Bob Geldof: London riots ‘didn’t compare to those in Notting Hill’

Outspoken activist and musician Bob Geldof has told the Gazette he does not believe last year’s riots carried the same “weight” as past riots in the UK.

Speaking ahead of a show at Islington Assembly Hall next week, the 60-year-old said he did not believe last August’s disorder, which saw pockets of looting and arson even in Islington, was “emblematic of a wider malaise”.

He explained: “I didn’t feel it was that significant to be honest with you. I say that with all respect to the people that suffered with it.

“I thought it didn’t have the weight of the Notting Hill riots or the Poll Tax riots which seemed very specific, one was about racism and lack of opportunity and the other about economic constraints.”

The singer-songwriter described the events surrounding the shooting of Mark Duggan, whose death at the hands of police marksmen sparked the riots in Tottenham, as “completely unacceptable” but insisted: “I don’t think rioting resolves things”.


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Geldof, who rose to fame in the 1970s as lead singer of Irish punk rock band The Boomtown Rats, also criticised modern music for a “lack of relevance”.

He said: “In the ‘70s the music sounded like how it felt to live around then - that frustration and demand for change.

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“In places like Tottenham today, it’s not great out there, it’s pretty grim. I am desperate for the new sound - it needs to be of its time and it needs to articulate the now.”

To read more from the Gazette’s interview with Bob Geldof, pick up next week’s edition for a full preview of his show at Islington Assembly Hall, in Upper Street, Islington, on June 1.

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