"Someone wrote in a bathroom 'God is dead: Nietzche.' And someone wrote after that 'Nietzche is dead: God.' I love that."
Column: off the record ..., vol. 16-729
June 26, 2016
Greetings from Warwickshire, a county in the heart of England, a country of the United Kingdom, within the geographical territory of Europe, an area of land mass on Earth, a planet within the Milky Way solar system, a relatively insignificant part of an ever-expanding universe. I'm Aaron Govern, a U2 fan with dual nationalities -- Irish and British -- and two passports -- Irish and British -- and since Friday 24th June 06.01 GMT, two identities in Europe: one in the EU, and one in the non-EU. Talk about an identity crisis!
Not sure why I wrote that? Did something happen in the last few days and weeks?
It sure did. Lots and lots of new U2 news, in fact, not just in the last days but also in recent weeks. Bono giving interviews, Edge giving interviews, Adam giving interviews and Larry giving interviews. (Spoiler alert: One of these four points may not be necessarily factually correct in terms of days and weeks. I think you probably know which one ... and I'm sorry, you don't win a prize for getting it right!)
I'm very pleased to see that the next U2 album does seem to be gaining impetus in its recording. My hunch is that it seems increasingly likely that we may get a new album later this year. Historically, the music industry tends to focus on releasing albums in the months leading up to Christmas when the shopping season is in earnest. But in modern times of streaming subscription models, I'm not sure it matters anymore. Who knows, perhaps U2 may surprise us and give it away for free? Though that does ring a bell -- I may need to check that, as I think that may have happened before! I'm sure the internet will give me some detail, and if they did do that, then opinions will be made known in a rational, nonhysterical way, mainly via social media. (Note to self -- I'll get on with that later just as soon as I manage to firmly remove my tongue from my cheek….)
It's been a good weekend in the U.K. for music fans because the 2016 Glastonbury Festival took place. By the time you read this, three days of leading artists representing various musical styles and genres will have ended. Attendees will have had a great opportunity to relax and enjoy whatever they wish. The audience freely choose to watch -- or not watch -- literally hundreds and hundreds of artists. I love Glastonbury for that reason, and last attended in 2011, the year U2 played. It's always a very pleasant atmosphere, and a great place to share existing friendships, make new friends, and be comfortable in the knowledge that your choice will be popular and unpopular. In 2011, I went with my wife and best friend, and all three of us listened to lots of different artists -- some we had seen before, and some we hadn't even heard of, let alone seen, whether we split off to watch different artists on our own or in pairs or together. Didn't make any difference to me that they didn't want to come with me to watch the performance of U.K. female singer-songwriter Anna Calvi at the John Peel stage, whilst they watched Rumer at The Pyramid Stage. Didn't fall out with my wife over it, and my best friend is still my best friend.
On that theme, I quite enjoy the basic right of having an opinion, and someone else having their opinion, as long as we don't fall out over it unnecessarily, and we both stay safe as a result of our opinions. It's good for us, our own health and well-being and those of others. And that's why it's sad to see that the internet has become the gathering of so much vitriol, usually for the subjects that are generally seen as important and matter -- for instance, the way we wish to choose to live, hold certain values and morals, our religious beliefs, etc., etc. Even more so, perhaps, for the things that are generally seen as not that important, and actually not really matter in the main, like your favorite sports team, your favorite band, your favorite author and so on. It never ceases to amaze me the vitriol that we can have for each other on such trivial issues as the release of a new album for free by our favorite artist. Go on any forum, including our own here at this website, and I'll suspect that you know what I mean. It can be a very strange world -- real and virtual -- that we all live in. (My opinion; I hope you don't fall out with me, ironically.)
We all have different views, we all have different opinions – and we must respect that in a democratic world there will always be a winner and a loser. Someone will always be disappointed. And actually, we change our opinions from time to time as we go through life. My beliefs and values have changed as I have gotten older, and I'm sure they'll change again. It's normal.
As you may or may not be aware, I have had the opportunity to vote in the recent EU referendum in the U.K.. It was always going to be close, and in percentage terms was as close as you could expect. The U.K. has had different referendums in recent years and for several decades -- it's nothing new. What is disappointing is the vitriol against the three types of decisions that up to 47 million people of the planet were asked to make in the referendum -- those who supported Remain, those who supported Leave, and those who, I guess, decided to not vote at all. It's a democracy, and whatever decision is made, we all need to be calm and get on with our lives. Some of us will have voted for something we didn't support a week, a year, a decade ago. But we make our decisions in the here and now. We will often flip-flop our decision-making and views quite often in life from time to time. I don't want to labour this point, but take time to watch this short video, a view from someone we know showing their view about the EU in 1993, and then read this article expressing their view in 2016. Makes you think, doesn't it? Views and opinions change all the time.
Anyway, getting back to life in general, there has been much excitement in my household of late. We have a new puppy, a boy Labrador called Ollie. He's cute, and I know he likes me ... or maybe that's just because his affection for me means he will know I'll give him yet another food treat!!! He's still a bit young at 10 weeks old, but each day he's learning something new. And I swear this morning, I've played "Volcano" by U2 and he seemed to run around the house in much excitement as soon as Adam's bassline kicked in. I'm sure he loves it! But it's OK by me if he doesn't. Won't hold it against him. He's delighted with the dog tags from the Innocence + Experience Live In Paris Super Deluxe Box Set. I knew I'd find a use for them….
And on that note – enjoy this, young Ollie! Good boy! Anyone else reading this can watch it as well, by the way!
Have a safe week. See you again.
Any opinions expressed in this column are those of the individual author and do not necessarily represent the views of @U2 as a whole.
(c) @U2, 2016.