'We close in on the band...'

17 Nov 200915
Bono's latest column for the The New York Times takes the form of five scenes of a screenplay set in Berlin, over several decades. It opens on the night of the band's live set in front of the Brandenburg Gate earlier this month.


The camera cranes over a crowd of thousands gathered in Pariser Platz.

An Irish band plays its song 'One' in the city where it was written nearly 20 years earlier. The band is here for an MTV broadcast celebrating the anniversary of the wall's falling. A helicopter shot glides like a ghost through the architecture of this most modern of cities: the avant-garde Chancellery, the glass dome at the top of the Reichstag, the refurbished Brandenburg Gate. Images of East and West Berlin dancing to the music are projected on the gate, turning this monument to peace into a graffiti wall of the same...

We close in on the band. We can feel its sense of occasion. This is nothing new. One suspects THE SINGER approaches a trip to the bathroom with the same degree of vainglory. (To wit, is he not writing about himself now in the third person? He is.) On stage, he is emotional in the way we've come to expect. In this case it's because a song written to help stop his band from falling apart has somehow become an unsentimental ode to unity - in this instance a bittersweet song for a bittersweet history.

Further abusing the contrivance of a screenplay, we cut to...


Read the whole column at The New York Times.
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'we close in on the band'
We know that life is worth it when we can turn back and see through our mistakes, through ourselves; see how far we have gone; and hope for the best that will come. Thanks. Great column. Again.
far and close
thanks for the good laugh: that "Irish joke" is awesome! :) ... and also how you step out from the story and watching / writing about yourselves ironically as an outsider: that's really interesting and very honest. thanks for sharing your memories of those days 20 years ago.
berlin peace
no walls and that people can live in peace
Great Article!
It was well-written and very interesting! I know I'm not the first to say this, but I hope Bono continues to write for the New York Times.
Great column. I never Knew that Bono wrote for the LA Times.
you are crackin' me up
That's all. Just wanted to say that the playwright's self-depracating humor in this opening scene is quite amusing. I'm off to NYT site to read the rest. . .
stretching his literary muscles
Really nice bit by Bono, especially because he's expanding into depersonalizing and projection. Bono is an unparalleled lyricist; there may be a strong novelist somewhere under the bristle beard and trendy goggles.
Thanks for sharing the skinny on ONE...isn't life cyclical in a cool twisted way : )
We close in...
Inspiring and a joy to read. Thanks, Bono. A real blessing.
seriously good
despite the largely serious tone, Bono always stuns me with how elegant a writer he is. i know, he writes the songs, but there is a big difference between poetry and prose. they are not the same. he really is an excellent writer. He is also very funny sometimes. i laughed out loud at a few moments of that article. i hope he continues to write for NYT, and i hope to laugh again and again. thanks, Bono!
You must get back to this 1990 spirit
The thing I remember about Achtung Baby is it being the first pop album I loved enough to actively play it and not just enjoy it when my brother listened to it. It was an album that got me excited about music and it was complex and didn't care about pleasing the mainstream. You can get back to this; it's the only way to ensure a meaningful legacy and quality music and ardent fans. Enough with "Vertigo" and obvious guitar lines, please!
I was so struck by words of Chancellor Angela Merkel - "Always be more than you appear and never appear to be more than you are.” What honest, true words to live by. Bono continues to inspire with what he does to help people he will never meet. If only everyone had the same heart.
The Honest Insect
Bono offers excellent insights on what the band went through during the making of Achtung Baby. Bono is again brutally honest (although he's not a "jerk" he is rather "an insect in your ear"). I apppreciate his call to be who you are and to be honest with yourself and others... and to continue to help those in need even in the tough times.
"Never appearing to be more than we are"
Thank-you Bono for your NY Times articles which give us perspective on how your life as an activist has evolved out of your unique circumstances. I am endlessly inspired & challenged:)
'we close in on the band'
it is a great article!
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