Wil Marlow finds Bob Geldof swears by live performance
Bob Geldof is being grumpy. This in itself is nothing unusual - the singer-cum-activist is known for this demeanour.
But today he should be in more celebratory mood - he's ensconced in a London hotel for the day to talk up the DVD release of his hugely successful BBC series Geldof In Africa.
But of course that's not what anyone wants to ask him about. Instead all the questions are about that other huge event that Bob was involved in this year - Live 8 - and, perhaps understandably, having been living and breathing Live 8, G8, the Make Poverty History campaign and Band Aid 20 for well over a year now, he's gotten a little tired of it.
"I do get bored f***ing rigid with this stuff," the 54-year-old admits later.
"Bored stupid. If you'd seen my day yesterday... Which is why I'm so grumpy a lot of the time, and sort of seemingly dismissive. But I am taking it all in, it's just sometimes I think, f***ing hell."
Which is why over the coming weeks Bob's focus will change completely. Today 11 he heads out on an 11-date tour of the UK, the live dates supporting the November 14 release of an anthology of Bob's solo work. His face brightens at mention of the tour.
"I'm really looking forward to it," he says. "It just blows the cobwebs out, it's catharsis. It gets rid of all this stuff. When was I last on the road? I was gigging at the end of last year. No, hang on, was it the year before? It was the year before, f***ing hell," he sighs.
You get the feeling when he's talking that Bob would like music to be a bigger part of his life. He certainly says as much when the question is put to him.
Coming to fame as the frontman of The Boomtown Rats in the late 70s, he received an Outstanding Contribution To Music award at this year's Brits. But many commented at the time that this was more of a nod to his philanthropy than his musicianship.
"There's no question I'll be ( remembered more for my campaigning)," says Bob. "But I don't feel bad about that. It's not a bad thing to be remembered for.
"Live Aid will be the main thing, I guess, (Boomtown Rats hit) I Don't Like Mondays coming up the back, but that's okay. I'm not in the least bit interested in being remembered, though. I'm dead, I won't know."
Is he happy with the balance you have between music and campaigning?
"I don't know if it's a balance," replies Bob.
"I would dearly love to be able to make a living out of music, but I can't. It doesn't make me sad or anything. Also if I just did music it wouldn't occupy me enough, that's the truth. Even though I find it without question the only thing I truly enjoy doing."
Bob did manage to have a break this year. He took the whole of August off and, as he does every year, took his long-term girlfriend, actress Jeanne Marine, and his daughters - Fifi Trixiebelle, 22, Peaches, 17, and Pixie, 14, who he had with the late Paula Yates, and Tiger Lily, nine, Paula's daughter with the late Michael Hutchence - to Majorca.
He says he didn't enjoy it, that it drove him "nuts". He was keen to get back to work, even though he admits even he had found the events of 2005 thus far overwhelming.
"I say that because at the beginning I never would have believed it would work, but it did work," he says.
"People aren't going to say that for me so I'm going to have to say that for myself - it did work.
"But if in 2004 I'd have held a press conference and said, 'In the next year Britain is going to write this plan with all the G8 leaders for political change towards Africa, and we're going to form this giant global populist movement and the BBC are going to do 42 programmes from Africa to make the population understand it, and we'll bring it all together in a huge concert all over the world that's going to result in a political achievement at the Gleneagles summit, thank you', people would have told me to f*** off, but that's what happened.
"It won't be a difficult year to follow, it's just another year. But I took stock the other day, I was having a shave, and I thought, f***ing hell, if you add up the sum of this year, a lot has happened. Did I get much sleep this year? I don't know, I can't remember. I think I may have been narky on the odd occasion."
While many are criticising Bob's assertion that the G8 was a success in terms of tackling poverty in Africa, he's sticking by his guns. He admits that the London bombings dramatically shifted the focus away from the commission for Africa he had helped draw up.
But, he says, much more progress than he could have dreamed of had already been made by the time the bombs went off.
He says the UN summit, which followed G8 in September, was a "disaster", with poverty barely being mentioned, and that he feels it will be much the same scenario at the world trade negotiations in Tokyo this December. But, he says, this will make Gleneagles even more important.
Does he feel he'll see Africa start to solve its problems in his lifetime?
"Yes I do," he says. "That's a big question and that's a ridiculous answer, people will hit me for that. But yes I do, and I think the beginning of that was Gleneagles. Genuinely I think it was the beginning of the end of poverty.
"If the the money is spent correctly, then these people will come out of poverty. There's really no way they can't. Which is why I ended the whole thing saying I'd love to be here in 50 years. I won't, I'll be dead. But I'd love to see it, healthy and thriving."
Now his plan is to set up a monitoring group to make sure that the G8 countries follow through on their promises.
" They say they'll police themselves?" scoffs Bob. "I just don't buy that."
Aside from that he has little idea about what 2006 holds.
"I have to say I'm not enthralled by the idea of 2006," says Bob. "There's something missing, some big vibe that'll make me go, 'Yeah, f***, here we go'. But I certainly didn't feel that for 2005 and, f*** me, look what happened."
* Bob Geldof plays The De-Monfort Hall, Leicester, on December 13. Box Office: 0116 2333111