U2 relight their unforgettable fire
Bono works in mysterious ways. But you have to admire him, however pompously evangelical and self-rewardingly messianic he gets on occasion, for following his heart most of the time.
Bono works in mysterious ways. But you have to admire him, however pompously evangelical and self-rewardingly messianic he gets on occasion, for following his heart most of the time.
Steve Jobs said he believed that life is an intelligent thing: that things aren't random. I met someone for dinner in the InterContinental hotel last Thursday...
Cue the violins. Make that an entire orchestra of violins and suchlike.
What becomes a legend most? Take Camille O'Sullivan. Take Aidan Gillen. Take Mike Scott. Take Megumi Igarashi.
Morrissey is the 58-year-old man with the thorn in his side. A very big thorn. Vladimir says to Estragon in Waiting for Godot: "No one ever suffers but you." Vladimir might, of course, have been talking about Morrissey. After a while, though, it becomes slightly tedious.
She hasn't done bad for a young wan from Bray, has she? Two weeks ago, Laura Whitmore was the host at the MTV Best World Stage in London. I was in the audience to watch her introduce another Irish export that has done quite well internationally - U2 at Trafalgar Square.
You know you're getting old when you take your young daughter ice skating for the first time in her life - and she is giving out to you for holding onto a toy, if life-size, penguin to stay up on the ice while she moves around like a future world figure skating champion.
It was one of the most intriguing movies of the decade, Lars von Trier's doomy dreamscape on depression and apocalypse Melancholia.
Noel Gallagher talks about that fateful decision to leave Oasis and why the band will never reform, his relationship with his brother Liam, their upbringing, and their Irish roots.
The caterpillar-on-cocaine eyebrows appear to move to the rhythm of his voice. This is just as well, as Noel Gallagher tells a pretty good story. There’s the one about his world tour with U2 this year, where the hangovers were monstrous. He has a foggy recollection of arriving at Bono’s house,...
The phone goes. It's Gayle Killilea - who is aware that I am interviewing Gavin Lambe-Murphy about his new book, Diary Of An It Boy. "Gavin was born on November 3, 1975," she says. "The same day as my best friend since I was three, Lucy Coyle, who died in the tsunami. Another of my other best friends is November 3, 1976. So when I met Gavin we hit it off on a different level of just social...
'My music has a high irritation factor," Randy Newman once said. "I've always tried to say something. Eccentric lyrics about eccentric people. But I would plead guilty on the grounds that I prefer eccentricity to the bland."
The phone goes. It's Gayle Killilea - who is aware that I am interviewing Gavin Lambe-Murphy about his new book, Diary Of An It Boy. "Gavin was...
Life is generally something that happens elsewhere, when you are not looking, or are least expecting it. Last weekend, it happened to my wife and I when we took our little one to the Irish National Stud and Gardens in Kildare; it being a moment of magic. Emilia's imagination was suddenly ignited like something out of an old Walt Disney movie.
All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother, said Abraham Lincoln.
Gorillaz? Too much self-indulgent/navel-gazing monkey business? Not quite. They are on their fifth studio album now (the beautifully apocalyptic Humanz - buy it alone to hear D.R.A.M., Noel Gallagher and Savages' Jehnny Beth sing about the primal energy of universal love in a post-Trump planet on We Got the Power.)
'Obviously, I'm the sister of an extremely famous athlete," Aoife McGregor says. What is just as obvious, however, is that having Conor McGregor as a brother certainly does not define her.
Earlier this year American neo-Nazi moron-in-chief Richard Spencer told the Conservative Political Action Conference that "Depeche Mode is the official band of the alt-right". It was a statement utterly more bizarre than any of the band's outrageous stage outfits.
In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.
David Beckham's suite in the Four Seasons at Ten Trinity Square is not that much smaller than the pitches on which he made his mark, creating magic for Manchester United and Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, AC Milan and LA Galaxy.
Some movie stars, when their multi-million dollar budget film comes out, have a glass of Chardonnay and enjoy the moment. In 2004, when Oliver Stone's epic Alexander was released, Colin Farrell received such a critical mauling for his performance in the title role that he got drunk out of his mind and vanished on a plane to Lake Tahoe. More than that, the young Brando from Castleknock...
The K Club, of course, is used to glamour of a certain style. It has played host to Prince Albert and Princess Charlene of Monaco and their family (who flew in from the principality on their royal private jet), and more recently pop superstar Justin Bieber with his entourage, and more recently still, American rapper Gucci Mane.
On April 11, 1994, Liam Gallagher gave every young kid, from the council estates to the leafy hamlets, a personalised mantra that still rings brilliantly true to this day: "I need to be myself/I can't be no one else."
I'd be in that darkest of dark places, a night without end, my head bursting with the worst thoughts imaginable, were such a thing to happen to my daughter. I don't think I could cope with it. I couldn't imagine living in a world without her, without her laughter.
When Edmond Enright - better known by his nom de plume of Mundy - was 14, he was a massive fan of The Doors. Danny Sugerman's tome about Jimbo and the boys' debauched antics, Wonderland Avenue, was much passed around Edmond's school in Birr, Co Offaly. "The book was wild and racy," recalls Mundy, now an internationally acclaimed singer-songwriter of 42-years-of-age and something of a national treasure.
A text message arrives from Maia Dunphy. "Collected baby Tom last night from my mum and asked her your question about what I was like as a child. She said I was 'very self-contained, extremely kind and a terrible worrier'." Frankly, I'm surprised that her mother Helen is even talking to her at all...
Andrea Hayes has a good tale to tell.
In 2012 Dubliner Candice Gordon decamped to Berlin where she felt almost immediately confronted by "the ghastly recent history" there. She wanted to understand what "could drive people to evil".
Andrea Hayes has a good tale to tell. She is expecting a happy event with her husband, David Torpey. "Naturally, as well as feeling extremely overjoyed, I am - and was - still feeling a little terrified, if I am being honest, due to the fact that we have had multiple miscarriages," the beautiful presenter of TV3's Dog Tales told me.
I have had two bad experiences recently. Two weekends ago, I was bringing breakfast up to the wife and daughter when I slipped on the tiles in the kitchen and went flying. I landed on my head, concussed myself and sprained my hand. I was on my hands and knees on the floor amid the broken breakfast plates when my wife came down to check whether I was dead or not. Later that evening I had to fly to London for work. I felt ill in bed that night and the following day had the worst headache in the history of headaches.
Keith Duffy was in the zone last weekend. But then the Boyzone pop star, Coronation Street actor and entrepreneur always is, isn't he? He celebrated his birthday - and his 43rd year - in Roberta's restaurant in Temple Bar last Saturday night with his lovely wife Lisa and family (including son Jay and his girlfriend Alex McKay) and friends.
In Blade Runner, the dying replicant Roy Batty makes his dramatic final speech: "I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain." I can now, happily, add to my list of unbelievable things seen: last weekend in Long Island, Billy Joel riding his motorbike up the main street in Oyster Bay, Long Island, at some pelt in his leather jacket, and getting off at his vintage motorbike shop, where yours truly is waiting to meet the...
She has been called the female alt.Bowie. Although the title is possibly a little reductive, there are worse things to be labelled. Annie Clark got the name St Vincent from a Nick Cave reference to the Greenwich Village hospital where Dylan Thomas died.
If Tubs can go to Chappaqua, New York state, to interview Hillary Clinton, then I can go too. Right? Albeit, I wasn't jetting stateside to interview the First Lady of the United States from 1993 to 2001, and failed American Presidential candidate.
Drink is a curse. And certainly not, as George Bernard Shaw put it, the anaesthesia by which we endure the operation of life. Merely a curse.
Sod Sgt. Pepper. Van Morrison's 1968 album Astral Weeks is a finer album than The Beatles' piece de resistance from 1967. That was The Guardian's assessment in 2008. However contentious that view was, there is a certain sense to labelling Astral Weeks possibly one of the greatest, most seminal, albums of all time. Here Van is, the sacred wanderer, the spiritual seeker, the wise-man full of improvisational transcendence, seeking out some sort of mystic deliverance.
He read the news on the telly on RTE for 44 years.
The future Minister for Justice had a mercifully brief brush with crime as a child. Alan Shatter's mother Elaine had a passionate love of flowers but, alas, no actual garden per se to grow any in. Their next door neighbour in Oaklands Crescent in Rathgar, Desmond Kerr, something of a gardener, had a fancy array of tulips and daffodils growing in a small garden at the back of the Shatters'...
They're starting earlier in House at the weekends - but last Saturday with good reason. Karena Graham - once one of the country's top models, turned businesswoman of some note - had her baby shower at the hipster haunt on Leeson Street last Saturday afternoon.
The most bizarre tale in Nick Kent's smack-soaked 2010 memoir Apathy For The Devil isn't about Led Zeppelin's tremendously tubby manager Peter Grant collapsing on to a couch at an Elvis Presley after-show beano and accidentally sitting on The King's father, Vernon.
Ghosts, to me, aren't necessarily spooky beings that disturb your repose on stormy nights, appearing on creaky staircases in white bed sheets.
"I find only freedom in the realms of eccentricity," Camille O'Sullivan's hero David Bowie once said.
I missed my train back to Dublin. Over three hours one afternoon in Cork, Fergal Keane had so much to say - and a way of saying it - that time got away from us.
Maybe his relative anonymity set Randy Newman free and allowed him to write in a way that he would have been prevented from doing had he more money and fame. Still, I can't help thinking that in an ideal world (one which Newman has always enjoyed satirising), the American would have sold more records than he did and would be more rich and famous than he is.
Ireland's Ancient East. The sound of the words has a certain Celtic-mystical ring to it. As if you are going somewhere far, far away.
Sometimes you just need to get out of town and feel the grass under your feet. And so it proved for 55,000 people at Electric Picnic in the pastoral idyll of Stradbally, Co Laois yesterday.
Took the train along the coast to Dalkey last weekend with the family. A beautiful sunny, Saturday evening. The journey brought me back to childhood train trips to the seaside and further afield with my parents.
It seems like only yesterday - July, actually - that Rosanna Davison and Wesley Quirke were topping up their perma-tans in the Seychelles in some five-star establishment.
The bitch is back. Strong woman- cum-manipulative man-eater Ingrid Gleeson is about to return to Fair City after a five-year absence. The long-running RTE soap rang Vivienne Connolly in April to ask about her availability and interest in revising the role. The phone call came on the day of her son Ben Junior's Confirmation - his grandfather is Ben Dunne. "And it was funny because Katie," Vivienne says referring to her other child by ex-husband, supermarket heir Mark Dunne, "had only said a couple of weeks before that she'd love it if I was back on Fair City as she was so young the last...
First, you see the cowboy hat in the distance. And from beneath it, skinny stargazer, bohemian wanderer and poetic rock star Mike Scott seems to be propelled by an invisible force, up St Anne's Street, and down Drury Street, before finally settling in a bar on Fade Street. The smile is wide and the form is good. There are, of course, substantial reasons for this. Mike has a new wife (internationally acclaimed Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi), a new baby (a seven-month-old son) and a new album, Out Of All This Blue, the best Waterboys album in decades, if not ever (it's...
Music is not advanced metaphysics, and nor should it be. But on rare occasions, you can get something more profound perhaps than what is the norm listening to certain artists. (Insert your own favourites here...)
She has the life of Reilly. Or so it appears for the ex-wife of Gavin O'Reilly (remember him?), Alison Doody. It was only last month that the ex-Mount Anville pupil was enjoying the delights of the East Hamptons in a white kaftan and cowboy hat.
Even allowing for hyperbole, very few male artists have a singing voice quite like life-long Wolverhampton Wanderers fan, mop-haired mystic, all-round-good-guy and living legend of some note, Robert Plant.
Ireland's youngest ever Taoiseach. The son of an Indian immigrant. Openly gay. Openly a fan of Blur... Leo Varadkar is very much the modern political leader.
Leo Varadkar has spoken publicly for the first time about the complicated nature of his long-distance relationship with partner Dr Matthew Barrett, who is now working in America.
With some publications going all gooey-eyed over the 40th anniversary of punk's golden age, 1977 - The Sex Pistols released their vitriol-splattered masterpiece Never Mind The Bollocks that year while The Clash released their eponymously titled debut too - my mind was drawn to one of the most amusing tales from that era...
life is essentially comic. (With an undernote of sadness.) Ask the saintly woman who has to put up with me on a daily, tragicomic basis. She Who Must Be Obeyed, aka my wife. I'd like to think the aforesaid saint Aoife thinks I'm funny. Funny ha, ha. Not funny peculiar
If my wife Aoife is a very young 40 years of age, then I am a very old 49. After this holiday in undeniably beautiful Wexford, however, I can say without fear of exaggeration that I feel like a very young 79-year-old.
To some they were heyday New Order meets Talking Heads and The Clash. To others, Canadian faith healers Arcade Fire were better than a good novel - written by Thom Yorke or Bono. (U2 used to play Arcade Fire's Wake Up before they went onstage to the crowd in 2007.)
Don O'Neill is running up the air miles as fast as he is running up frocks for Oprah Winfrey et al in America. Last weekend the feted New York-based designer flew home to Kerry for his late mother Mim's fifth anniversary Mass.
Derek Mooney and Blathnaid Ni Chofaigh are deep in discussion. "The last time I spoke to Mattress Mick was just before Gay Pride in Dublin," says Derek. "He said to me, 'I have been asked to put a float into the Gay Pride March. What do you think?' I said to him, 'Absolutely. But do your van up and on one side of it just have two bunk beds - with you laying on the top bunk saying: 'Mattress Mick always on top!'" the RTE broadcaster laughs.
It's impossible to get away from U2 right now. (Even if you wanted to.) Take Queen of Country herself, Miranda Lambert. She closed her concert last weekend at the Faster Horses Festival in Michigan with a heart-rending rendition of I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For.
A music business soiree in London, June, 1988: whereupon a chivalrous libertine Shaun Ryder intervenes to stop a well-known industry figure carrying through on his promise to beat me to a pulp after a review in New Musical Express presumably not to his liking.
Cue dancing around Sandymount like a scene from La La Land. Lovely Rita Farrell flies into Dublin tomorrow from Los Angeles. "I can't bleeding wait," Eamon Farrell said excitedly ahead of the arrival of his beloved mother.
They say you get the face you deserve in middle age. I think I probably got the face I deserved when I was born. Either way, I definitely got the back I deserved at 49. As such, I've been going to the Carysfort Clinic every Wednesday for the last five months about my lower spine.
Singer-songwriter Sharleen Spiteri has a fascinating theory about ageing. When you first start out, she said a few years ago, you think you're "really punk and you think you're anti-establishment and that it doesn't really matter what everyone else thinks but the truth of the matter is that you are really bothered.
The truth about U2 is endless. As are the lies. Not that they listen to any of it. Still, in a dim corner of Bono's mind, he might allow himself a moment of doubt amid all that hubris...
It was a trip down memory (sandy) lane last week for Rosanna Davison and Wesley Quirke. Rosie tipped me off before she and her other half boarded their plane last Tuesday.
My earliest childhood memory was of the Tartan Army. Not overly exuberant Scottish fans tearing down the goalposts at Wembley Stadium after beating England, 2-1 in 1977; it was a pre-pubescent Tartan Army of the early 1970s, camped on the southside of Dublin...
A sweltering night in Los Angeles, 2008. Soul titan Thomas Jones Woodward, the son of a coal miner, who grew up in a home with no bath, takes to the stage at The Greek Theatre and breaks into She's a Lady, Delilah, It's Not Unusual and Daughter of Darkness. And before the crowd knows what hits them, Sex Bomb.
It's America's answer to the Riviera. Vanity Fair magazine once said that the Hamptons with its "gorgeous beaches, painterly light, and swanky estates" lures "the moneyed and the talented".
It is easy to see why Freud believed the Irish were one of the few races in the world for whom psychoanalysis would do no good. We're a pretty messed up bunch, especially over First World problems.
ZZ Top's hirsute divine being of boogie himself Billy Gibbons took a break from an interview with The New Yorker in 2005 to make a phone call. At the end of it, the journalist inquired who he was talking to.
The French are revolting! At least they were from 1789 until 1799. The French are all absolutely lovely people now, of course, as Ronan O'Gara and his lovely wife Jessica, who are based in Paris, will happily attest.
When your dad is Johnny Ronan, maybe he can have a word with God about the weather for your big day.
Was there a doctor in the house?
When your dad is Johnny Ronan, maybe he can have a word with God about the weather for your big day. And so it proved last weekend in Kilternan. Because God (who wears his beard in a similar style to the buccaneer from Carrick-on-Suir) provided Jodie Ronan with the hottest day of the year for her wedding to her beau, John Savage.
She is, inarguably, the most iconic blonde since Marilyn Monroe. Not Madonna or Margaret Thatcher, or even (God forbid) Lady Gaga. No, it is Debbie Harry aka - obviously - Blondie...
Arthur Miller once said: "Most marriages, after all, are conspiracies to deny the dark and confirm the light."
Rory O'Neill is a riot. No - really. His show Riot is opening for a two-week run at Vicar Street on July 6. But more than that, Rory - who plays Marilyn-from-Mayo blonde Panti with lipstick-withering coquettishness - is actually a riot because he wears his heart, or his libido, on his sleeve.
Ivy Nations are much-feted purveyors of a kind of big, bright alternative pop sound that had the likes of Kodaline, The Blizzards and The Strypes ask them to be a support act. Their sound is also writ large all over recent single Live By Design, produced by Phil Magee, famed for his sterling services with The Script, Overhead, and the aforesaid Kodaline. Sitting in the sunshine outside the Bailey pub off Grafton Street, Ivy Nations' talk is the opposite of their sound. Guitarist Darragh Faughey is remembering a dark time...
He mightn't have got the result he wanted but Simon Coveney did get to have a good lunch in Hugo's on Merrion Row before he headed to the Mansion House around the corner to see Leo get the nod as leader of Fine Gael.
The late Philip Larkin was at a bus stop in Hull in 1955. It was pouring rain when he noticed a young student soggily moving in his direction. "Don't think you are coming under my umbrella," he sniffed.
Back in the day, the Followill brothers - Caleb, Nathan and Jared - would journey through the dusty, hot South with their preacher papa Ivan Leon Followill, as he spread the Word, healed the unholy and watched them speaking in tongues. The Word never faltered. The Chrysler that transported the Followills all over the Bible Belt was not so reliable...
Niall Morris was four years old when his parents, Joan Davis and Dr Michael Morris, separated. Growing up with separated parents in the 1980s, there was still a lot of stigma.
The Coronas take Barry Egan through each track on their brilliant new album Trust the Wire...
The meteoric rise and Biblical-like fall - and meteoric rise again - of Justin Bieber is one of pop's great cautionary tales. Or perhaps, not. Perhaps it is just a tale of a young fella from Canada doing what you'd expect from a young man who has been an international superstar on a par with Michael Jackson since the age of 15. (He is now 23 and made $56m last year.)
Didn't she almost have it all? Unfortunately, in the end, life for Whitney Houston wasn't like the one portrayed in her often beautiful, timeless songs. Sadly, the greatest modern soul singer since her godmother, Aretha Franklin, lost her very soul to drugs, to addiction. To the demons inside her head.
It is not a secret - but it is senselessly cruel - that Emma Hannigan's cancer has come back 10 times since she was first diagnosed in 2007.
The very glamorous Powerscourt Hotel in Enniskerry had a world-famous glamour-puss purring on its prestigious premises last week.
There's an old Irish saying: "A son is a son till he takes him a wife, a daughter is a daughter all of her life." Gabriel Byrne and his wife Hannah Beth King had a baby girl last month. And that little girl is in for a real treat.
KEEPING up with the Varadkars? On Friday for lunch, no one can keep up with magnificent Miriam Varadkar.
When yer wan Pippa Middleton sashayed up the aisle yesterday at St Mark's Church in Bucklebury, Berkshire, one beautiful bride-to-be must have been watching closely. Very closely, even. That impossibly hip health and fashion blogger Holly White's wedding is all systems go for next weekend.
Paul Weller's 25th studio album - 40 years on from 'In The City' - is one his best in many years.
Bono still hasn't found the president he's looking for.
Bono still hasn’t found the President he’s looking for. "Trump's supporters — the people who voted for Trump — are welcome at U2 gigs in America , but Donald Trump himself is not welcome at U2 gigs in America," the U2 singer said in an interview with Independent.ie before U2's Seattle show last night.
The Gods long ago equipped Bono with the antennae of a wise man. So, he must have known that the future of U2 possibly rode on The Joshua Tree Tour 2017.
'Never say goodbye because goodbye means going away, and going away means forgetting' - Peter Pan
U2 will kick off the US leg of The Joshua Tree tour tonight in Seattle. The Seattle Times is unequivocal with its front page: 'Beautiful Day. U2 Is Back In Town.'
Twink's a national treasure we don't see enough of, I always say. Some months we never see her at all. Then, last week, the panto queenie pops up twice in the space of a few days. On Monday she was at a friend's birthday party in the Trocadero.
The Duke of Edinburgh was alleged to have said prior to his wedding to Princess Elizabeth, the heiress presumptive to the British throne, on November 20, 1947, at Westminster Abbey: "I suppose I won't be having any fun any more." That wasn't always the case.
A post-apocalyptic dance party by the beach in Spain. And it was one of the greatest gigs I ever witnessed: Gorillaz at Benicassim outside Valencia on a hot July night in 2010. (I saw Noel Gallagher - of whom more later - at the same festival in 2015 - he encored with AKA... What A Life! and Don't Look Back In Anger. That was a truly special show, too.)
I can solve the mystery of why the smarter salons of Dublin were a little quieter last weekend. Rosanna Davison and Wesley Quirke were in Paris for an early wedding anniversary knees-up (or words to that effect).
He beat all the ratings records during his long and illustrious broadcasting career. And all of Ireland are backing Gay Byrne to beat cancer with the same unstoppable will and characteristic determination.
It has echoes of Wish You Were Here's Have a Cigar by his old muckers Pink Floyd. It could been taken from his anti-war, anti-fascist piece de resistance The Wall. With his new single Smell the Roses, Roger Waters returns to his career's - and indeed to his life's - leitmotif: war and its effects on human beings...
Rosabel was the kind of baby whose little smile would light up the room and have everyone smiling back at her - and whose little laugh would, in turn, cause everyone who heard it to laugh along with her.
Rory McIlroy teed up for his wedding day with a lavish stag party this weekend in Miami Beach with his closest friends.
The talk on corners is that Jim Corr - one quarter of that all-singing family sensation from Dundalk, The Corrs - has found love. Indeed a source very close to the enigmatic musician will be forgiven, but perhaps not forgotten, for telling your diarist that Jim is in the first bloom of a romance with the mystery new lady in his life.
No one here gets out alive. Yet Jim Morrison is now as immortal as the gods he sang about. Mr Mojo Risin' is rising once more on the 50th anniversary of his band's epochal debut album. A shamanistic rider on the storm, Jim has long since broken on through to the other side.
They say that the fear of death follows from the fear of life - and that a man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time. My uncle Cyril was a man like that. Chipper. Eternally full of the joys.
At some point in the mid 1980s, Scottish bard Mike Scott had a vision, or at least a revelation, in a period of mystical and musical transition. There were stories that some of the sessions in pubs in little villages in Galway involving The Waterboys - and the merry band of kindred spirits who joined them along the way - would go on until dawn. Rolling Stone magazine in 1985 called him "the new poet laureate of rock 'n' roll" so this was the kind of carry-on expected of him. And he didn't disappoint.
Philip Roth wrote in Portnoy's Complaint that "a Jewish man with parents alive is a fifteen-year-old boy, and will remain a fifteen-year-old boy till they die." Neil Diamond has a somewhat special relationship with his beloved mama Rose (his father Akeeba died in 1985). "Happy Birthday to my beautiful mom, Rose! 98 is the new 60! I love you, Neil", he tweeted last year.
At religion class in school, when we were told that Joseph and Mary took Jesus with them to Jerusalem, I always assumed that it was because Joseph and Mary couldn't get a baby-sitter.