Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Honouring Anton Corbijn

Bono and Chris Martin (Coldplay) were in Amsterdam honouring photographer Anton Corbijn,who received a lifetime achievement award from a Dutch culture funding organization. 

Bono and Chris Martin performed with the Metropole Orchestra, and Bono recited work by late Dutch artist Herman Brood. 
Corbijn received the award for being an important role model to his generation's popular culture and an international example for photographers, designers and art directors.

U2's singer Bono recites a Herman Brood poem to photographer, artist and friend Anton Corbijn, who received the Prince Bernhard Cultuurfonds Prize in Amsterdam. Images: Het Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds.

Friday, November 18, 2011

U2 by Interview Magazine



Since coming out of Dublin in the late ’70s, U2 has released 12 studio albums, the majority of which are great, and a handful of which are even greater—which is to say, sharper, deeper, tighter, and more adventurous and all-consuming. Near the top of that list is 1991’s Achtung Baby, a dark record birthed during a series of fraught sessions at Hansa Studios in Berlin in late 1990, and one that’s as important for the succession of dirty, experimental, and indelible songs that it spawned—“The Fly,” “One,” “Mysterious Ways”—as it is for the radical and willful break from the past that it came to represent.

By the time the members of U2—Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen Jr.—decamped to Hansa with producers Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois to begin work on what would become Achtung Baby, they were already the biggest band in the world. But as work on the album progressed in Berlin, and later back in Dublinthe widescreen romance and earnestness of earlier records like The Unforgettable Fire (1984) and The Joshua Tree (1987) gave way to a noisy meld of Manchester-dance and German-electronic influences shot through with a mix of irony, ecstasy, and high-modernist wit. For the tour in support of the album, the band’s previously stripped-down road show was supplanted by the elaborate Blade Runner-esque stage-set and oversize video screens of Zoo TV, with its between-song channel surfing, audience confessional videos, in-show satellite hook-ups, and theatrical flourishes. Then there was Bono, decked out in Jim Morrison’s pants, Elvis’s jacket, and, of course, Lou Reed’s bug-eye sunglasses—the rock star remixed. It was at once like nothing anyone had ever seen or heard before—at least on purpose, in one place, from a rock band—and, at the same time, all too much like everything that everyone was seeing everywhere at a moment when the map of the world was being redrawn, a media revolution was afoot, and the culture itself was in the midst of a tectonic shift.
From The Sky Down, Davis Guggenheim’s new documentary about U2’s struggle to find a new direction—and to stay together—during the making of Achtung Baby, delves into the genesis of the album through the lens of a return trip to Hansa that the band made earlier this year. (The film is airing right now on Showtime.) This month, U2 is also releasing a special 20th anniversary edition of Achtung Baby that includes both the full original album and 1993’s Zooropa, as well as an array of B-sides, outtakes, and alternate versions of songs.
I spoke with Guggenheim, The Edge, and Bono in early September in Toronto, hours before From The Sky Downwas set to premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. —STEPHEN MOOALLEM

What's Behind The Magic Door Exhibition Opening

Leah Hewson ,niece of Bono and daughter of Norman Hewson, at the launch of her exhibition 'what's behind the magic door ' at KTcontemporary Gallery in Dublin .Pictured at the event was Leah with her uncle Bono and aunt Ali.

Leah Hewson ,niece of Bono and daughter of Paul Hewson,graduated with a first class honours BA in Fine Art from Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology in 2010. For her graduate exhibition Hewson was short-listed for the ‘Most Promising Graduate Award’ at the Talbot Gallery and Studios in Dublin. Her work is part of the Microsoft collection and she is winner of the 2011 Picture Works competition. Hewson’s practice continues to investigate the boundaries between reality and fantasy and for this latest body of work she explores the importance of preserving imagination, and its relationship with reality. Manipulating childhood photographs, surreal scenes full of nostalgia and colour are created depicting different childish behaviours. Hewson uses varied types of media, minimising boundaries and sometimes employing childlike methods in order to retain the innocence and naivety of a child’s imagination. Nevertheless, in several pieces the darker elements of a certain knowledge that comes with adulthood creep through, and she also uses systems of pelmanism to stimulate the powers of perception. For Hewson the imagination presents a continual stream of infinite possibility and this has become the core of her uniquely honest approach to art making. ©Kenneth O'Halloran

To know more about Leah Hewson´s art,click here.

U2 back in town with wall-to-wall support at studio

Bono checks out U2 fans' graffiti at their Hanover Quay studio in Dublin yesterday

U2 were back in town yesterday to record part of the band's newest studio album at their Hanover Quay studio.
U2 frontman Bono was spotted signing autographs for fans outside the band's Dublin studio, where many of their best-selling albums were recorded after the band bought the studios in the early 1990s.
He even took time to pose next to some of the graffiti left on the studio walls by fans of the band.
He later attended the opening of an exhibition of art by his niece, Leah Hewson, at the KTcontemporary gallery in Donnybrook.

Bono is not a celebrity, he´s a force of nature.

Len Short is truly an online marketing pioneer, heading up marketing at Charles Schwab, AOL and then (PRODUCT)RED. He is now leading Chug, a car buying search engine, as its Founder and CEO.
Len later joined (PRODUCT)RED as its Founding CMO. In this capacity he worked with U2′s Bono, as well as Steve Jobs and a number of other notable celebrities whom Len encouraged to lend their brand equity to bolster RED’s cause.
Earlier in his career, Len worked at NW Ayer where he focused much of his attention on non-profits. Fast-forward a decade and he was the CMO at (PRODUCT)RED. Giving back is clearly in Len’s DNA. He shared the following advice for emerging entrepreneurs who have limited time and money but an unlimited passion to give back philanthropically. “With Red, Africa wasn’t my cause. It was Bono’s cause and Bobby Shriver’s cause. I found an opportunity to take some unique skills that I had (and) to apply them to that model. I invested two years of my life…and it became my cause. The most important things people can give are their talents and innovation. So as an entrepreneur, (talent) is the most valuable currency.
Bono said, ‘Well, OK. I understand your plan but I want a friend of mine who is a marketing guy to vet your plan,’ and I said, ‘Oh yeah, who’s that?’ and he said, ‘Steve Jobs.’ Steve was amazingly helpful and supportive.
RED… is a for-profit endeavor, the profits just go to Africans, not to anybody else. It has made and distributed over $180 million in profits that have all gone…to buy ARVs (antiretroviral drugs). Look at your talents and see what they can lend. Later on give your money away.”
(PRODUCT)RED continues to be immensely successful, having directly impacted the lives of over 7.5 million people. The organization is on track to make the children born in 2015 the first AIDS free generation in decades. Given RED’s immense marketing impact, I asked Len what he would do differently, if he were launching the project today. “If I did it again, I’d be even more adamant about staffing it and creating a culture of relentless, hard-nosed focus on creating results. That goes for pretty much any enterprise and certainly a cause should have the same hard-nosed approach that business does. That was our going-in proposition.”
In addition to its Co-Founder, Bono, (PRODUCT)RED enlisted the support of a number of notable personalities. Due to Rincon Venture Partners‘ focus on sourcing deals within the Southern California ecosystem, we often see deals in which one or more celebrities are involved. From an investor’s standpoint, we view this as a mixed blessing. Even so, I found Len’s counsel regarding how to appropriately manage and maximize an organization’s relationship with high-profile celebrities to be a bit surprising. “Celebrities are tricky. I think it is borrowed equity. Essentially a successful entrepreneur will always be purely driven by a vision. They won’t let distractions or shortcuts distract them. It’s easy to talk yourself into, ‘So and so is interested and it will help me.’ I am not sure it ever does, unless there is a natural connection. The same rule applies, borrowed equity isn’t yours.
I can’t really think of a great case history where a celebrity has really driven a startup. Other than RED, I mean Bono, I wouldn’t call him a celebrity, he’s a force of nature.”


Read more: http://infochachkie.com/len-short/#ixzz1e59ac0V2

Larry Mullen Jr.: The Man on the Train

The musician-turned-actor talks about his "jump off the bridge" straight into the movie business. Now available in USA on demand via Tribeca Film.

Photo courtesy Tribeca Film / credit: Sophie Girau

Now playing across the country on VOD via Tribeca FilmMary McGuckian's The Man on the Train is an English-language remake of Patrice Leconte's atmospheric L'Homme du Train [2002], which starred musician-turned-actor Johnny Hallyday and Jean Rochefort. In the current film, Irish musician Larry Mullen Jr. makes his acting debut opposite the legendary Donald Sutherland.

Mullen, who did triple-duty on the film—actor, producer, and soundtrack supervisor—recently talked to us about his "baptism by fire," his acting method, and what it was like to work with an icon.

Tribeca: Congratulations on your acting debut! Clearly, you’ve always been a creative man. When did you realize that you had an interest in acting, and was there something particular that prompted you to tackle this new challenge?

Larry Mullen Jr.:
 I’ve always had an interest in doing something that was outside my comfort zone; I had this thing about standing on the edge of the cliff and deciding to jump. I think it’s probably a bit like imagining that you might enjoy shark diving or bungee jumping off a very large bridge. I thought [acting] might be an exciting thing to do—I’m used to sitting and being in the background, and I’ve enjoyed that, for many, many years. But I kind of played with the idea for a while, never believing that anything would come of it.

Then I ran into Mary McGuckian, and we talked about her making films, and what that was about. And she said to me, “If you’re interested in filmmaking, you should watch this film,” which was the original Man on the Train, the Patrice Leconte version. So I had a look at that, and I loved it, and I thought, “Well, it would be great if somebody remade this film and I could get a small part; that would be a rich little idea.” To put a long story short, Mary said, “Look, if we’re going to do this, let’s create a partnership.” So we did, and I got involved in the production—trying to get the rights, etc.—which I enjoyed very much.

And then when we actually got the rights, they said to me, “Well, you’re going to have to play the part of The Man; that’s the whole idea.” And I said, “Well, what the f*&%?” So I was forced into it, but I wasn’t totally an unwilling participant. It was a pretty damn big decision to make. And of course, when Donald Sutherlandsigned up, it seemed like the most stupid thing I’d ever done in my whole life! [laughs] But there you have it. I ended up on a set in Toronto for 17 days working with Donald Sutherland, and it was a very different experience for me, I have to tell you.

The Man on the Train
Photo courtesy Tribeca Film / credit: Sophie Girau

Tribeca: Well, you really held your own. What attracted you to this story? What did you like about the original film, and what did you and Mary think you could do differently with this version?

Larry Mullen Jr.: I think the reason Mary showed it to me was because of how difficult it is for people who are in music, in particular, to make that changeover [to acting]. There’s a long, long list of people who have tried and have not succeeded—not because they weren’t talented, but because it’s difficult to be believable when you’re known as one thing and then you decide to do something else.

Mary’s point was that [French musician] Johnny Hallyday [Mullen’s counterpart in the French film] had made several films and had not been terribly successful, and then he found this movie. And it was a very, very successful transition, and she was saying that this is how it can be done: with a great story, a good director, and so on.

Johnny had not been known as a great actor, and then he ends up in this movie, and it’s the right movie for him, and he’s great in it. So that’s how it started.

Tribeca: Did you find any similarities to performing as a musician, or is that such old hat to you now that it’s not like jumping off a cliff anymore?

Larry Mullen Jr.: I think there are some similarities, but generally speaking, when you’re a musician, you’re playing for yourself: it’s about you, and it is a very personal experience. Whereas, I think with acting, it’s kind of the opposite in some ways. It’s about the non-personal becoming the personal—you’re playing somebody else. I think for a lot of young actors, people who haven’t acted before, the great lesson is that sometimes it’s the stuff you don’t know that really benefits you.

That really stood out to me, I have to say, when I was working with people like Donald Sutherland. I didn’t know any better; I didn’t know what the protocol was meant to be. I succeeded and failed, all at the same time; I had no expectations of myself; I didn’t know whether I could do it. So I just kept on trying to do what I thought was the right thing.

I imagine had I known a little more when I got into it, the prospect of working with someone with the stature of Donald would’ve been too much. He’s an extraordinary actor, but he’s also an elder statesman. It was only halfway through the film that I actually realized how difficult it was for him, I think, working with a novice like me, but by that stage I didn’t care…

The Man on the Train
Photo courtesy Tribeca Film / credit: Sophie Girau

Tribeca: You were already deep into it…

Larry Mullen Jr.: I’d already jumped. There was nothing I could do; there were no parachutes. I jumped, and that was it. But Donald was very generous, in that he didn’t offer me huge amounts of advice and mentor me, and try and teach me. He just stayed out of my way. He just let me do it. And I think that was the great gift that he gave me. I’m very grateful to him, because I think it can’t have been easy to see me muddle through various different scenes, and mess up my lines, and not get things right. It can’t have been easy for him to watch that, given what he’s done, but he just stood back. He stood back and he allowed me to rise and fall.

Tribeca: I think it’s an honor that he respected you in that way, and let you do your thing.

Larry Mullen Jr.: 
Absolutely. And that’s how I see it. I see it as an incredibly generous thing for him to do, to actually just step out of my way. Because I was getting in my own way enough.

Tribeca: So the press notes mention that Mary views the film as a contemporary urban Western. With that in mind, how did you prepare for the character, and was the goatee part of your transformation, or was that something that you’d been playing with already?

Larry Mullen Jr.: You know, I leafed through the Stanislavski book on Method acting many, many years ago, but it meant absolutely nothing to me, because I’d had no experience acting. And when Mary and I decided that we would actually go ahead and do this, part of the issue for me was, “Well, what do I do? How do I prepare for something like this?” She had a very clear idea about how I would prepare to do this, and she’s worked with non-actors before, so I got a sort of binder with all the scenes in it, and I had to build my character. I grew the goatee, and I think I went into a form of Method, although I had no idea what I was doing. I got into the zone of, like, 5 or 6 individuals that I knew, and I sort of put them all together and came up with the character.

The Man on the Train
Photo courtesy Tribeca Film / credit: Sophie Girau

Tribeca: Did you go into a different mental place, or was it really more about outward appearances? What was the process?

Larry Mullen Jr.: A lot of this part was the outward, surly, rogue, tough guy, and the transformation into a “buddy” [to Sutherland’s character, a professor] was actually a nice curve. Because I wasn’t playing the same character through the whole film: I had an opportunity to engage with the professor.

But the way the film was shot—it wasn’t scene one to scene two, etc. It was shot in different sequences: outdoors, indoors… So that was a bit of a challenge. In the morning, for instance, I would be doing a bank robbery. And then in the afternoon, I would be telling the professor over dinner what a wonderful guy he was. It was a challenge just trying to figure out which particular guy I was going to be at which particular time. [laughs]

And did I pull it off? I think I pull it off in places. Is it convincing everywhere? It has its flaws; I mean, I’m not an actor, but it’s definitely something I enjoyed doing.

Tribeca: I think you see the flaws more than everyone else does... Switching gears, you wore quite a few hats on this film: you’re a producer, and you’re an actor, and you produced the score. Which did you find the most challenging? And did producing surprise you?

Larry Mullen Jr.: Yeah, it did. When you’re in the music business, everything is very personal, because you are invested in everything; there’s a very deep, personal attachment to your music. When you’re making a film, it’s very different. I think as a director who’s written the piece, I can understand how you’d feel very personal about it., [but for me] it was not a personal challenge; it was a film. And the production part of this was very matter-of-fact, problem-solving in a very basic form: how do you get the movie out, how do you get the financing, who’s going to release it, and so on and so forth. So I enjoyed that process. I thought I was better at that, in a funny way, than at the acting. The acting was a real challenge for me, although I found it incredibly liberating. Was it the most enjoyable experience of my life? No, but it did something I didn’t expect it to; it didn’t spite me the way I thought it would.

And as far as the score was concerned, that came about by chance. I wasn’t meant to do the score, nor did I particularly want to do the score, but we were kind of running out of time. Mary suggested that I get together with Simon Climie, who Mary had known for years; I hadn’t met him before. He’s a proper musician. So he and I just worked for a couple of days and came up with something. We didn’t have a huge amount of time on it. And that, I have to say, of all the things, that’s probably been the most difficult—I’m used to having time around musical projects, to access resources quickly, and get what [I] need, and this was not like that. This was very different, and it was a challenge. But we did what we were tasked to do. It could have been very different, and probably could have been a lot better. And it’s one piece of music used over the whole film; I would love to have had two or three pieces—but we just didn’t have the time for it.

The Man on the Train
Photo courtesy Tribeca Film / credit: Sophie Girau

Tribeca: So what’s the verdict? Do you think you’ll act again, or have you run screaming from this crazy movie business? What’s your plan?

Larry Mullen Jr.: 
Well, my baptism was a baptism of fire. I didn’t feel humiliated, and I don’t feel I failed, as I thought I might. I didn’t know how it would go. I feel I held my own, and I would absolutely like to do more film. I don’t know what I’m qualified to do, film-wise... So it’s really down to a director or a casting director to find something that they think I could do. To answer your question directly, I would love to do more acting.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

U2 Achtung Baby – a look back

The Achtung Baby early sleeve drafts

ampvisual.com (the design consultancy based at  Dublin , which has been responsible of many of the visual work of U2) has published  a very interesting post on Achtung Baby and its covers.

When I first heard the opening salvo of U2 Achtung Baby and the channel flipping darkly distorted sound of Zoo Station, I literally thought that the CD player had broken, or that the speakers had blown, or that we had mistakenly been sent music by another band, it really was that different, that NEW, that un-U2 like.
It’s difficult to sum up the days before the internet, wall-to-wall media and the power of online networking – the days before instantaneous speed of the transfer of information. But after U2′s Lovetown tour ended just after the Dublin Point Depot shows and Bono saying that the band would have to, ‘go away and dream it all up again’, there was an almost 2-year silence, broken only by the band’s appearance on the Red Hot And Blue Cole Porter tribute album with their version of Night And Day in 1990 – the first real inkling of the band’s new direction. Otherwise just silence.

Then suddenly, The Fly, the first single off Achtung Baby. It was as if a very different door had opened for the band that allowed them to not only sound re-invented, but that also allowed them the freedom to act in a brand new way also. There were suddenly now so many new colours and shades to the band’s palette that it was mesmerizing to hear and to see it happening.

When Achtung Baby was released three weeks later, it was to astonishing reactions. The album had a visceral heat pouring from it. It crackled with brand-new sounds. It throbbed from your sound system with its expansive, distorted metallic textures and deep rhythmic sound with a sheer intensity. Bono’s double-voice, his falsetto and deep distorted low-register vocal spat out words of dark personal angst, sexuality and intimacy unheard before in his lyrics.

I was a youngster not too long out of college working with Steve Averill’s design studio Works Associates, when he asked me to work with him on U2′s as yet untitled new studio album in early 1991, my first job for U2. I was used to seeing the panoramic, monumental and monochrome imagery of The Joshua Tree sleeve and so on, but suddenly boxes of photographs were arriving in to us of new U2 photoshoots from Anton Corbijn that were very different to what I’d ever seen for U2. They didn’t have the serious sincerity of his previous work for the band, instead Corbijn had strove for a lighter vibe and the photos were a great combination of spontaneity and of a vivid kaleidoscope of colours from arctic blue to desert red mixed with ink black and sepia-toned lith prints of intense portraiture; of new landscapes, of various animals, of serious masculine men in frocks in full-on wigs and makeup, of band members smiling, fun… and nakedness. There was an astonishing amount of photographs – hundreds of beautifully printed photographs.

For us to make a sleeve that would break the mould of any previous sleeves done for band we had to see this as a brand new phase of the band, it had to be quite different from what had been done before. We wanted the sleeve to reflect the multiplicity of themes on the album, its shades of light and dark, its sense of place and time at the dismantling of the Berlin wall. We didn’t want a fashion sleeve, something that would be out of date soon after. We strove hard to make a ‘classic’ album sleeve that would thematically have both depth and meaning and that would go to form the complete album both sonically and visually. No one image was enough to convey the shades and personalities on the record and so out of many experiments we ended up with a regular grid of images with examples shown to the band of sleeves by the likes of Pink Floyd and The Who.

Download 'Ǎhk-Toong Bāy-Bi Covered'

Ǎhk-to͝ong Bāy-Bi Covered featuring Nine Inch Nails, Patti Smith, Depeche Mode, Jack White, The Killers and others is available for download from today in the iTunes Store.

All proceeds will benefit Concern Worldwide's work in famine-stricken areas of East Africa. (The album will be available on iTunes in the UK on November 28th.)

With the support of iTunes, the Independent Online Distribution Alliance (IODA) and all the participating artists, managers and labels, all proceeds from the sale of Ǎhk-to͝ong Bāy-Bi Covered will support Concern’s response to the East Africa crisis, where thousands of children have already died of hunger or related diseases and over 10 million people remain at risk.

'This crisis in East Africa is still very much an emergency and Concern is delighted that all of the parties involved are making this hugely significant contribution to our work in the region,' said Concern CEO, Tom Arnold. 'We are honored they have chosen Concern as the exclusive beneficiaries.

'It is disappointing that such a major ongoing humanitarian situation has largely disappeared from the media headlines. Offering the proceeds from Ǎhk-to͝ong Bāy-Bi Covered to Concern’s East Africa appeal also provides a timely reminder that alleviation of the hunger and wider health crisis in the region must not be forgotten and should remain a global priority.'

 Ǎhk-to͝ong Bāy-Bi Covered was conceived for Q Magazine to mark their 25th Anniversary issue,  coinciding with the 20th Anniversary re-release of Achtung Baby. The CD is available with Q Magazine’s December 2011 issue. 

'Drought may be an act of nature, but famine is not.'  Visit ONE  for  more information on the causes of famine and how to prevent it.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Memories: U2 at McGonagles ,1979

Novelist Peter Mc Cluskey recalls his band supporting U2 in 1979.

This photo really takes me back. It was taken in the dressing room of the Dublin venue McGonagles around Christmas 1979. That's me with the glasses and blue windcheater, with Bono and Ali Hewson behind me. Ali is fluffing up Bono's hair as he's just about to go on stage.
The guy with his head down is Denis Rusk, the lead guitarist in my band The Strougers. I played rhythm guitar.

That year was one of the most exciting times in our lives.

I spent my youth on the Navan Road, hanging out with friends, but I was never any good at basketball or soccer.

Then punk rock came along and anyone could be in a band. Suddenly, all our friends were coming to see us play. By chance, we ended up doing a few gigs with U2 in places such as Howth Community Centre, and the Dandelion Market, as they were just starting out too.

You wouldn't believe how many other Dublin bands hated U2 back then. They hated them because they thought they were loaded rich kids, or seemed arrogant.

Playing with them, I never found U2 like that. I suppose I was one of their first fans.

Bono was always very mannerly if we were chatting to him before a gig. I remember distinctly that if you spoke to Edge, he gave you his complete attention. He wouldn't be messing, or getting distracted; he would listen to every word you said.

Then U2 would plug in and play. I can't possibly explain how good U2 sounded playing to 20 people.

For a start, Larry Mullen had come out of the Artane Boys Band so he was a proper drummer. He could make this unbelievable racket. Edge had this very futuristic-looking Gibson Explorer guitar but he could really play it, and Adam completed the sound.

Towards the end of 1979, we ended up playing McGonagles the same night that U2 were doing the late show.

A friend took this picture on my Olympus camera, which I'd just bought. I remember taking lots of shots that night and Bono getting thrown by the flash constantly going off, but he never complained.

If you're wondering why I'm wearing a blue windcheater if I was a punk back then, all I'll say is it was a wet December night in Dublin and I wasn't going to get drowned coming in from the Navan Road, new wave or no new wave.

Not long after this picture, things changed radically for U2. We stopped playing with them and they moved into a different league, releasing an album and touring America.

A couple of years later, myself and Strougers' bass player Shay Hiney went to see U2 playing a huge gig at the RDS. We bumped into their manager Paul McGuinness and, remembering us, he gave us tickets to the aftershow.

We walked straight into Bono, who was now a big star. I remember Shay telling Bono that his girlfriend was on the way to the party, and that she was a huge U2 fan.

For a laugh, Bono starting asking Shay all these questions about 'Jenny', then disappeared.

We thought that was the last we'd see of him. But, later in the evening, he was back and straight over to Shay and his girlfriend. 'You must be Jenny, Shay's girlfriend,' Bono said, and he started listing off all these things he knew about her.

Jenny couldn't believe it because she was a massive U2 fan and Bono knew everything about her. We laughed and laughed.

People say to me, 'Your band and U2 were playing around Dublin at the same time, yet they became global superstars and you didn't'.

They expect me to be envious, but I'm not all. I was delighted U2 made it, because the night this picture was taken in McGonagles, I had already picked U2 out as a band with a future.
I think I got that one right.

Peter McCluskey's latest book is called 'My Little Lighthouse'.

Interview by Ken Sweeney.
(c) Irish Independent, 2011.

Friday, November 11, 2011

AWF's 7th Annual Got Water? Auction Runs Nov. 7-14

Once again the African Well Fund  will host its  annual auction.
 eBay auction begins this Monday, Nov. 7, and will run for one week.Proceeds from the auction will fund water and sanitation projects in sub-Saharan Africa.
Forty items are up for bid this year include a print signed by Bono, the book "The Story of Island Records" signed by Chris Blackwell, "U2 by U2" signed by Neil McCormick, a water bottle signed by the cast of "Parks & Recreation," the memoir "Happy Accidents" signed by Jane Lynch, the book "Bossypants" signed by Tina Fey," the book "The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook" signed by Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge, the book "Papa John" signed by John Phillips, U2 memorabilia, and other collectibles.
To check out this year's items and place your bids, click here.

Two Awards for U2

U2  won two awards at the Billboard Touring Awards . The U2 360 tour won the Top Tourand Top Draw awards. The first is for the highest-grossing tour of the year; the second is for the most tickets sold. As far as we know, no band members were on hand.
The U2 360 tour ran for more than two years (June 2009 through July 2011) and saw the band perform 100 concerts. The tour sold 7.1 million tickets and became the highest-grossing tour in history at $736 million.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

U2 not splitting up

McGuinness ends speculation on band's future in  an interview for Belfast Telegraph.
It's official - U2 are not splitting up. The band's manager, Paul McGuinness, last night flatly denied reports that the four school friends are going their separate ways after 35 years.
Known as the fifth member of U2, Mr McGuinness (60) has steered their career from local outfit to global superstars. Asked about the constant speculation that U2 have hit the end of the road, he said: "No, and I think I would have heard. Not all all. They are always working on the next record."
Fears of a U2 split began with an interview Bono gave to 'Rolling Stone' magazine last month in which he hinted that himself, Larry Mullen Jnr, the Edge and Adam Clayton may part company sometime in 2012.
"I'm not so sure the future hasn't dried up," said the 51-year-old frontman.
"It's quite likely you might hear from us next year but it's equally possible that you won't. The band may have finally run its course."
However, at the opening of a new stage version of Edna O'Brien's novel 'The Country Girls', Mr McGuinness said: "I'm not sure what was said, but I think it was a chance remark taken out of context. I would disregard it."


Friday, November 4, 2011

The U2 Paradox

Never has a band been more mockable, never has a band been more successful.

Bono performs with U2 in Paris on July 4, 1987.
Paris 1987, Joshua Tree Tour.

Photograph by Bertrand Guay/AFP/Getty Images.
In a piece written for Rolling Stone 20 years ago this month, producer Brian Eno identified why the rock band U2 is singularly enduring and enervating. “Cool,” he wrote, “sums up just about everything U2 isn’t. The band is positive where cool is cynical, involved where it is detached, open where it is evasive.” For 35 years, rock journalists, culture’s self-appointed guardians of cool, have monitored U2’s ups and downs, smash hits and embarrassments. The relationship between critics and the band was fraught from the start, with their anthemic, highly emotive music winning them millions of fans but just as many skeptics. The rock of rebellion and decadence seemed allergic to a band this earnest, emotive, inclusive, politically engaged, and, worst of all, openly Christian. You couldn’t invent a more mock-worthy outfit.

Cool or not, Bono and co. have done quite well for themselves. They’ve sold a gazillion records, have been the no. 1 live act for a few decades, were elected into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility, and are globally unavoidable—advocating for U2 is like telling someone to pay more attention to Steven Spielberg. This fall marks the 20th anniversary of their best and most important album, Achtung Baby. A remastered, deluxe box set of the album drops this week, and Showtime will debut the Davis Guggenheim documentary From the Sky Down, which revisits that album's tumultuous recording sessions. With R.E.M. recently giving up the ghost, U2 is basically the last band standing from the Album Oriented Rock era. Inspired by punk but drawn to pomp, suckers for abstract textures but addicted to pop, the band has straddled the realms of art and commerce more audaciously than any other in rock's history. They've sincerely tried to change the world and have strived to remain the best band in the world—differently ambitious, equally dubious pursuits. Yet for the moment, let’s put aside Bono's blathering public persona—his extra-musical forays into politics, policy, and wraparound-specs addiction—and just talk about the music and its impact on the culture. in the era of 99 cent downloads, U2 continues to conceive of albums as long-form journeys, with individual songs—like chapters in a novel, scenes in a film, or members of a band—contributing to a greater whole. They’ve always thrived on both consistency and change, applying a surprisingly strict formula to their albums while challenging one another to evolve, adapt, and reinvent their sound. And rather than choose between art and commerce, they’ve almost naively struck a course between the two. Especially today, with music acts either serving the marketplace or accepting their niche, U2 has no peer. I listened to every album, B-side, and soundtrack song, watched every music video, movie, live clip, and costume change. If you’re a fan, let’s compare notes. It you’re not, I’ll tell you what you’ve missed.

You can read the complete essay here.