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Sad, failed rocker Neil is just making a living on Bono's coat-tails

I have a confession to make which, while not a fashionable one, I feel compelled to reveal regardless. I am not a close friend of Bono. The U2 front man does, indeed, have plenty of Irish people he can count as friends. The coterie that he hits town with on occasion -- Guggi, Gavin Friday, Simon Carmody -- are genuine, lifelong pals. When Dave Fanning talks about "me and Bono", you know that he's not exaggerating their relationship. Fanning, after all, championed U2 long before most.

And don't get me wrong -- I'm not saying that I dislike Bono, far from it. But I may as well face the fact that I'm not on first-name terms with him, I can't brag to journalists with the line "Bono called me the other day...", and I most certainly can't tweet about him, having texted me just to give me advice. Unlike a certain Neil McCormick, for example.

Interviewed in a newspaper this week, music journalist and famous 'Bono doppelganger' Neil was doing what he does best -- actually, make that 'what he does to the exclusion of just about everything else' -- and talking about his 'good friend' Bono.


Killing Bono, the movie based on the book that Neil wrote about his schooldays with Bono when they had rival rock bands, has just been released, giving the man another chance to reheat his story. And boy, has that particularly festering scrap of foulness been chucked into the microwave a few times over the past 30 years...

For all his current jollity about the time that Bono became everything that McCormick dreamt of being, it's hard to escape the feeling that much of it is forced. And that resentment gnaws away within him, because while Bono has garnered livelong fame for his talent, McCormick is only being given 15 minutes.

"One reason that Bono made it, is he was lucky," says McCormick. "There are three things you need. One is an abundance of talent... The next thing is luck, in meeting the right people, in being in the right band. The public chooses who it wants, so you've got to be in the right place at the right time... I don't know where I went wrong; maybe it was the talent, certainly I didn't have the luck..."

Far from Bono being the lucky one, it is McCormick who should count his blessings. After all, he was lucky enough to be in school at the same time as Bono, and forge a career out of that simple twist of fate. There is little in the world sadder than people who live vicariously through others. Except, perhaps, journalists who fail at a certain profession, end up writing about those who didn't, and believe the only difference between them is that the other person got lucky.

Right at the end of his interview, the newspaper plugged a lecture that McCormick was due to give in Belfast last night, entitled Is There Too Much Music? It informed readers that "some tickets still available".

I bet there were...