"It's got a really spongy sound. We've found that when you're men, the slower tempos can be funky."
-- Bono, on "Elevation"
@U2 QOM July 2012: Give U2 a Hometown Tour
U2 is visiting your hometown and they've asked you to be their guide! What would you show them and why?
August 12, 2012
(Each month, @U2 puts a spotlight on U2 fans with our "Question of the Month." We pose a question to our readers and invite answers of 200 words or less. If you're interested in taking part, check our home page to see if the current question is still open. If not, check back shortly after the beginning of next month and we'll have another question ready to be answered!)
Iain Wilson: I would show the older U2 where the younger U2 played as they were starting out in the Empire Liverpool.
Ana Jagnjic: Oh God... If only U2 came to my hometown… Well I am in Croatia, and Croatia isn't big country... So my hometown is a very small town but with big and old history... First of all I will guide the boys and tell them something about very old play called "Sinjska alka" because the name of my little town is Sinj. What is Sinjska alka? It is an equestrian competition which has been held every first Sunday in the month of August since 1715, commemorating the victory over Ottoman Turkish administration. It consists of an equestrian competition, in which various horsemen attempt to aim their lances at a hanging metal ring (alka) at full gallop.
The object is hung on a rope 3.32 metres above the race track. The contestant (called an alkar) rides his horse down the race track and tries to hit the central ring of alka with his spear in full gallop. Depending on which part of the alka he hits, he receives from 1 to 3 points, and no points if he misses. Only men born in Sinjska krajina (city of Sinj and surrounding villages) can take part in the Alka and it is considered a great privilege to participate in the tournament. The vojvoda ("Duke") of Alka is a ceremonial title representing the commander of the alkars. It is a great honour to become the alkar vojvoda, and only the most notable men from Sinjska krajina become one. The costumes worn by the alkar men are the same that were worn by the warriors in the 18th century.
The Sinjska Alka is the only remaining example of the medieval knightly competitions that were regularly held in the Croatian coastal towns until the nineteenth century. In October 2010, Alka was included on the UNESCO list of world intangible cultural heritage. So... What a great day this will be… I will take U2 to watch these incredible history games... They will enjoy watching it... And me too with so special guests… After the game we will all go to have some fun in streets of Sinj with people having fun, eating traditional meals... And singing all night long.... Oh God… Such a perfect day!!!!!!
Evelien Schoonderbeek: I live in the North of France on a farm in a small town where time stood still about 50 years ago. I would show them the amazing view from my house, the beautiful stars at night and how it is like to be somewhere where you can be totally relaxed and anonymous. A lot of people here just own a small transistor radio, a black and white TV and have no clue that there is an amazing band called U2.
After showing them all those amazing things I would offer them a good glass of Scotch Single Malt, serve them a home cooked meal with vegetables from my own garden and invite them to enjoy a good night's sleep in our guesthouse where it is so quiet you can just hear the sounds of birds and the wind.
I think that after staying here for a few days they would be totally relaxed and have new energy for all the things to come.
Thera Hagedoorn: I would show them my house and backyard because I would love to have them for myself once. There are so many questions I would ask them or things to talk about with them and I am sure if II would take them to our Open Air Museum (which is really great), or to our old but great small music theatre, there will be to many people around. I would love to NOT share them for a while.
John Poole: "Why me? Why Ebensburg??"
Jennifer Willins: Since I live in Cleveland, Ohio, I would like to take them to the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame but that would be too obvious. Therefore, I would take them to Chagrin Falls for ice cream. This little town has a beautiful waterfall & a great place for ice cream. Actually known to be a cute place for a first date. Then, I would take them to the West Side Market. This market has been around for 100 years! It is a Cleveland treasure. The vendors there reflect cultural diversity of Cleveland's neighbourhoods. We would have to make a stop at Lakeview Cemetery. It is known as, "Cleveland's Outdoor Museum". The tour would end at my house for a nice meal.
Paul Parkins: I'd take U2 to all the best bars in the town of Reading UK, so we could have a few beers and discuss the rights and wrongs of the world, and have in depth discussions e.g. does Bono believe the moon is made from cheese ? Also ask them why 11o'clock tick tock isn't on the set list these days, and if they really think the last album was really any good.
We could also invite Adam's ex PA, so she can pay the bill ;)
Ivan Petrasic: I know that U2 went to Zagreb in 2010, but I would like to see them in Split. I would like to show them "Dioklecijanovu pala?u", the palace of Roman Emperor Diocletian. Also I would like them to see "Splitska riva", the Port of Split, where they could sit down and watch the beautiful Croatian sea. They should also see "Marjan" the hill of Split where they could watch how beautiful is Split. And of course "Poljudska ljepotica" the stadion of football club "Hajduk Split" wich can hold much more people than "Maksimir" where they should have a concert!
Dallas Bear: I'm in Dallas. Since Mexican U2 fans are even more insane than Irish U2 fans, we'd go to all the fabulous Mexican joints and eat salsa and tacos and homemade tamales with mole sauce. Of course, we'd drink margaritas until the guys couldn't stand up. They may think they can drink until they've been hit hard by some of the margaritas around here - probably go to glorias or javiers for the best ones.
We'd go hit rubber gloves studio up in Denton, which is like a miniature version of Austin for indie music - we'd see some amazing local or regional band that is still a SXSW showcase away from pinging pitchfork's radar. Then we'd probably hit good records, an indie/vinyl store founded by Tim Delaughter of tripping daisy and polyphonic spree. Possibly the best record store not on the coasts.
After a big ass steak dinner at Al Biernat's or Bob's Chop Shop, we'd probably skip the gaudy, trendy clubs in uptown and Oaklawn and head over to Billy Bob's for some honkytonk and more tequila.
For one of the best private sculpture collections in the world, we'd visit the sublime Nasher sculpture garden downtown, designed by Renzo Piano, who just finished the shard in London. Then we'd head to cosmic cafe for spectacular vegetarian curried minced spinach and artichokes. They have a free yoga room upstairs, but that green curry makes me so sleepy it would probably be naptime for all involved. They'll let you do what I euphemistically call the 'happy belly' sleep pose - trust me on this, their green curry = naptime.
Later we'd head over to the Fort Worth modern museum, one of the best modern art museums not on the coasts. We'd definitely have breakfast at Café Brazil, which has the best bacon in the universe - seriously. We'd probably hit the mesquite rodeo and trader's village, a giant outdoor flea market that has everything from those bizarre Mexican pointy boots to live chickens and goats.
We'd end the evening at Erykah Badu's club, the Black Forest Theater. Because that's where all the superstars and really hip cats end up AFTER all the after parties. If we're lucky, we might be graced by an appearance from DJ Lo Down Loretta Brown herself (Ms. Badu's alter ego) and she will school the boys on how to not give one single fuck about chasing trends. After all is said and done, we'd try to make it back to the big glossy W hotel but we'd probably pass out on the sidewalk at Dealy plaza before we got there. Not to worry, hot fresh Shipley donuts at daybreak sop up the alcohol in your system quite nicely.
Miaveni: I would show them a place called "God's Country" and introduce them to a young man who chopped the head off Goliath.
Colleen Schutte: Bono's penetrating plea "O Lord open my lips that I might show forth thy praise" from the 2002 Super Bowl Halftime remains etched on my soul for the way dark beauty can become so indelibly engraved upon the heart of an experience that it's infinitely felt, but never finally said. Such was the power U2 would wield providing solace, perspective, and hope to a nation wounded by fear.
My hometown of Tinley Park, Illinois, held a tribute unveiling a section of one of the beams from the World Trade Center acquired by our firefighters who served at ground zero. A community memorial begging to be shared with Bono and the boys.
I was startled by my surge of emotions, prompting a neighbor to wonder why we're celebrating. Suddenly I realized that the beam I was compelled to touch, the events of 9/11, and the message embodied through their music in it's wake were inseparably entwined. Epic performances during the Elevation Tour reaffirmed to the collective psyche that love, and the inherent dignity and resilience of the human spirit are all that we can't leave behind. Meaning is formed, love is learned in the chaos and carnage of our flawed existence. Epiphanies that courage is grace under pressure, hallelujah means surrendering the will, and praying the Psalms is an unfathomable well saturated the canvas of my soul. A decade on, "I found grace inside a sound…".
(c) @U2/individual contributors above, 2012.