Some of Bono friends have responded to the publication of Harry Browne’s non-music related book on the singer, which declaims him as a tax-avoiding, neo-liberal puppet who has got it wrong on Africa…
Rather than sue, Bono has authorised his closest associates to challenge the accusations levelled in the book.
Ex-president Bill Clinton said: “Few people have done more to mobilise a global response to the fight against poverty and disease than Bono. He is one of the most effective, committed advocates I have ever met for debt relief and aid for the poorest nations, and for increased funding to fight Aids and other diseases whose victims are overwhelmingly young and poor. We are all in his debt.”
…On the tax controversy, Mr [Jamie] Drummond [co-founder with Bono of Third World debt advocacy agency, One] says Bono is actively campaigning for taxation transparency. “Bono pays all taxes that he is due all over the world, including those in Ireland. He is campaigning for transparency in offshore financial centres. Bono is spearheading an anti-corruption campaign.”
Previously: I’m With Stupid
The Front Man [by Dublin Institute of Technology's Harry Browne] is about a boy who never grew up or faced facts. Through very careful accretion of detail it left me feeling that Bono resembled no entertainment or arts figure nearly as much as that other sad, sheltered boy, George W. Bush.
In fact, what surprised me most about my reaction to the book was how my response changed as I read. At first, the prose seemed too reserved, too cautious, incapable of capturing the outrageousness of Bono, one part talent to nine parts hubris.
But as the pages turned, what engrossed me was another portrait: Bono as that little boy in man’s boots, surrounded by forces he fathoms no more than a five-year-old fathoms the perils of the sea. In the end, Harry Browne’s Bono is not so much a huckster as a sucker; not a con man so much as a victim of the world’s greatest con artists; not an egomaniac but someone so insecure he has found ways to be shielded from almost all harsh realities (well, at least his own). If this were a movie, you might be able to measure the price paid just by the way he looks at himself in the mirror.
Most less than adulatory writing about Bono, including my own, is a blend of anger, contempt, condescension and frustration.
The Front Man recognizes all these instincts, but keeps them under tight command. For instance, Browne allows himself to be angrier (in tone) at Bono’s wife, Ali, whose business machinations are real but comparatively trivial, than at Bono, himself. There’s kind of a shadow behind such moments, as if we’re meant to glean that the
book’s protagonist can’t be judged like other men, not because he is extraordinarily gifted or brave or empathetic, but because he’s so lost, frightened and pathetic.
Bono may be the personification of all that’s evil about contemporary celebrity culture and all that’s worse than bankrupt about liberal capitalism (and liberal capitalists) but there’s also a real person in there, and he’s spent most of a lifetime making himself what history must surely judge—perhaps not with as much restraint as the author—as a fool.
Rock writer Dave Marsh, who first met Bono in 1984 and is a longtime critic of U2′s music and their singer’s politics, reviewing Harry Bowne’s book The Front Man: Bono (In The Name Of Power).
Previously: Anything Good On Amazon
Thanks Michael Nugent
(Above: Edge, Paul McGuinness and nine-year-old Siofra Marum from Portlaoise at the announcement of a new two-year research partnership entitled ‘Developing Diversity in Music Education in Ireland’ yesterday.)
U2 have given away the profits from their Irish concerts to charity, the band’s manager Paul McGuinness has revealed.
The band donated €5 million from their three Croke Park concerts in 2009 to Music Generation, a charity that provides funding for structured music education across the country.
Their three Croke Park concerts in 2005 would probably have generated similar revenues, while the band also played two concerts at Slane Castle in 2001.
Mr McGuinness said it had been the band’s practice “going way, way back” to give the profits away but it “was discreetly done in the past”.
(Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland)
Before the guidebooks.
Came the soothsaying.
He was the David McWilliams of the Irish new wave scene.
Journalist John McKenna gave them a freakishly prescient introduction. “What can I say about these titans among rock & rollers?” he said. “The band for the future – the Eighties or Nineties, who knows? U2!”
His words may not be as memorable as Jon Landau’s “I’ve seen rock & roll future” line about Bruce Springsteen, but it’s still quite remarkable when you look back upon it. Just two months after this appearance U2 were signed to Island Records. That same month, they met with Joy Division producer Martin Hannett about possibly producing Boy. By a crazy cosmic coincidence, they happened to visit during the “Love Will Tear Us Apart” recording session. They wound up working with Steve Lillywhite, who they’ve worked with (off and on) for the past three decades.
But in January of 1980 not a lot of people were calling U2 the band of the Eighties, let alone the Nineties. John McKenna did, and we take our hats off to him.
Thanks Barry H
The Voice UK’s ‘coaches’ (including Danny O’Donoghue of The Script) utterly mangle U2′s Beautiful Day on Saturday night.