So, Bono’s first New York Times column appeared in yesterday’s paper, and the topic at hand was not poverty or world peace or even losing that hat of his a few years back but Frank Sinatra’s Duets. Which just so happens to be an album that, hey what do you know, Bono himself appeared on. The overall gist of the column is about the uncertainty surrounding the present day and the duality of moments and how a true artist can bring duality and complexity out of his work. All well and good, but I couldn’t help flashing back to monologues from the 1991 film The Commitments, about an Irish soul band with lofty (some might even say Bono-like!) aspirations but only limited success, while trying to get through Bono’s slightly purple prose. After the jump, try to pick which quotes from the movie and which are from yesterday’s Week In Review section.
1. “Is this knotted fist of a voice a clue to the next year? In the mist of uncertainty in your business life, your love life, your life life, why is Sinatra’s voice such a foghorn—such confidence in nervous times allowing you romance but knocking your rose-tinted glasses off your nose, if you get too carried away.”
2. “Soul is the music people understand. Sure it’s basic and it’s simple. But it’s something else ’cause, ’cause, ’cause it’s honest, that’s it. It’s honest…. It sticks its neck out and says it straight from the heart. Sure there’s a lot of different music you can get off on but soul is more than that. It takes you somewhere else.”
3. “I was lucky to duet with a man who understood duality, who had the talent to hear two opposing ideas in a single song, and the wisdom to know which side to reveal at which moment.”
4. “The success of the band was irrelevant—you raised their expectations of life, you lifted their horizons.”
5. “This is our moment. What do we hear?”
6. “Do you not get it, lads? The Irish are the blacks of Europe. And Dubliners are the blacks of Ireland. And the Northside Dubliners are the blacks of Dublin. So say it once, say it loud: I’m black and I’m proud.”
OK so that last one was a bit easy. (1, 3, and 5 are Bono.) But really, shouldn’t someone at the Times get Roddy Doyle on the phone, at least for ghostwriting duties? They may have to loosen their profanity standards, but it’d be worth it.