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Column: off the record ..., vol. 16-739

@U2, September 04, 2016
By: Sherry Lawrence


off the record, from @U2

In the spirit of honesty, I procrastinated about writing this week’s column because last time it was my turn to do OTR, we were all delighted with the Kygo surprise of “The Best Thing,” resulting in a rewrite. I secretly hoped for something similar this week, but it appears the only thing that popped up was a new game called “where in the world is Adam Clayton?”

Anyone following Adam’s posts on Friday across social media would have noticed he was traveling around London. With a little digging and a lot of help from some familiar with the location, we learned it appears he was around Hackney Wick, famous for its arts community. Unfortunately, Vittoria Wharf, which houses over 100 artists and small businesses in Hackney Wick, is set to be demolished by developers who wish to put a pedestrian bridge across the canal. The eviction of these artists is slated for Sept. 5. There is strong opposition to seeing the demolition of this community, and if you’d like to add your voice to it, you can visit

The Florida panhandle and the better part of the eastern seaboard of the U.S. are getting hammered with tropical storm Hermine. It wasn’t too long ago that tens of thousands were flooded in Louisiana. There is so much devastation happening at the moment at home and abroad, which is why “Wave of Sorrow” has been on my heart for a while now. It was featured in Steve Stockman’s U2 @ 40 – 40 Songs list. I mentioned it in a recent podcast as one of my favorite non-album U2 tracks. For those unfamiliar, it’s an unreleased tune that came out on The Joshua Tree box set because Bono took 20 years to finish the lyrics. Bono’s explanation of the song’s history included a nod to poet Langston Hughes. The song’s title comes from Hughes’ work “Island”:

Wave of sorrow                ,
Do not drown me now:
I see the island
Still ahead somehow.
I see the island.
And its sands are fair:
Wave of sorrow,
Take me there.

It struck me how much Bono’s lyrics, no matter how disconcerting or depressing they may be, have a hint of hope in them. The use of the Beatitudes in “Wave Of Sorrow” would suggest that there’s blessing in the journey, much like Hughes uses the waves as the journey with the hope of the fair sands of the island.

So, for those of you who are knee-deep (or deeper) in the struggle (literal or metaphorical), take solace in that hope. “Blessed is the spirit that overcomes.”

Our friend Tim Cunningham is on a mission. He is trying to get all of the Achtung Baby ZooTV painted Trabants to Cleveland for the #U240 celebration weekend. If you have one and are willing to have it featured at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame the weekend of Sept. 24-25, please let us know and we’ll pass the info on to Tim. Hemmings Daily has done a great piece about it, and because it’s “the world’s leading classic car news source,” I’m glad to know that the Trabant qualities as a classic car.

As a follow-up from my last column: Mrs. Hogan has received many great and wonderful postcards for her classroom project. There’s still plenty of time to send one to her sixth grade students, so please consider sending one in.

Congratulations are in order to our own U2 professor and current Crystal Ballroom guru, Tim Neufeld! He is adding to the U2 bibliographic family with his book U2: Rock ‘n’ Roll To Change The World, slated for release April 15, 2017. If you’re enjoying his four-part series on “U240: Have U2 Changed The World?,” then this might be the book for you. As if that wasn’t enough, U2 Conference director and fellow @U2 staffer Scott Calhoun is one of the book’s editors. I may be biased, but I can’t wait for this book to come out.  

And finally … Happy Anniversary to Adam & Mariana! They are celebrating their third anniversary today.

‘Til next time …

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/Lawrence, 2016.

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