Boy meets Man
I had lunch with Bongo once. Once was enough. Apparently he was 60 the other day, but for a man of his undoubted ego, I find that hard to believe: he is probably beavering away annoyingly in some third world country as we speak, setting up a global task force to address the ridiculously low life expectancy there and institute a scheme whereby rock stars with excess years can transfer their surplus to the natives. Expect an announcement imminently that Bongo is now, through the generosity of his bleeding heart, a sprightly, re-adjusted 45.
In a moment of self-effacing madness, Mr Hewson, KBE OL [That’s not how you spell ‘Hewson’ – Ed.] released a list of 60 songs that saved his life. Well, at least we now know who to blame. But those 60 artists will be adequately punished: Ali’s husband plans to write a fan letter to each of them explaining in Bongo-speak why the song means so much to him. If I was one of those poor people, I would quickly scribble a sign and stick it at the end of my driveway: “Due to social distancing, and the desire to avoid pretentiousness, I am no longer accepting any letters through the post. Now wash your ears.”
Too late, apparently. In another attempt not to garner any publicity at all for himself, Bongo has also released the private messages of gratitude addressed to the 60 guilty musicians. I suppose we should be grateful he did not upload them for free, but without asking permission, onto our phones. The prose in the ‘letters’ quoted in that article is execrable – I will let you discover that for yourself, but do send in a literary analysis in Comments if you feel like it.
One of the problems with Mr Hewson, KBE OL, is those letters after his name. And it is not just me who is exercised about that issue. I particularly like the letter linked there that argues Bongo should be barred from speaking on behalf of the World’s poor having accepted a knighthood from the representative of an empire that had a major role in creating them. The letter-writer does not go far enough, though: just ban him from speaking, full stop.
Now I like a U2 ditty as much as the next man. (The next man is still Máirtín Ó Cadhain, for those interested in such things.) But it is when Bongo goes off stage and opens his mouth that the problems start. Of course it’s not just him; many other song and dance men, and actors too, suffer during their off-time under the delusion that they have something worthwhile to say about world affairs. They don’t. Not ever. And that means you too, Stong. And what is your real name while I’m at it? Stick to the entertaining, lads, and leave the serious business to those of us who know one end of a non-defining relative from another, and who can, therefore, be relied upon to present our thoughts in a coherent, intelligible manner. Can be relied upon, in fact, to actually have thoughts.
Another of Bongo’ problems may be that his band (which is actually not his band, but the drummer’s band) never actually bettered their first album, Boy. (Some embarrassing footage and facts in that documentary; no need to thank me.) Bit of a burden that, but it did not stop them, of course.
Details of the lunch, you say? Well, I had a delightful salade Niçoise washed down by a cheeky Kir Royal. No idea what Bongo and Ali had: they were at a table with around 9.7 others about 15.3 metres away from me in the packed bar in Dalkey.