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Finland's 1st Red Nose Day
by Asa Butcher
2007-10-26 00:38:50
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Almost twenty years ago I remember wearing a red nose to school and participating in the first ever Comic Relief, which has now become widely known as Red Nose Day. I was ten years old and quite happy to walk around with a red nose attached to my nose and it was with some excitement that we all watched Lenny Henry, Griff Rhys Jones and Jonathan Ross present the TV extravaganza that went on late into the morning – of course, my parents gave us a cut-off time of midnight, even on a Friday!

By the conclusion of that very first night Comic Relief had raised £15 million to combat the horrors created by the Ethiopian famine. Earlier this year the UK held its 19th Red Nose Day and finally managed to collect over £40 million for countries in Africa and for disadvantaged people in the UK, which is an amount the British public can be proud.

Earlier this month Bob Geldof, KBE, told a Helsinki seminar, "Once we are told about something and once we know it to be true and we do nothing, we are complicit… We don't have to feel guilty; we just have to stop it because we can." The British public have been particularly interactive when it comes to Children in Need, Comic Relief, the Indian Earthquake fund and many others, so it is with some interest I will be watching Finland's own efforts.

It may have taken almost two decades, but Finland has finally joined the Red Nose Party and is ready to encourage its citizens to dig deep into their pockets and donate as much as they can afford. I am reminded of young children phoning the donation hotlines and pledging that week's pocket money to the cause and the huge corporations sending their PR representative to present a huge cheque with many zeroes. The big and the small are welcome because every little really does help.

As I said at the start, the first Red Nose Day in the UK began in the early evening and continued non-stop till the early hours of the morning, so it is with some satisfaction that YLE2 are emulating that with the show beginning at 1800 and lasting through to midnight, albeit with a couple of news breaks. I have been a little bemused by YLE promoting their first Red Nose Day with material from the UK's broadcast, such as Ricky Gervais, the Little Britain crew and many more, but next year they should have some of their own material to use.

You are welcome to join in the Red Nose Day Collection by arranging your own event to collect money for a good cause. You could arrange a sporting or sponsored exercise event, or challenge your workmates to do something fun to raise money – perhaps we could sponsor Thanos to shave off his facial hair. Don't forget that all monies collected this year will provide much needed aid for children in developing countries.

If you are not the sort of person who likes to arrange events, you can still join in by going to one of the Red Nose Day events arranged in various parts of Finland by the organisations running the Yle Helps campaign, or you can watch and listen to the fundraising programmes on Friday, 26 October 2007. And naturally you can give a donation right away through your online bank: Make a donation now!

Here's hoping for a blast from the past tonight, while simultaneously helping the future… now, do I really have the self-confidence to walk the streets of Helsinki wearing a red nose?


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Sand2007-10-26 10:02:58
Although a comic red nose is a rather innocuous way of expressing discontent perhaps something peaceful yet more forceful might be undertaken to raise a stink over the misery in the world. I propose a public fart day when, the day before, everybody would fortify themselves with a generous meal of beans. The world stink would make it plain that there was a strong objection to people starving. And the motivation to succor starving people and stop World Fart Day could be somewhat stronger than merely displaying red noses.

Emanuel Paparella2007-10-26 15:27:42
Intriguing poetics of defacation.

Emanuel Paparella2007-10-26 15:33:56
P.S. Without meaning to usurp the title of "intellectual hygienist" from anybody, there is a typo in the above: the word should be spelled as "defecation."

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