January 2007 Archives

"U2-charist": Bono moves in mysterious ways

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LONDON (Reuters) - For Anglicans who still haven't found what they're looking for, the Church of England is staging its first "U2-charist" communion service -- replacing hymns with hit songs by the Irish supergroup.

"Rock music can be a vehicle of immense spirituality," said Bishop of Grantham Timothy Ellis, announcing plans for the unique service in the central English town of Lincoln in May.

A live band is to play U2 classics like "Beautiful Day" and "Mysterious Ways" with special singalong lyrics displayed on a giant screen. Seating for the 500-strong congregation is to be re-arranged so everyone can dance and wave their hands.

The service is to focus on the Millennium development goals -- U2's lead singer Bono is a leading promoter of the targets to alleviate world poverty.

Bono makes the scene at Sundance

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The U2 frontman expresses his support for a new Joe Strummer documentary.

By Chris Lee, Times Staff Writer

Park City, Utah - WEARING his signature blue-tinted wraparounds and dressed in black leather against northern Utah's paralyzing chill, Bono made a surprise appearance at the Sundance Film Festival last week, expressly to support British director Julien Temple's new rock 'n' roll documentary, "Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten."

In conversation directly after a screening, the U2 frontman lavished praise on Strummer, the charismatic, deeply humanistic yet personally conflicted singer-songwriter for the Clash. The Irish rock humanitarian credited Strummer, who died in 2002, with awakening his rock 'n' roll ambitions when he saw the Clash play in Dublin at age 17.

"They can't play, but they play better than anybody you ever heard," Bono said. "At the same time, there's this shambolic genius going on. There's just ideas being whispered into your head, mad ideas: that music can mean something, that it can be a reason to get out of bed in the morning.

"So can rock 'n' roll change the world? It certainly changed my world."

Moreover, Bono took the opportunity to point out the commonality of the do-it-yourself ethos in punk and indie moviemaking that was on display in Sundance.

Joint Press Release from Fox and the Lippin Group

Musician and activist Bono will receive the NAACP Chairmans Award which will be presented to him during the March 2, 2007 live broadcast of the 38th NAACP Image Awards on FOX (8p.m. ET/PT), it was announced today by Vicangelo Bulluck, executive producer of the telecast.

The Chairmans Award, chosen by NAACP Board Chairman Julian Bond, is bestowed in recognition of special achievement and distinguished public service.

Bono has been an inspiration to many people around the world through his music and humanitarian efforts, said Bond. We are delighted to honor him with this award in recognition of the difference he has made and to acknowledge his ongoing campaigning to actively engage Americans from all walks of life in the fight against extreme poverty and the global AIDS pandemic.

The Chairmans Award is one of three special NAACP Image Awards that will be presented this year, stated NAACP Image Awards Chairman Clayola Brown. The other previously announced honors include the Hall of Fame Award to be presented to Bill Cosby and the Presidents Award being given to Soledad OBrien. I think our honorees this year are diverse and inspiring. It should make for a very exciting and culturally informative show.

"That young Paul, he was a menace.".

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My Mis-Adventures in Dublin, Ireland

by Brenda Clemons, U2 Station Staff Writer

Starting this week on the U2 Station, I will be writing about my (mostly) humorous but true accounts of my two trips to Dublin, Ireland. Of course, all the stories will have a U2 twist to them. I hope you all enjoy my (mis)adventures.

Every U2 fan is required to go to Dublin, Ireland at least once in their lifetime. It's like a sacred vow we all take. Muslims go to Mecca. U2 fans go to Dublin. My first trip to Ireland was during the making of the Pop album. (Of course, at the time I don't think anyone knew it was going to be called Pop.)

My husband and I had just separated. Of course I was angry and a whole bunch of other emotions. Getting even was definitely on my mind. It was part of the separation papers that our house was to be sold with the money being shared equally between the two of us. I knew what I was going to do with my half. There was the question of what to do with the diamond ring that I no longer wore. Sentimentality told me to keep it and give it to our son when he became an adult. Then I realized the truth of the situation -- he would probably give it to his first love interest; who would, in turn, probably throw it out a car window during their first real fight. Well, I'll not have a perfectly good diamond go to waste like that. So, I took it to the local pawn shop and got enough money for a down payment on a trip to Ireland. Since, I was mad at my ex; I knew that nothing would make him angrier than my "blowing" my half of the money on something like a vacation.

Developer joins U2 stars in EU150m Clarence project

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Frank McDonald, Irish Times

Dublin's Clarence Hotel, owned by U2's Bono and the Edge, in partnership with property developer Paddy McKillen, is to be redeveloped at a cost of EU150 million as "one of the most spectacular city hotels in Europe".

The scheme, designed by international architects Foster and Partners, is to be submitted shortly to Dublin City Council. It would incorporate the former Dollard printing works and four Georgian buildings on Wellington Quay.

Only the quayside facades of the existing hotel and adjoining buildings - all of which are protected structures - would be retained, although the oak panelling from the Clarence's Octagon Bar is to be salvaged for re-use.

The rear elevations of the hotel and adjoining buildings on East Essex Street would be demolished in their entirety and replaced by a undulating glazed facade, with shops and cafes at street level and bedrooms above.

The existing hotel, which has only 34 bedrooms, has lost up to EU12 million since its refurbishment 10 years' ago. Bono (Paul Hewson) and the Edge (David Evans) were advised to sell, but decided to bring Mr McKillen on board.

They set up the Clarence Partnership, which is split 50-50 between the two U2 band members on the one hand and Mr McKillen on the other. His largest project in Dublin to date has been the Jervis Centre on Mary Street.

VOTE FOR U2 STATION

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Bono Seen Around Tourn

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According to the Boston Herald, Bono and family were spotted all around Boston and it's suburbs over the weekend. The first spotting was in a museum. The second spotting was outside Boston in Plymouth, Mass. Is one of his children writing a school report on the Witch Trials? If Bono wants to visit historic places I suggest he come down to Richmond, Virginia. He can visit the spot where the famous "Give me liberty or give me death" speech was given. Of course, it's now a parking lot. But there's a really nice plaque and mural on a brick wall...

Sir Bono, Cool or Not Cool?

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As we shake off the final hangover of 2006 and kick off 2007 anew we are left with the resounding debate which was the center of most New Year's Eve conversations in Dublin bars... Should Bono accept a Knighthood from the Queen of England?

On Tony Blair's recent recommendation, Bono is set to follow in Bob Geldof's footsteps and become an honorary knight of the British empire. But as a citizen of Ireland and not Britain he will be deprived of the title "Sir Bono" (more accurately, Sir Paul Hewson), although that won't stop the media to referring to him thusly...

But as the U2 frontman gets on in years and his wealth, fame and political influence grow so far beyond what any of us could ever imagine - perhaps he's losing touch with the common man, U2 fans and even the Irish people?

Maybe years of hobnobbing with Tony Blair, George Bush, The Pope, Bill Gates and their like have given the Northside Dubliner a taste for titles, honours and awards? He has stated that such things are in recognition of his charity work and help breakdown barriers but we can't help feeling that vanity and an overactive ego are at work here... Surely charity is a selfless act?

U2 May Change Musical Direction on Next Album

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NEW YORK (Billboard) - With its monster-selling Vertigo world tour complete, U2 may be ready to rock less, according to frontman Bono

"Our band has certainly reached the end of where we've been at for the last couple of albums," the newly dubbed honorary knight said during a BBC Radio interview earlier this week. "I want to see what else we can do with it, take it to the next level; I think that's what we've got to do."

Asked if that might mean a move away from rock 'n' roll, Bono replied, "We're gonna continue to be a band, but maybe the rock will have to go; maybe the rock has to get a lot harder. But whatever it is, it's not gonna stay where it is."

He said he's like U2 to explore compositions featuring just voice and acoustic guitar. "I would like to do a couple of tunes in that direction, with just a lot of space around the voice," he said. "I'd like to strip things down; that's something I'd be very interested in at the moment."

U2 is expected to get busy in the studio after the New Year, with an eye on releasing a new album before the end of 2007. Bono said casual fans were the target for the recently released compilation "U218 Singles," which includes two new songs.

"We've never been much of a singles band," he said. "But we did it because we have a very young audience coming through, and we wanted to, you know, just be very available for people who want to check us out, you know? We wanted to have something they could check us out very easy on."

Copyright © 2007 Reuters/Billboard. All rights reserved.

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