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"I just distrust people who want to change the world, but who don't want to change themselves." — Bono

Column: off the record…, vol. 12-514


off the record, from @U2

Fans at a Glen Hansard concert earlier this week got a nice surprise when Bono showed up to perform a duet of "The Auld Triangle" with him to close out the show. If you missed the videos that captured it, we have posted a few here.

This surprise appearance immediately reminded me of the time Brandon Flowers took the stage on the Vertigo tour to sing "In A Little While" with Bono. I was lucky enough to be in the audience that night in Las Vegas, and I remember my heart pounding out of control when he started singing.

So... what are your best "surprise appearance" memories? Post your answers in the @U2 forum.

Last week we released the first batch of results from our 2012 U2 Fan Survey. None of the responses shocked me (I've studied these surveys religiously since we started doing them), but I'll have to admit, I was somewhat surprised about the number of fans who have never purchased a (RED) or Edun product.

Nearly 86 percent say they haven't purchased Edun clothing; 55.4 percent say they haven't tried (RED).

Why so low?

I suppose folks who don't like the (RED) branding (or quite simply don't like the color red) may not be up for purchasing products that reflect this design. And Edun has always been a luxury brand, so the price points for its items probably scare some shoppers away.

But I would encourage those who may want to reconsider their choices to take a look at current products in both places. For example, (RED) now sells a bracelet that's only $5; Edun has T-shirts and accessories that are significantly less expensive than their designer apparel.

On another note, the survey answer that made me the happiest was the one about causes. Over 58 percent of survey respondents mentioned that U2 had inspired them to join an organization or become active in some cause or campaign. I can't think of any other group of entertainers who have had such an impact on the greater good.

It's always a pleasure writing for @U2, but I'll have to say, that joy is heightened when we receive positive feedback about our work (especially the subjective stuff). The blistering responses I received after leaving "Spanish Eyes" off of my U2 Lists: Top 5 Bono Howls piece (intentionally -- because he screams vs. howls) almost caused me to throw in the U2 Lists towel for good, but thankfully I mustered the courage to have at it last month and scripted the piece about Essential U2 books. I'm humbled to say I've received a number of emails and tweets thanking me for recommending certain titles, or telling me how they'd picked up one of the books because they read my list. I can't speak for other staffers, but it means a lot to me when folks take the time to send us a note about something they enjoyed.

Speaking of U2 Lists, if you haven't already read Sherry Lawrence's timely piece on the mom-is-muse topic, I highly recommend you take a look. After all, today is Mother's Day!

And finally, in honor of the holiday, I'd like to offer a sincere "thank you" to all the moms out there for their love, dedication and wisdom. In addition, I'd like to extend that measure of gratitude to the aunts, sisters, grandmothers and friends who act as surrogate mommies or offer other mothers some much-needed support. The world owes a great deal to all of you.

© @U2/Kokkoris, 2012.