Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Drog sees RED

1 December was World AIDS Day – Niketown on Oxford Street has “gone RED”, as have their flagship shops around the world. They’ve produced red laces which all Nike football players are wearing. Their shops have red windows. The sales of these laces will raise money for the Global Fund to fight AIDS, raise awareness about RED and AIDS and help secure more public funding for the Global Fund in the US. RED’s already raised over $140m.

Didier Drogba came to the launch, alongside Bono whose idea RED was. The Ivorian man mountain likes his RED laces - in the photo above he's scoring the first of 2 goals for Chelsea against Arsenal while wearing them.

“Drog sees RED” made it on to Page 3 of The Sun, directly below Poppy, 19 from Swindon. Unfortunately Poppy didn’t have anything to say about World AIDS Day. She did have very small pants though. Her comment box featured her opinion on the front page story about a family of Somali asylum-seekers who have been given a big house in Westminster.

Biking through a cold but clear London I passed the fountains in Trafalgar Square spraying red water into the night sky while the giant London Eye shone a bright red arc over Whitehall. I’ve lost my gloves and wear socks on my hands instead. To regain sensation in my fingers I got a RED coffee from Starbucks. They’ve learnt from last year’s novelty, ginger flavoured coffee that RED coffee is best served in a red cup rather than the coffee literally being red.

The MP I went to meet turned out to be an Arsenal supporter. He wasn’t as enthusiastic about Drogba’s red laces. He did agree that the World Cup in South Africa makes 2010 a year when the world will see Africa differently. He said the right things about politicians keeping their promises to the world’s poor despite the economic crisis.

Will Drogba and the rest rise to the test? South Korea got to the semi-final when they hosted the World Cup and they were rubbish. The mighty elephants of Ivory Coast, lions of Cameroon and Bafana Bafana of South Africa should show Africa at its best up against the superpowers of Brazil, tricky Italians and cheating French: a continent fighting massive odds with an uncertain present and exciting future.

Cycling home beneath a full moon I looked north to the alien beacon that is the BT Tower. It was bright RED.