October 2006 Archives

Bono law: You go on a head

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Bono and his former stylist are in court to claim ownership of the singer's legendary Stetson. Male millinery is now the ultimate fashion statement, and the days when it smacked of a life of conformity are long gone, says Stuart Husband

When is a hat not a hat? When it's an iconic-ironic sartorial manifestation of your personal and artistic philosophy. This, at any rate, is Bono's explication for the significance of his Stetson, which he's trying to wrest back from U2's erstwhile stylist Lola Cashman in an ongoing court case. According to his testimony, it was this headgear, rather than any amount of keening vocals and guitar arpeggios, that propelled the group into the enormo-dome stratosphere.

"I dressed like Nana Mouskouri before," confessed Bono. "She [Cashman] had a very good eye, and I'd already had the idea of making the Stetson a trademark. It's an American icon and it was part of my idea of how I wanted to present myself to the world in an ironic sense. Plus I thought it could be archived in the future." It seems a crushing amount of cultural weight - part-semiotic determinant, part holy relic - for a high-crowned, wide-brimmed accessory to bear.

But Stetsongate is just the latest flashpoint in the vexed history of male millinery. Since the hat lost its status as the exemplar of worker-drone conformity it's been reincarnated as its swinging opposite. "These days, any man wearing a hat is perceived to be making some kind of fashion statement," says the milliner Stephen Jones. "It's become a way of standing out from the crowd. Even the closest thing men have to a utilitarian hat - the baseball cap - is a way of advertising affiliations."

No one knows this socio-cultural-stylistic minefield better than William Hague. His decision to wear a Hague-branded baseball cap to the Notting Hill Carnival was, commentators agreed, the chief reason for his tenure as Tory leader being short-lived. His attempt to be "down" with the kids was ridiculed.

U2 Firm Cuts Losses to £2.9m in 2005

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BizWorld

Not Us Ltd, the core business behind the rock group, U2, has cut losses to £2.9m from £18.81m.

The improvement came as the band embarked on the Vertigo world tour after the release of their 14th album, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb.

Part of the group's business empire have moved to the Netherlands for tax reasons.

Band members Bono, the Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen jnr are directors of Not Us Ltd, in which they each hold a 25 per cent stake.

Accounts just filed for this firm provide a partial picture of U2's business dealings and their wealth, which is managed in a private partnership and estimated at more than £600 million, the Irish Times reported.

However, the Dublin-registered Not Us holds the band's interests in 10 subsidiaries in Ireland, Britain and the US, which manage its recording, touring and merchandising interests.

These include U2 Ltd, a company engaged in the production of master tapes which is believed to be one of the businesses that moved to the Netherlands this year. The band members resigned as directors of this company last June and were replaced by Dutch lawyer Roelof Kloeten, Dutch accountant Jan Favie and Dublin accountant Gaby Smyth.

The Not Us annual filing for 2005 says the balance due from Not Us to U2 Ltd at the end of 2005 was £3.87m.

Bono Says It Was His Idea to Wear Stetson Hat

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By Times Online and PA

Bono, the frontman of U2, today gave evidence at an appeal in Dublin launched by his former stylist to keep the Stetson hat she claims the band gave her.

U2 successfully sued Lola Cashman last year and claimed back the hat, a pair of metal hooped earrings, a green sweatshirt and a pair of black trousers, which they argued she had taken without permission.

The stylist was ordered to return the items, estimated to be worth €5,000 (£3,500), to the band within seven days. Instead though, she has launched an appeal, which will leave her with a substantial legal bill if she loses.

Ms Cashman, who left the band in 1988, says that she was given the hat and other memorabilia as gifts during U2's Joshua Tree tour in 1987. She was hired by Bono personally to replace their stylist, who was on maternity leave.

Dressed in a chocolate brown suit and wearing rose-coloured tinted glasses, Bono - real name Paul Hewson - said that Ms Cashman had been found by his management company through an agency.

"It was a very big moment in the bands career," he said. "Everything had come right for us. We had a lot of songs on radio around the world and particularly in the US we had a couple of number ones singles."

Oprah, Bono spree to support 'Red' HIV cause

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BY SHAMUS TOOMEY AND RUMMANA HUSSAIN Staff Reporters

Like two best friends on a shopping date, Oprah and Bono hit North Michigan Avenue Thursday morning, turning heads and stunning fans as they zipped in and out of stores.

"So, wow, this is the Magnificent Mile," the U2 frontman marveled to Winfrey as they walked together in a freakish October snow, each clutching packed shopping bags.

"Here we come, walking down the street, get the funniest looks from . . ." Bono sang, doing a Monkees impersonation.

The high-wattage shopping spree was taped to air on Winfrey's talk show today. Winfrey is lending her support to the Product Red campaign led by Bono and Kennedy clan member Bobby Shriver. The effort sends proceeds from certain products to fight AIDS in Africa.

Kanye, Penelope, Christy join in
Bono will help launch the U.S. version of the campaign on Winfrey's show. On Thursday, he and Winfrey stopped in at participating Michigan Avenue stores: Gap, Apple, Armani and Motorola.

Along the way, they teamed up with other celebs helping the cause: Chicago-raised hip-hop star Kanye West, actress Penelope Cruz and supermodel Christy Turlington.

U2 to split from Island Records

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By Anthony Barnes

After 26 years and global sales of around 150 million albums, U2, arguably the world's biggest band, have quit the record label that discovered them.

Insiders claimed yesterday that the band's members, led by Bono, became fed up with the Island Records' senior management's "hands-off" approach towards them, despite their having generated hundreds of millions of pounds for the label.

Friends said yesterday that the final straw came during a recent recording session in London.

While Bono and the band worked on new tracks to add to their latest "Best of" compilation, no one from Island Records dropped by to meet them.

One observer claimed this "put their noses out of joint" and did nothing to help the deteriorating relationship.

Their closest ally at the label, the former general manager Jason Iley, was appointed managing director of Mercury Records last year, and the band have now followed him there.

U2 have frequently said they owe their career to Island and that its founding boss, Chris Blackwell, was instrumental to their career.

No other label had shown any interest in giving them a deal when the band were signed in 1980.

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