Wednesday 29 April 2009

Bono And Northern Star's Twentieth Anniversary

I'm feeling a bit nostalgic today, as 29th April 2009 is the twentieth anniversary of my first meeting with Bono in Dublin which you can read about here. I can't believe that it is twenty years ago! I was a relatively young woman then, now I'm middle aged (but young at heart!), as is Bono. It was my first visit to Dublin and I never ever dreamed I would meet any member of U2. So much has happened in my life since then, good and bad. I'm a different person in many ways, life teaches, challenges, hurts and strengthens us. But one constant over that time has been U2.

As I've discussed before in my blog, my relationship with the band and their music has changed over the years. Since becoming a fan, U2 has always been a part of my life, much of the time in the background, sometimes like now, with a new album out and tour on the horizon (!) U2 are in the foreground. This fandom has also enriched my life in many non-U2 ways, the main one being that I would never have met the people who are now amongst my best friends had it not been for our common interest in u2.

Meeting Bono that time twenty years ago showed me the human side of U2 and how kind he is to fans (I found in time that the same applies to the other band members as well). I've been lucky to have met Bono many times since that first time in April 1989, and without fail at every meeting he has been friendly, warm and respectful towards me and others fans. Sometimes his gestures show such special kindness, way beyond any expectations, an example of which you can read about here. I wish Bono's detractors could see that side of him.

So, slainte to my anniversary, may there be many more years to share with Bono, U2 and my friends!

Tuesday 28 April 2009

Here, There And Everywhere

I really wonder where Bono gets all his energy from, he has the most amazing hectic lifestyle. Here's a quick rundown of his wanderings over the last week:

21st April
Attends the Food Bank for New York City's Sixth Annual Can-Do Awards

22nd April
Attends the Tribeca Film Festival kickoff dinner in New York hosted by Vanity Fair magazine.

24th April
He has crossed the Atlantic to attend the funeral of Sir Clement Freud in London with Ali.

25th April
Attends the public wedding ceremony of actress Salma Hayek and husband Francois-Henri Pinault in Venice.

27th April
Out for dinner with his mates in Dublin.

Bono and Ali at Selma Hayek's wedding in Venice

Monday 27 April 2009

Bull In Irish Supermarket

A friend told about this video today and when I got home I looked it up. It is hilarious, especially the bit where the staff member tries to block the bull's way with a supermarket trolley LOL! The interviews also shows that wonderful Irish sense of humour, enjoy.

Sunday 26 April 2009

The Original Achtung Baby

My friend Dawn and I went to see a U2 tribute band called The Original Achtung Baby on Saturday night. They were playing at The Venue in Dumfries, Scotland 30 miles from where I live.

The Venue was quite a small club, and had black leather sofas and armchairs scattered around the floor, I've never seen that before in a place like that! But they were very comfortable and we sat in a raised area close to the stage. There weren't that many people there, maybe 40-50, and most of them were aged 35+, which maybe says something about the Dumfries crowd or U2's fan base.

The band took the stage at 9.10pm and opened with Where The Streets Have No Name. "Bono" looked strange because he was quite tall with long legs, nothing like the short, stocky real version! Facially he wasn't much like Bono either. "Edge" was actually quite like the real thing, but played the guitar left handed. "Adam" did have a bit of the look of Mr Clayton and he had his mannerisms off to a "t" as they say. "Larry" looked nothing like the real Larry, but I've found most Larry's in tribute bands are unlike him - maybe that's because "It's all about the drums".

The set only consisted of songs up to Achtung Baby, there were no songs from later in U2's career which I thought was very strange and disappointing. "Bono" could sing, but his voice didn't really sound much like the real Bono's and he didn't really establish a rapport with the audience either. "Edge's" guitar playing was quite good, but sometimes the mix wasn't brilliant and the guitar wasn't as upfront as much as it should have been.

However, on a positive note it was really nice to hear some of the old songs again. A treat was when they did A Sort Of Homecoming and One Tree Hill, both rarely performed by U2 in the past, and both favourites of mine. They also did my all-time favourite song Bad, I never tire of it and I find it hard to believe it's 25 years old! Hearing all those songs from The Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby made me realise the sheer brilliance of those albums and I feel U2, though still relevant, will never attain that level again.

The Original Achtung Baby were ok, but I wouldn't go to see them again, ZU2 who we saw last year were much better, and the now sadly disbanded NU2 were the very best. But it was nice to hear U2 songs played live again and it's an exciting thought that when we next hear some of those songs they will be performed by the real U2!

Sunday 19 April 2009

The Ultimate Music Guide to U2

I'm on a bit of a roll with posting this weekend! This is from the NME website, it doesn't say when the magazine comes out, but I take it that it's May.

From the makers of Uncut comes an essential guide to the biggest rock band of the last 30 years. Over 148 pages the magazine's unrivalled team of expert writers provide a comprehensive survey of U2's work, from their first stirrings in Dublin to the globe-straddling force who have just released their 12th blockbusting album.

The Ultimate Music Guide to U2 will include detailed analyses of each one of U2's albums, revealing the hidden stories behind these landmark recordings. There will be reappraisals of U2's live work and DVD's, a guide to rarities and bootlegs, discographies and a wealth of info guaranteed to amaze the band's legion of fans.

The Uncut guide to U2 will also exploit Uncut's unique access to the NME and Melody Maker archives to reprint a host of classic interviews with the band, unseen for decades. It will also, as Uncut does each month, present the very best in rock photography.

Caldbeck In The Springtime

Today has been one of those glorious, sunny and warm Spring days when England looks so wonderful, especially so in my exquisite corner of it, Cumbria. Most of the county is a National Park, but some of my much-loved places are not within the well-known Lake District, but on the outskirts of it. One of my favourite villages is Caldbeck, 13 miles form where I live. It is an ancient village that nestles in a verdant hollow in the Fells, the foothills of the mountains of the Lake District.

My cousin Janet and I had a day out in Caldbeck today, along with the terrible two, Pepsi and Max. We parked the car and walked along a narrow pathway beside the river, past cottages and grander houses with gardens full of Spring flowers, and past the 12th Century St Kentigern's Church. On the riverbank behind the church was by St Kentigern's Well, where from the 6th century Christians were baptised.

A stone bridge crosses the river just beyond the church and a short walk on form there is the Priest's Mill. Built by a rector of the nearby church in 1702, it was a working corn grinding mill until 1933. It was restored in 1986 and now houses shops and a wonderful cafe that serves delicious homemade food. The huge waterwheel is still in full working order.

We stopped at the Priest's Mill as we knew they had an outside area where we could eat and take the dogs. Unfortunately a lot of other dog owners had the same idea, it was like a Doggie Central Meeting Point! We had a delicious meal there and the dogs had a lot of canine socialising.

Afterwards we walked back through the lovely village which, as it's a conservation area, has remained unchanged - I'm sure someone coming back here from a hundred or more years ago would recognise most of it.

We went on to just beyond the car park to the village pond and sat on a bench in the sunshine. The pond residents, the mallards, either sunbathed on the grass or were dipping their heads underwater tails in the air, looking for food.

It was so peaceful, there was no noise except for birdsong all around us and the odd splash and quack from the ducks. It was so relaxing and we sat for ages just chatting. All in all a lovely day, sometimes the simple things are the best aren't they?

The Sweetest Thing - Ali Interview

She's a woman I really admire, and she's married to a man I really admire! There's a great interview that shows she's still as grounded as ever here

Saturday 18 April 2009


Magnificent (which truly lives up to its name IMO), the second single from No Line On The Horizon, will be released on 4th May. U2 recently made a video to accompany the song in Morocco and this will be available to watch on soon. Meanwhile here's the cover of the single.

Thursday 16 April 2009

I Dreamed A Dream

The sometimes cruel world of reality TV that often pre-judges people certainly got it's come-upance with this lady who performed on Britain's Got Talent last Saturday. In this cyber-age her story has zoomed around the world and her performance has had millions of hits on Youtube. Watch it here

And there's a really good, thought-provoking article on the world of reality TV and why people have got behind Susan here

Good luck to her, I hope her dream comes true!

A Bad Day For Pythons!

I always like to read the more unusual stories in the news and came across two python tales today. The first, from Hong Kong, shows a woman's amazing determination to save her dog, read about that here

Then another python tale, this time from Kenya, of a man who bit a python to escape from its clutches and ended up with "damaged lips" - he must have bitten mighty hard! The "damage" could have been a lot worse. Read the fascinating story here

Thursday 9 April 2009

Canine Crusoe

You know I'm a sucker for special animal stories and here's one that I found amazing, a true story of survival - a dog that was washed overboard a boat in Australia, swam five miles to an island, lived for four months by killing wild goats, was discovered by park rangers and returned home to its family. Interesting how quickly the dog reverted to a wild state to survive and then once home quickly became a domestic pet again.

Read the story here

Wednesday 8 April 2009

Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me

Well I couldn't resist that title to accompany this photo. It gave me the best laugh of the day, in fact I couldn't stop laughing for ages! Bono (doing one of his best impersonations of Robin Williams), Ali and Helena Christensen are on holiday in St Barts in the Caribbean (it's such a hard life being a mega rockstar eh?) and this photo was taken there. So what other captions can you think of?

Tuesday 7 April 2009

"I thought I looked very sexy in eye make-up," Bono

You can find an interview from the Irish Independent, published April 5th, here . It has brilliant chat with all of U2 and Brian Eno and there are fascinating insights into them as people. The interview covers everything from the new album, male make up, the human spirit, to addiction and lots more, have a read.

New Tour Logo

A new logo for the 360 Tour has appeared Much better than the old one which I didn't like at all. This one is much slicker and professional looking with a touch of Mercedes me-thinks.

Saturday 4 April 2009

Back To Normal - Whatever That Is

The U2 ticket madness is over for us now and it's kind of a releif. We managed to get tickets for Nice, Dublin 1 & 3, Wembley 1 & 2 and Glasgow. We got Red Zone tickets at a reasonable price for Wembley 2 which I'm pleased about. I'm too old to queue for hours and then stand for hours in order to get a good postion close to the band. This alternative is perfect for me and, though I had reservations about it at first, I feel ok about it now and it's good that a portion of the proceeds goes to charity. We've also manged to sell our spare Wembley tickets to other fans so it's worked out fine.

I checked my credit card statement and it's really scary to see what I've spent for tickets, travel and accommodation for this tour! It had better be worth it, I think it will be. If there is another tour next year though I won't be seeing as many shows, there's no way I could afford it.

I've been seeing U2 play live since the Lovetown Tour, and only once have been disappointed in a gig (the Popmart opening show at Las Vegas), U2 are special live and this summer is going to be a ball, I just know it. Nowadays of course there's always the thought at the back of my mind that this could well be the last U2 tour, though I hate to think of that, but nothing goes on forever and U2 are pushing 50 now.

So, for a few months I'll be living my normal, ordinary life and paying off my credit card. Then, come the summer, I'm going to make the most of the 360 Tour and sink into total Tour Madness once more.