Lyrics from Freda Paynes – Song: Band of Gold Lyrics read as follows:
Now that you’re gone, All that’s left is a band of gold, All that’s left of the dream I holdIs a band of gold, And the memories of what love could be, If you are still here with me
The song became a UK number one hit single in 1970. What is really weird at the moment is that those lyrics or the first verse at least, suddenly appear in my mind every time someone mentions the need to get a wristband, representing a cause. Let me explain and provide a quick audit of the ones that are around at the moment:Yellow Nike rubber band available I believe from Nike to represent The Lance Armstrong Foundation. See: http://www.nike.com/wearyellow/index_f.html & http://www.laf.org. Apparently, more than 40 million of these yellow LIVESTRONG wristbands have been sold
Black and white wrist bands Available from Nike to represent anti-racism.
Make Poverty History. See www.makepovertyhistory.com . Interestingly, this initiative declares that by wearing one can become part of a unique worldwide effort in 2005 to end extreme poverty. Even Tony Blair has been spotted sporting one.
In one way or another, they are encouraging people to take a stand. Incidentally, I popped into Nike Town in Oxford Street, firstly to get some shoes but also because a friend of mine had asked me to get him a black and white Nike wristband. Unfortunately, for him they were sold out. At the check-out, while paying for my new shoes and socks I asked the teller if she knew how much and where the funds raised would be going. No brochure was available, Im not even sure if there is one but I did get told that the cost would be approx £1.50 with 30% reserved for the manufacturer and 70% going to the charity. She could not tell me what charity, as she had no information about it or to hand.
On a different occasion, I overheard (Im not prone to being nosy, honest) a girl in a sports shop spending at an hour talking about how hard it had been for her to get a yellow Nike rubber wrist band. I only know that it took her an hour as from the point I entered the shop, part of a local gym, to the point I left, she was still talking about it! She eventually sourced one from http://www.ebay.com of all places!
I am confident of the decency and willingness of the organisations that are developing these wrist products to help, although some organisations can be quite varied in the way they pay their overseas and far off workers / manufacturers a different topic and debate!
Back to the song! Some of these bands (pardon the pun) are only here for a certain period of time to raise funds, awareness and create a sense of solidarity. However, there is a danger that they could become fashion accessories but let us hope that vanity does not take-over. Like the lyrics of the song, what happens when, the band has gone?
What would be better is if the themes that they represent could form part and be inherent within our personal values and be viewed as important to our politicians or multinationals that are driven on profit. There is no use in selling arms to developing countries if those countries cannot even feed their own people. There is no point in having extreme football transfer fees and earnings if no investment is made in effective PR to campaigns to actively fight against racism in football. There is no use in having money with shareholders if we do not contribute to research initiatives.
On the whole, a band could be considered as a symbol of hope.
If you decide to buy a band then consider that the real challenge is to change such a band of gold into a lifetime of remembrance for change for the better for all.