Medecin Sans Frontier, Oxfam and Anton Newcombe

For how long can a passive global society sit idly by and watch the horrors of the world unfold before them? Which straw will be the one that breaks the camel’s back?

Europe has seen a spate of incidents involving large numbers of people fleeing their homeland for various reasons – war, hunger, poverty, inequality and more – and either making it and being treated like pariahs, or dying in cramped conditions or drowning as the rickety boats they commandeer are battered by waves. And what do they get in return? Hateful and disgusting anti-immigrant rhetoric from the usual ivory-towered commentators and horrific platitudes from the peanut gallery who enjoy the relative luxuries that their lives constitute by pure accident of birth.

Why seek to make the world even darker than it is with such ridiculous platitudes? Why not take a stand and make a difference? Luckily for the rest of us, there are individuals and organizations willing to fight to make a positive difference to the world and to people.

Anton Newcombe is the vocalist and leader of the enduring and innovative Brian Jonestown Massacre. Long known for being a force of nature, Anton is channelling his energy into raising money for Medecin Sans Frontiere and Oxfam in an attempt to provide standing room for those who have had the rug pulled from under them, either since day one or anew.

Anton is running a raffle via his Twitter account that is not only urging people to make donations to such worthy causes but is also offering prizes that would make any self-respecting music fan salivate like a beast. Fuck it, even if you don’t know your Rolling Stones from your Stone Roses, then get involved and spread the word anyway. You’ve got a lot less to lose than the people Oxfam, MSF and others like them are helping.

BaDoink spoke with Anton to get a closer look at this inspiring act. He does pass on one other message to you all though: don’t thank him, save your platitudes for donations to charities and do your bit. For the curious – which you should be – here are the raffle prizes on offer:

Medecin Sans Frontier, Oxfam and Anton Newcombe

Tell us a little bit about the raffle/competition you’re running. Obviously it’s for Oxfam and MSF but what was the catalyst for you going ahead with it?

First of all thank you for your time and I want everyone who reads this next sentence to stop for ten seconds and think about it: there are something like 50 million refugees on earth right now who are in desperate need.

Ok – 50,000,000. That’s a big number. It’s overwhelming and it’s bigger than the 8 million that touched the world when Bob Geldof organized a global concert in listing the who’s who of fame and fortune and music’s biggest players to perform – televised around the world – Phil Collins pumpkin bigger than a blimp on the Jumbotron and Bono waving flags – but I don’t have that kind of power.

I’m not seeing these superstar celebs do jack shit. What I am seeing is more refugees and governments throw up their hands overwhelmed at the influx and I’m seeing more disasters rolling in and the effects of wars and climate troubles and resource mismanagement. I see MSF and Oxfam continuing to do day in and day out what they’ve been doing for decades and I for one am not going to sit on my ass as millions of people die slowly ignoring my blessings or whatever.

How has the take up/reaction been so far?

The people of the United Kingdom are very generous. The reaction globally is heartwarming but I want to see at least 500 people enter this thing by making a donation to either charity. It’s not unrealistic when you understand we sell out 3,000 seat venues like the Roundhouse in London in a few days with no advertising. I just don’t understand the disconnect; the problem people have with pitching in a 5 or a 10 or whatever for the chance to win thousands in rare vinyl and prizes plus you are actually helping to save lives for the cost of a burger or a beer.

A lot of other musicians talk a good game but fail to put their money where their mouths are. What do you think stops people like that making the final leap and actually DOING something?

Charity can be like a mirror to the soul. It can raise complex issues of if now then why not then or how much is enough. But fuck all of that deep shit and listen to me: when the mood strikes you act upon it. Your spiritual enlightenment can wait… people need your help globally now.

Is there an end goal or target you want to reach or will you just keep on until you feel satisifed?

It’s all about the journey. Thank you all for making it a pleasant trip.

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