Came across this article from Bono, of U2. Thought it fit as we say goodbye to 2014.
Excerpts I found that made sense, ironic that I post it on un-common sense. Hope you get something from this as I did.
“Bono’s A to Z of 2014:
It’s January 1, 8pm. I nearly didn’t press go on this, and I am clearly delirious in places. It’s very personal, but I feel in a not corny way that U2 has a very intimate relationship with our audience… so I’m going for it.
This is too long.
If you do get to the end of it then you are probably on the same painkillers as me.
For the last few weeks I haven’t been able to move around physically so I have more than made up for it by leaving my mind to wanderlust, untethered except electronically…
I have written words for new songs, but I have also had an opportunity to look back and review the year in a way I’ve never had time to do before… there have been more highs than lows, but perhaps the reason for this A TO Z endeavor is an attempt to learn from mistakes – the first of which is the discovery that I am not an armored vehicle. Edge says I look at my body as an inconvenience…The problem, as I see it, is that I think my head is harder than any other surface.
On the day of my 50th birthday I received an injury because I was over indulging in exercise boxing and cycling, which was itself an overcompensation for overindulging on alcohol coming up to the big birthday. I promised myself I would be more mindful of my limits, but just four years on, it happened again – a massive injury I can’t blame on anyone but myself, mainly because I blanked out on impact and have no memory of how I ended up in New York Presbyterian with my humerus bone sticking through my leather jacket. Very punk rock as injuries go.
C IS FOR CLAYTON
Adam’s bass playing on Songs of Innocence was as fresh and original as his work on our first album, BOY, which was genius as far as I’m concerned. Songs like The Troubles or Volcano, or This Is Where You Can Reach Me Now depend on Adam… to glue together elements that might otherwise fly off in different trajectories.
Adam is also the happiest he has ever been in his life since he married Mariana… she is so special and they share a passion for contemporary art that has them great friends as well as lovers. The only thing that bothers me about Adam Clayton is he seems to buy better gifts than I do. He bought Ali a snowflake pendant that she hardly ever takes off despite all my attempts to ply her with things that shine.
Truth is Ali is too modest and old-school frugal to wear anything showy. Yet another lesson there. (Note to self. Look up “frugal.”)
Above all else E IS FOR EDGE
This year during the recording of SOI the band ended up sharing houses in London. I had the room under the Edge… this was a mistake. The dude doesn’t sleep. When we record, he’s often playing guitar right through the night. I offered him sleeping tablets. He said he’d rather the album be crack than valium.
Edge is not just one of my dearest friends, he, like the missus, remains a mystery to those who know him best…. a paradox… a true gentleman but with the rage of rock’n’roll under quite thick skin…. though he is U2’s lightning conductor, he moves like a very calm breeze…you might not notice it but for the ripples in the sand, the subtleties in his playing, his songwriting hooks… some of them not obvious at first turn out to be eternal. He is the only one who doesn’t know that he is the most influential guitar player in a quarter century. Edge is very proud, as is the rest of the band, of our involvement in Music Generation…making sure in Ireland that any future Edges can get their hands on a guitar. By November, 19,000 kids had had access to instruments and lessons thanks to the brilliant Rosaleen Molloy who runs the scheme.
F IS FOR FANS
U2 is a band that started out as fans, and with this new album we wanted to remind ourselves and others that we hadn’t forgotten that. We stepped out of the audience of The Clash and The Ramones… In earlier times we had fans sleeping on the floors of our hotel rooms. Later that got weird. But we’ve always understood who was paying our wages.
U2 were the first to use new technologies like a satellite stage and billboard sized videos, to make sure the seat at the back of the house was as good as the front. But now with paparazzi and cell phone cameras it’s harder to hang out except when we’re on tour. The sound of a U2 audience is like the roar of a rocket launch. This time we wont be in space…this rocket is bringing us back to earth.
G IS FOR GLAUCOMA
Completely unintentionally, in London in the autumn I confessed to the talk show host Graham Norton the reason that I wear tinted glasses is that I have been diagnosed as having glaucoma for the last seven years, but that I’ve probably had the disease as long as I’ve been wearing these kinds of glasses, which is 23 years!!!!
I think it shocked him a little bit… it certainly surprised the band that I’d gone public, but maybe it is time to be honest about such things. I remember I had the nickname old red eyes. I remember the agony of flashbulb staying permanently in my vision for the rest of the day after I’d been photographed. I had many eye checks over the years but one of the sly things about this “silent thief” is that you can have 20/20 vision straight ahead for some years even after your peripheral vision goes… If it’s not treated, blindness results. I think anyone who reaches 40 should have their eyes properly checked.
I IS FOR ITUNES
Our album was to be like a bottle of milk dropped at the door of anyone interested in music and iTunes. As I understand it, the journey from the front door to the fridge and into what to some people felt was their bowl of cereal has something to do with a switch called “automatic download” – if you turn it on, you sign up for being pushed stuff.
That’s about it…no flagrant abuse of human rights, but very annoying to people who a) like being annoyed, and/or b) felt it was like someone robbing their phone in the pub and taking a couple of photos before leaving it back on the table… some kind of breach of privacy which was really not intended. That Apple remains a music company is the best news for any one who wakes up with a melody in their head or wanting to hear one. Apple is unique in big tech in trying to get artists paid. That they would agree to pay Universal for SONGS of INNOCENCE, and then gift it to all the people who still believe music is worth paying for, both makes sense and is a beautiful thing.
I IS FOR IRISH PRIDE
I broke my hand, my shoulder, my elbow and my face but the real injury this year was to my Irish pride as it was discovered that under my tracksuit I was wearing yellow and black Lycra cycling shorts. Yes, LYCRA. This is not very rock ‘n’ roll.
Recovery has been more difficult than I thought… As I write this, it is not clear that I will ever play guitar again. The band have reminded me that neither they nor Western civilization are depending on this.
I personally would very much miss fingering the frets of my green Irish falcon or my (RED) Gretsch. Just for the pleasure, aside from writing tunes. But then does the Edge, or Jimmy Page, or any guitarist you know have a titanium elbow, as I do now? I’m all elbows, I am.
My deepest Irish pride is seeing the smarts and resolve of the Irish people as our country emerges from the mess of last five years… I said as much in March at a speech in Dublin in front of a load of European leaders: “I want to give an enormous gigantic big up to the Irish people who, a) were screwed; and b) fought back with dignity. Irish people don’t bruise easily, but we don’t like the feeling of being bullied. But when the public sector had to pay for the arrogance of private sector stupidity, we got both bullied and bruised. And that was not fair… we’re coming through, and I’d love to say it was the Troika; but I think, frankly, it was despite the Troika. The way we see it, the Irish people bailed the Irish government out”.
J IS FOR JIMMY FALLON
He is the second coming of the late show.
But the reasons are very 21st century – a horizontal rather than vertical relationship with his audience. He is not just a friend of the famous he is everybody’s friend. The pain of my bike accident didn’t compare with the disappointment of cancelling a week hanging out on his show. He made it worse by being a better Bono than I could ever be.
L IS FOR LARRY MULLEN
The cover of the U2 album is, I think, our best. There was a moment when we did the Graham Norton show – a moment that, to keep the pace up, got left out of the final edit, but that really knocked us all out. When Graham asked Larry why he and his son would agree to appear on the album cover (the Mullen Juniors are very protective of their privacy), Larry talked about how he and his son have at times had a stormy relationship – and that beautiful photograph by Glen Luchford meant so much to the two of them in their new closeness. “I’m not sure who is holding onto who,” Larry said. “Check my son’s hand… He’s a tough kid but not so tough that he can’t hold onto his father as his father holds onto him”.
O IS FOR ONE
ONE ends 2014 with over 6 million members, 2.4 million of them on the continent of Africa. Our African members say that by 2030 they’ll be giving us aid, and the job of us white messiahs is to put ourselves out of business. I look forward to that day.
Some highlights… The World Bank says that after the Drop the Debt mob…52 million more children are in school…The Global Fund says that 13 million people with HIV are now on life-saving medication.
It’s bizarre, but there is a new African proverb: “Pray that we do not discover oil”. I want you to know that ONE fights corruption too. There’s less noise about that side of what we do, it doesn’t lend itself to photo-ops or 140 characters. Along with the Publish What You Pay coalition, ONE have helped pass laws in Europe and America which force mining/extractive companies to declare what monies they are paying, to whom. You’d think this would be simple, obvious. Not if you are the American Petroleum Institute, they took legal action to grind the US law to a halt… for the moment.
We couldn’t do what we do without the Gates Foundation. Outside of my parents, Ali, and the band, I don’t think anyone has given me more support in my life than Bill and Melinda Gates. The man who changed the world with his software, is, with his missus, changing the world again with their foundation… which was doubled in size by another family, the Buffetts …who through their own fortunes had even before that been changing the fortunes of so many others.
R IS FOR (RED)
These Percocets (painkillers) are pretty perky until they are not… you are in a kind of fluffy land floating till you wake the next morning with a bump …but the evening of World AIDS Day, December the first, before that bump I had a vision …television.
I was watching the giant TV screens of Times Square turn crimson… the ultra vivid advertising morphed from advertising products to advertising Hope… And Gratitude …. Mothers and their kids, nurses and farmers from Accra, Colombo, Phnom Penh holding up signs saying… Thank you New York… Thank you Boise… Thank you Chicago… For those AIDS drugs that mean we are alive… About 8 million people are on anti retroviral drugs paid for by the USA
Thank You America.
Then through the red neon I saw Edge, Adam, Larry play the opening of Where The Streets Have No Name … but I wasn’t there … Somebody much more New York than me was beginning to sing … somebody who had been down many more streets …most of them with names or numbers and particular letters… Either the Governor of E street, Bruce Springsteen, was actually performing with U2 or I’d overshot the runway on the opiates….
It’s said that Frank Sinatra owned four American cities. New York, Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles all felt like hometown crowds to him. Bruce Springsteen has the whole country to call his hometown. He stepped in for the (RED) Times Square show so America could be thanked… he was a real improvement on the original running order.
Earlier I had hallucinated Chris Martin kicking off a beautiful night with Beautiful Day. I imagined I heard him sing With or Without You, but knew that song would be too painful for him to sing this year…. these analgesics can mess with you … But it was actually real… A pregnant Carrie Underwood is singing to stop the HIV virus being passed from other mothers to their children …”You’re just a fool, just a fool to believe you can change the world” she sings.. knowing that only fools don’t try.
The concert wrapped up another bright (RED) year. Some numbers… $10 million from Bank of America to kick off January… in December, news that Apple hit the $100 million mark, taking (RED) to over $300million for the Global Fund. (RED) Belvedere flowed. (RED) Cokes hit the shelves.
But it’s not all about the money – the neon and fizz is just as important. What’s on the minds of the people is also on the minds of the politicians, who can really put an end to this awfulness if they want to. The best news of all in 2014 was that we have reached a tipping point in the pandemic. For the first time the number of people starting on medication outstripped those contracting the virus.
U IS FOR U2 LIVE …. We don’t finish our songs, we just put them out. U2 is a live band. Live is where we live or die. The songs continue to grow night after night. We have some extraordinary ideas up our sleeve for this tour I’ve just got to be rebuilt by 14th May.
Y IS FOR WHY
Peaches Geldof. Robin Williams. Philip Seymour Hoffman. RIP.
Z IS FOR ZERO GENERATION
Some people call them the millennials. I call them Generation Z… because they can take us into the zero-tolerance zone for a lot of the awfulness in the world right now… As they age, I don’t know if they’ll be playing our music, but if we are still around, I hope to be deafened by the joyful noise of a world unrecognizably better because of the innovations in science, medicine, and equality they bring about. The biggest breakthroughs are always in the way we see the world. We could do with some fresh eyes. On U2 too.”
You can read the whole A through Z, which has pix & videos along the way, by visiting this address: