I would attend? I got up and walked through Chelsea in London, bitter, sad and scowling. I was bent out of shape by the unfairness of life. My life went on, Pierre’s ended and unnecessarily I believe.
ElD - So was it this that galvanised you into action and made you think that instead of standing on the sidelines that you had to be more proactive and do something?
AB - Well the whole thing happened spontaneously and organically.
Giovanni Perini’s original suggestion to memorialize World AIDS Day on Dec 1st mushroomed from one track to an album. Then when sales were not encouraging we realized that we couldn’t do enough just promoting it on the internet we had to take the message to the people; shows had to be set up and gigs arranged and suddenly we were back in touring mode and as this is an area in which all the contributors are experts the AIDSBeGone project has served to mobilized a group of talent who wanted to get busy and help!
ElD - Do you think that there is a still a lot of ignorance in the world surrounding what Aids is and how it can be contracted? There have been many campaigns and from my viewpoint I still don’t think the message is getting across?
AB - I am sure you are right. Many countries have chosen to ignore or allocate their resources without caring for the sick in their countries. Every generation is a new class requiring a custom education designed for them. As generations distinguish themselves from each other so we look to tailor an individual interchange to specialize and communicate the information which may have been lost in the scramble for your, the consumer’s, attention
ElD - Often it seems that there are too many voices shouting a similar message, but doing so individually. This appears counterproductive to me. Shouldn’t the safe sex campaigners, those raising awareness of STDs and the Aids/HIV organizations be pooling their talents and resources to push for change? Or does that sound like just too much of a common sense approach?
AB - Yes, I agree. We should but that smacks of cooperation and God forbid that all these individuals including myself and you and every other thinking person would agree to make this a priority and find a cure. I thought we had done that when the original research grants were allocated to find the cure. Did they drop the ball, did they not report that it was too hard we need more money? Someone obviously wasn’t leading with the type of oversight that favours results. Just another government job finding a cure for AIDS…that’s why there are so many initiatives. There is a lack of trust that the government, or any individual foundation, will see the project to successful completion. In the mean time there is this middle choice of finding the vaccine for AIDS and supporting the HIV positive people who need drug therapy to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
ElD - While it’s laudable that you are using your iconic status to raise awareness does it concern you that in some quarters there will be people thinking that you are doing it for your own ends? Just a publicity stunt to raise your own profile. It’s the curse of the celebrity isn’t it? Let’s call it the Bono/Sting effect. How do you combat that? Is it best to just ignore the naysayer’s and focus on what you are doing?
AB - Do negative mean-minded people bother you? They bother me just about as much they have to live with their sorry selves!
You just have to pay no attention and move onto stage 2. I hardly think helping raise some money to find a cure for AIDS is going to raise or lower celebrity status. What does that mean? Has everyone gone mad? There are more critical questions for someone like me to bother with. That attitude is so low on my radar that it hardly registers.
More importantly is that we are currently producing a new CD AIDSBEGONE Vol 2 and are looking for contributors to an AIDSBEGONE WRITING PROJECT that will be a book of poetry and essays.
That’s where my focus for the present lies.
So if anyone wants to get on board for that then please send your writing contributions to email@example.com and we can see how that works out.
Have you noticed though that clear aims and defined strategies are viewed as suspect now as folks have watched the fabric of their beliefs unravel. The taxman was and always will be a tax man. A doctor is a dealer and you go back to him if you get results, the smarter he is and the better educated he is you believe that he may help you ….not if you don’t have enough money! The doctor can prescribe but if you can’t afford the prescription medication to help you survive a life-threatening illness what do you do? The government has lied to us and profited through war. The churches have corrupted the secular administration of government. We are standing on the ice floe of the twentieth century as it melts around us. In the inimitable words of the RAMONES: ‘I JUST WANT TO HAVE SOMETHING TO DO.’
ElD - I was just quoting Bertrand Russell to someone and it appears apt to this to.
“The natural impulse of the vigorous person of decent character is to attempt to do good, but if he is deprived of all political power and of all opportunity to influence events he will be deflected from his natural course and will decide that the important thing is to be good”
Sop as you say. People beliefs are unravelling and in their stead is a propensity to settle for the Status Quo and what we really need is for people to actually take a leaf from the book of Ramones lyrics and indeed “ just want to have something to do” to make a change.
Fair assessment in my opinion.
ElD - So in closing, separate from your awareness raising work what else can we expect from you in the future?
AB - Well “When the boys became girls” my new book will be published by Feral Press very soon and I have an album of new punk space ditties that will be available by the end of the year to. It’s going to be a busy, and fulfilling, year and thank you. I am very happy to have had the chance to chat with you and thank you for all the interesting questions!
ElD. It’s been an honour and a privilege Angie and I’m sure I am not alone in wishing you all the best in your future endeavours.
PS. I should have added that the band that are backing Angie for her gig at the 100Club is :
Dave Ball – (Soft Cell) Keyboard
Paul Laventhol – (King Kurt) guitar
Andy Hobson – (The Pretenders) bass
Pumpy – (The Duel) Drums
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