“I hate U2, that Bono’s a twat.”
Why’s that then? Did he deliver your Ocado shop outside the allocated time? Put sugar in your Flat White by mistake? No? Didn’t think so. Granted, he does seem to err on the side of irritating occasionally, but don’t we all. He's not being personal, he's just a "pop star". All be it, one that has ordered a pizza live on stage and phoned President Clinton whilst wearing devil horns and a gold suit. Doesn’t make him Satan though. And personally I thought they were great at Live Aid. Organised by that other "twat", Bob Geldof. Sir Bob. Saint Bob.
I have a soft spot for Bob, as I do Bono. I was lucky (or not, depending on your stance) of seeing U2, pre flag waving, statement making days in a smallish venue in 1983. They got the audience to sing Happy Birthday to Adam Clayton. He's the bass playing "twat" in the band. The one who has his cock out on the back cover of ‘Achtung Baby’. The one who had Naomi Campbell as a girlfriend. Yeah him. That twat.
Back to Bob. Back to Christmas 1979. Along with my Boots own brand record player I was given the latest Boomtown Rats LP, ‘The Fine Art of Surfacing’.
The year before the Rats had hit number 1 with ‘Rat Trap’, knocking ‘Summer Nights’ of the top spot after nine long weeks. The great TOTP performance starting with the ripping up of the John Travolta centrefold. To me this was punk. Yeah, I liked Bob.
The piano player wore pyjamas and was called Johnnie Fingers. I was a couple of years too young for ‘proper’ punk. The Sid Vicious and Johnny Rotten punk. I was more suited to Sid Snot and Johnnie Fingers.
History hasn’t been too kind to Bob and his musical output. Massive for a fleeting moment, like Slade. Two number 1 singles when you had to sell shit loads to hit the top spot. Never mentioned in those "Top 100 musical blah blah blah" lists that appear everywhere. A band that time forgot.
No doubting Bob’s massive stamp on eighties culture and politics with Band Aid and Live Aid. There will always be the cynics who say he only did it to save his flagging career. ‘Banana Republic’ had been their last top 10 in 1980. A hugely under rated tune addresing the troubles of their homeland back in Ireland.
I still love all those early Rats records, I know every word to every song on ‘...Surfacing’. It doesn't get played that often anymore, but when I dig out my original copy and the needle trundles through the dead wax and Bob proclaims, “On a night like this, I deserve to get kissed, at least, once or twice...”; I fall in love with it again.
Heroes going cheap these days... arise Sir Bob.