They want their money back if you’re alive at 33

December 4, 2012 |  by  |  No Particular Song  |  3 Comments

I’ve been meaning to write this post since I turned 33, which was 364 days and 8 hours ago. There is really no greater motivator than the last minute.

Theologians estimate that Jesus was 33 years old when he was crucified. Add that to an extensive list of things I know because of U2, which includes the meaning of apartheid (though, for a long time I would pronounce it “apartitesss”), the translation of several German phrases, who B.B. King, Aung San Suu Kyi, Desmond Tutu and The Ramones are, when Martin Luther King, Jr. was (and was not) shot, what a Trabant is, and where to find Morocco on a map.

So, Jesus lived to 33. Bono was about 33 when he wrote “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me” (the home of my title lyric). And I’m now 33, for a few more hours anyway. When you find yourself as old as Jesus, you start to do some thinking. The Christian/religious/spiritual presence in U2 is undoubted and well documented—dozens of books have been written on the topic and hundreds of articles explore U2’s spiritual identity. You would be hard-pressed to find a song that doesn’t include a quote from or an allusion to scripture. So how does a non-Christian, non-Jew, non-Muslim, non-Buddhist, non-Pastafarian, non-anything find herself so at home with a band that loves to sing about God? Read More

The Turkish Lady

February 5, 2012 |  by  |  No Particular Song, U2360 Tour  |  2 Comments

At the top of the Rhodes acropolis with a photo of my nana, on a trip I wouldn't have taken had Bono not broken his back in 2010.

It’s Super Bowl Sunday — a day of little present interest but much past significance to me. Of course, in terms of U2 (as most things in my life are), it was 10 years ago today that the band performed at Super Bowl XXXVI. It was the first Super Bowl after 9/11, and U2’s halftime show uplifted a nation still very much in pain and uncertainty. It was a poignant tribute to the lives lost, as well as a sounding bell that it was time to move from mourning to healing.

But, six years ago, on Feb 5, 2006, I watched an even more unforgettable Super Bowl. I can’t tell you which teams played or who performed at halftime, but it was during the game that I learned my grandmother had passed away earlier that day. Nana was a remarkable woman who lived 93 years’ worth of stories that fascinated her grandchildren. She was a Turkish immigrant who came to America at the age of 19, eventually landing in Jacksonville via Ellis Island. I think she headed south as soon as she got here in search of warmer climes — she was born on the island of Kos and grew up on Rhodes, both off the coast of Greece. New York in December probably wasn’t selling her on the States. When Bono (yes, it always comes back to Bono) broke his back in 2010 and U2 postponed their summer U.S. dates for the 360 tour, I took the opportunity to instead travel to Greece and Turkey. My trip included a stop on Rhodes, and while I had no luck in tracking down relatives on the tiny little island, it was exciting simply to walk the same terrain I know she walked. Read More

The Sweetest Transvestite

October 25, 2011 |  by  |  No Particular Song  |  No Comments

If Danny Lanois and Brian Eno are still trying to think up Halloween costume ideas, I suggest they go as Dr. Frank-N-Furter and Riff Raff.

I apologize to the original photographers, to Lanois and Eno, to The Rocky Horror Picture Show, to Photoshop, and to Halloween.