Imagine a time when a record is released and you have to leave your house with real money in your pocket. You take the bus into town and go to a shop.
You go up to the counter and ask for the record. The retailer has it behind the counter. You hand over your money, she hands you the record.
Bus back home, rush in, fire up the turntable and gently – gently, now! – lower the stylus onto the shiny black vinyl. Heaven.
This dreamlike image appeared in my head recently after I woke up to find a U2 album on my iPhone.
We’re all entitled to our little irrationalities, and I hold it as a badge of honour that I’ve never owned a U2 album.
Ditto, I’ve never seen The Sound Of Music.
I had an amusing exchange on Twitter recently after I posted about tracks I produced with Vince Hill and 101 Mandolins.
@BeoirFinder tweeted “Bugger – wrong Edelweiss”.
I tweeted back “Surely not!? What were you expecting – I’m intrigued” and he sent me a link to a YouTube mashup called Bring Me Edelweiss. It’s so many levels of wrong and bad, it might actually be brilliant.
In a later tweet, he explained: “I have a project where I’m going to destroy The Sound Of Music.”
This was our last exchange:
So, imagine if I woke up one morning to find that, during my sleep, someone had discovered a way to show me The Sound Of Music from beginning to end in my dreams. Once seen, I could never unsee it.
It’s not far from that to waking up to find U2 on my iPhone.
I had thought this particular prejudice was unique to me. Turns out I’m not alone. My friend Peter Mate discovered pages of Bono/U2 jokes on Wikipedia. Facebook was crawling with people outraged by, at the very least, what they considered an invasion of privacy. Fuck privacy. Taste is far more important.
But the funniest thing was posted by my son Remi. It’s a note from Captain Beefheart to Bono, who had been trying to interest the Captain in a collaboration. The note read:
“Dear Bongo, I don’t know who you are, or what you want from me, but don’t call me again.”
It’s the ‘Bongo’ that cracks me up. I don’t believe the story’s true (Beefheart died in 2010, so there’s no way of finding out).
But surely, being Bono, it must puncture his pride to see this stuff so widely circulated?
Why else would he think it’s a good idea to force his new album on 500 million unsuspecting iTunes account holders? There’s more hubris attached to that than could be contained in a Jumbo Jet.
I checked and discovered U2 have reportedly sold 150 million albums in their career.
Rihanna has sold more. Not to mention Garth Brooks, Celine Dion and Mariah Carey.
What must it feel like to know that history is going to record you as 14th on a list (with all chances of slipping down) where Madonna is in fourth place?
So then I started calculating. Are you paying attention, Bongo?
I figure that if your hardcore fans had bought all 14 albums, that would make roughly eleven million people in the world who own a U2 album.
Let’s be kind and say that your hardcore fans account for half of your sales, and that 75 million other people have bought one album each. That’s still fewer than 90 million people (and that’s really pushing it, I know) who’ve actually bought a U2 album. In reality, I reckon it’s probably closer to 25 million.
In which case, what made you think that 475 million people who had never bought one of your records would want one now – even for free?
So, here’s a reality check for you, Bono. It’s a clip of you and the boys being drunk and disrespectful to Phil Collins, who is tirelessly tolerant – but has also sold a quarter of a billion albums. You’re never gonna get there. You know that, don’t you?
My next dream involves the pop star who lives in my house, winning an award, which you present. She won’t be drunk when she comes up to accept it. Oh no. It’s much, much worse than that.
She has absolutely no idea who you are. “Sing me a U2 song, pop star who lives in my house.”
“Are you for real, P-Dog? Wtf is that?”
And here’s the Edelweiss mashup that BeoirFinder wants to use in his destructive remake of The Sound Of Music. I’m with you, BF.