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Saturday, 25 June 2011

The Death of U2

The other day, the world's biggest popular rock band, U2, played the UK's greatest summer festival, Glastonbury; the event, historic for some, was marred - or improved - depending on your perspective - by a small group of protesters, who want U2 to pay taxes in Ireland, rather than avoid them.  The response, from the group's manager was that U2 was "a global business" and had an international tax profile.  Fine and dandy - but that admission, to me, signals the death of U2 as a band of singer-songwriters I want to have in my earphones.  When I listen to music I don't want to listen to BP or Exxon.  If U2 is now a global business they can't have my business, because I don't want to think of music that way.  Would we still love and respect Heaney or Ashbery if they were incorporated?  The Pogues are not a multinational corporation; they are geniuses.  What makes matters worse is that Bono swans around with world leaders, claiming to want to improve things.  He should keep his own house in order.  In a time of austerity, he might start by cutting ticket prices.  These lads are multi-millionaires, they can afford to stop stashing away so much loot under their rainbow.  Their passports may be green, but U2 needn't be about the green stuff.  It used to appear to be about so much more - or were they always just looking for that perfect tax haven in the sun, in a bank with no name?
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