Once the world had a superhero ready to jump on his private jet at a moment’s notice, writes Jim Duffy.
There was a time when all we needed to do was click our fingers and great things would happen. In times of world crises, when the politicians couldn’t quite manage to pull things off in a timely and seamless fashion, we could turn to one trusted soul to sort it all out.
From The Troubles in Ireland to the townships of Soweto, this man could make things happen. He had the ear of British Prime Ministers and US presidents. He had more super-human strength than Christopher Reeves and more cunning than Batman. But, he’s gone now. And we need him even more. Yes, it’s time to bring back Bono...
I recall in my early 20s listening to the U2 album, Live at Red Rocks. The frontman of this soon-to-be super group was Bono. At the time, he had all the makings of an Expendable and Incredible, all in one small package. But this super-hero could sing!
He would knock out powerful tones with cogent lyrics designed to make us think. Supported by his fellow band members, Bono grew to international stardom.
This was epitomised by his fabulous and haunting appearance at Bob Geldof’s Live Aid. Or was Midge Ure involved there also? Yes, I’m pretty sure that Midge played a key role there Bob. But, he seems to have been whitewashed from the credits. Not for us Scots though.
Anyway, back to superheroes. Bono stole the show with his rendition of the U2 song, Bad. He came into the crowds, just like Jesus and the early prophets did. He hugged some wee lassie plucked from obscurity. He broke the risk management and crowd control rules to be “at one with people”. It was just brilliant to watch. And despite my nervousness about his prophetic actions, I do enjoy banging it on on YouTube every now and then. Yes, Bono was on his way to world saviour.
He made damn sure that he used his superpowers well. He had the ear of the people and the they loved him and his music. A bit like Russell Crowe in the movie Gladiator, where he won the hearts and minds of those in the Coliseum, causing the young empower some angst. Winning hearts and minds always works well and Bono knew this.
He had massive global reach and could sing about anything he wanted. If I’m not mistaken, it was Bono and Jim Kerr from Simple Minds who got Nelson Mandela freed right? Maybe not that simple, but I don’t know who else did. Do you? But, alas, after all his caped-crusader efforts to free us from tyranny and the forces of evil, Bono has going missing.
At a time when one of the most decisive leaders of the Western world lands in Scotland and the UK, I have to ask the question. Where in God’s name is Bono when you need him?
Only Bono could release us from the grip of this Western oligarch. Only Bono could be strong enough to stand up to President Trump and say: “No way!” Only Bono could have us – the proletariat – hanging on his every word as he tells, no demands, politicians do the right thing.
But, he is nowhere to be found and perhaps he does not want to be found. Has this superhero gone forever?
In the USA, another live wire and actor superhero has had a go at President Trump. Robert De Niro has been vocal pre- and post-Trump’s election.
De Niro has stood on platforms and denounced Trump, stating he would like to “punch him on the face”. Powerful words from one of the best-known (fictional) gangsters in the movie world.
But, on this occasion, I do not see this particular “luvvie” making any real impact. It takes more than making an impassioned speech with the f-word thrown in to have an effect at red-carpet dinners. De Niro has failed, but he gets points for trying. This now makes the reappearance of Bono so much more of an issue.
Only Bono knows that a superhero has to get off his ass and on a plane, albeit a private jet, to make an impact.
After all, no point in Bono queuing at Stanstead airport waiting for a Ryanair flight that may be cancelled due to pilot industrial action this month. And Bono was willing to jet across the globe with the likes of Slick Willy Clinton to get that “money shot”.
When Bono hit the tarmac, he made it count. No politician was safe. Any God-fearing politico that refused an audience with Bono to discuss the s*** that was occurring in their country under their watch was doomed.
Wee Bono would be giving speeches, hugging babies and sitting down with rival politicians to make you feel bad. So, why endure the Bono treatment when you should just meet him and acquiesce to him?
This world feels like it is in tatters right now. Never before have we needed a character like Bono to get behind. He was fearless and knew how to knit it all together to create some form of outcome.
But I don’t think old Bono will be coming out of retirement all that soon. He has fought enough fights and has the scar tissue to prove it. So we need another superhero who can gel us together. And it can’t be Gareth Southgate – yet.
We need a new superhero to coalesce around as he or she or they hold Trump and others to account. The problem is right now, I cannot think of anyone suited to the role. Let’s keep praying in the meantime...