Tag Archives: Bono

More About Names

It is widely known that Oprah Winfrey’s TV company is called Harpo, because that’s her name spelt backwards.

Whenever I’m invited to start my own TV company (and it’s surely only a matter of time) I’ll have to call it Namnit, which would make me seem like a war veteran suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

If Bono starts one, though, well, many people would think the name would suit him perfectly.

(Don’t try this game, Grannymar, you’ll sound like a Klingon ordering lunch).

A Sort of Homecoming

Guess where I was yesterday….

(e)SP_A0070

U2 are back in Dublin, and the show was brilliant, but the main reason for this post is the photograph above. I am immensely proud of it, not just because I haven’t nicked it off Google Images like I usually do.

It’s because I took it with my phone.

As I have often said before, I am not exactly a child of the technological age. It is widely believed that the word “Luddite”, coined back in the 19th Century, means “anyone opposed to technological change”, but the exact meaning at the time was “a word nearly good enough to describe someone who’s crap at everything technical, which will have to do till Tinman comes along next century and really raises (or lowers) the bar of ineptitude, & we can start calling these people tinmen instead”.

I do have a digital camera, given to me by my adoring family last birthday. I asked for it because I thought it would be of use in my blog, but in fact every picture by me that’s ever appeared here has been taken on my phone. My digital camera is about to make it’s debut here, and perhaps you’ll see why:

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That’s the only one of the 60 pictures taken on the camera yesterday that was taken by me. Once Mrs Tin saw that, it was taken away from me, and I was left to play with my mobile instead.

And so, when the blimp suddenly appeared behind the giant stage, I took that picture. On the screen of my mobile it looked grey and tiny, and I was astonished when I opened it on my computer this morning.

It’s better than anything Mrs Tin took on my camera. Well, apart from this one:

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…or maybe this one…..

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…or maybe, well, OK, any of them really.

Still, neither of us got what would have been the best picture of the night. As you can see, the area behind the stage was unoccupied, as Hill 16 at Croke Park has terraces instead of seats. This meant that all signs on the walls of the Hill were visible and at one point, as Bono was on the giant screen, the sign “Toilet” appeared above his head.

Even Bono himself would have laughed.

Pro Bono

This is unlikely to be the most popular post I’ve ever written, as in it I’m going to stick up for Bono.

Yes, it's really that big

Yes, it's really that big

Ok, to the few of you still reading, I know he can be very up himself, I know he can be bombastic and irritating. I know too that the Massive Head model of his head is actually life size. But I think that a load of the stuff talked about him is just crap.

During the week a group of idiots called the Debt and Development Coalition Ireland held a protest outside the Department of Finance. The coalition contains such organisations as Trócaire, Oxfam and various Catholic missionary orders, and campaigns on issues relating to the developing world. Was the protest about the €95 million cut in Overseas Aid announced by Brian Lenihan on February 3rd?

Well, no. It was about the fact that U2 moved their publishing arm to the Netherlands, because the tax treatment of royalties is more favourable there.

A Bono impersonator called Paul O’Toole did an unfunny re-working of the lyrics of I Still haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, posed with a mock-up of a donation to the world’s poor in one hand and a large sack of unpaid tax in the other, and made the rather offensive accusation that “Bono talks about dead kids, but he won’t pay a penny towards it.” Really? Bono has never contributed one penny towards combating poverty? Does O’Toole know that?

DDCI co-ordinator Nessa ní Chasaíde said that “U2’s tax avoidance measures deprive the Irish exchequer of taxation revenue that could be spent on development aid.” Yes, it could be. Does she really believe that it would? And anyway, U2’s tax avoidance measures are supplying the Dutch exchequer with taxation revenue that could be spent on development aid. Has she checked if that is happening?

And today the Sunday Indo devotes a whole page to how U2 are letting down the Irish people, and shows that in a poll 84% of people answered Yes to the question “Should U2’s business operations be based in, and pay tax in, Ireland”.

Interestingly, they didn’t publish a poll asking “Should Intel shag off home and pay tax in America?” because somehow that’s different.

Bono is not a tax exile. He still lives here, and still pays tax here. A decision was made, presumably by the people who actually run the business side of the U2 company, to move part of the company so as to pay less tax. Paying as little tax as is legal is what all of us do.

If Bono was a tax dodger who paid no tax anywhere then you could call him a hypocrite for preaching about world poverty. To say, as the headline in the Sindo does, that “Bono’s preaching is a bit rich given the band’s efforts to pay less tax” is bollocks. It makes as much sense as saying that any of us who have ever got tax back by claiming for our medical expenses should not be allowed to criticise the state of the Health Service.

And now he's Pope

And now he's Pope

There are tax exiles. One of them is Denis O’Brien, who was given the right to the second mobile licence (and consequently turned into a billionaire) by Michael Lowry in circumstances which have been investigated by the Moriarty Tribunal. Mr O’Brien has added greatly to the cost of that Tribunal by fighting it at every turn. Still we regularly have to listen to his opinions as to what our country is doing wrong, including this laughable piece in last August’s Irish Times where he refers to what “we” (who’s “we”, paleface?) can do to improve the economy.

Why don’t the DDCI protest about him?