January 3, 2011

Bono: What Aussie is the finger for? By Eva Rinaldi

Most folks know the U2 frontman as Bono, but a growing number of politicians the world over know him as Paul Hewson, quite a pain in the rear end for many.

Bono by all accounts is the person many of us would like to be, but we're not quite as vocally and musically talented as the man.

Down under here in Sydney where Bono and the band recently wowed em, one or two Australian politicians have appeared to raise the ire of the Irish bred chosen one.

Cafes and watercooler across our great national are abuzz who Bono gave the finger to. Was is for the usual suspects - the paparazzi? or was it a message he choose to convey via news media and "people power" to one or two Australian politicians who are severely out of favor (and chances) with the Australian public?

I don't know about you, but I strongly suspect that it was Australian Foreign Affairs Minister, Kevin Rudd that asked for a face to face with Bono, not the other way around.

Over the years U2 has enjoyed quite the love - hate relationship with the media, with Rolling Stone Magazine generally being very good to the group, and only a couple of days ago Bono got his own article published in the Rupert Murdoch owned Aussie newspaper, The Daily Telegraph, penning 'When love comes to town: An Australian Romance'.

It's worth noting that Bono has previously gone on record (with Rolling Stone Magazine we understand) "I have very sensitive eyes to light. If somebody takes my photograph, I will see the flash for the rest of the day.  My right eye swells up.  I've a blockage there, so that my eyes go red a lot. So it's part vanity, it's part privy and part sensitivity". Bono is also quite sensitive to people in public office who spin yarns to the the people they are supposed to be serving.

It's widely understood that Bono coined the phrase "the currency of celebrity", and Bono looks to be cashing in, and why the heck not.

What do we find so appealing about this rock god come humanitarian?  Ok, there's the obvious - his genius song writing, but over the years he's been rapidly building his fan base for his off stage performances, one of Bono's pet hates is the tendency of diplomats and supposed "world leaders" and "super powers" to continually bend and break promises, and sometimes outright lie to the people.

Let's take a look at some of U2's songs and in particular some lyrics, to see what tree Bono is barking up....and note the strong political, religious and social themes...

Classic number "I still haven't found what I'm looking for" resonates for many of us. Why? because we can relate, and he shouts it out on a world stage - what many of us feel.  Maybe Julian Assange's Wikileaks might help him just a tad to find what it is that he's actually looking for, but rest assured its not a new band or mic.  He's been blessed from above and clearly knows it.

'Sunday Bloody Sunday' is rated by critics as one of the greatest political songs of all time.

U2's people power concerts and mega happenings frequently go beyond the normal realm of what a performance is all about. The man becomes one with the music.

One feels that Bono has been jaded somewhat by the media and "celeb thing" over the years, but a number of his quotes always reassure us that he still has time for good people and worthy causes. If you even need a bit of a pick me up, check out and remind yourself of gems like "Music can change the world because it can change people" and "My heroes are the ones who survived doing it wrong, who made mistakes, but recovered from them", "the less you know, the more you believe" and on the all important subject of human rights.

It's little wonder that TV talkshow queen Oprah Winfrey has extended the olive tree to Bono and offered him the opportunity to host his own talk show on the newly formed OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network). O has talked of OWN being the outlet that she always dreamed off, and clearly Bono is in her dream.  As to if that dream is reciprocated or not, will be playing out in the news over the coming weeks or months, but eventually Bono will have to give an answer, and most of the people want it to be a "Yes".

Back to Bono giving the finger to the camera. Perhaps this may shed some light on it, before I might manage to confront him about it sometime, in that seemingly unlikely event.

"I know I can be a pain in the arse. I have an annoying gene; it's in my DNA. I even annoy myself. When righteous anger turns to self-righteous, projectile vomit is the right response. All I can say is that you can become traumatised as well as inspired by the lives you meet along the dirt road of extreme poverty. Watching the bright light of life go out of some kids' eyes gets me to a place I can't explain. Sometimes I forget that I'm an artist - but I shouldn't, because that's what I am, a working pop artist in a big F-Off rock band".

Maybe Bono had a brain snap and just wanted to show his very human side, and remind us that he's a rock star with attitude, and perhaps also he thought it might be good for one more news item from an up and coming freelance writer. In that instance, he was right, as is often the case, and its my human right to speculate, and yours - the reader, to critique.