It has been 28 years since they last performed in London, and last night, during their current one-off tour, I saw them at the Roundhouse London.
Although it feels like I grew up in the era of the Rats, I had never before seen them live.

It was just great.
Ageing (quasi)punk rockers can still produce magic. A glorious performance of passion, talent, individuality, and anger.

The anger is perhaps a little more subdued these days. But, as I listen anew to the lyrics of the songs – Banana Republic, Someone’s Looking at You – it strikes me that anger, just like all emotions that we experience, can have a positive and creative impact.

Growing up in Ireland, anger was judged as a fundamentally ‘wrong’ emotion, to be suppressed at all times, often with tragic consequences.
Perhaps this is not unique to Ireland. A young non-Irish work colleague this week told me that he also believes that anger is always ‘wrong’ and destructive.
I contend that no emotion is fundamentally wrong. We feel what we feel. To repress or to suppress any is unhealthy. Problems arise only in how we deal with them, not in the fact of feeling them.

And so, I am grateful to Bob Geldof and The Boomtown Rats, who used anger positively to create music and words whose meaning transcends time and nations.

From Someone’s Looking At You:

‘You may as well
shout it from the roof
scream it from your
spit it from your mouth
It could fall on deaf ears to indulge in your fears
There’s a spy in the sky
There’s a noise on the wire
There’s a tap on the line
And for every paranoid’s desire…

There’s always Someone looking at you.
S-s-s-s-someone looking at you…
They’re always looking at you.’