Introspect : A Sort of Homecoming (Bono in Atlanta) *

January 29, 2004

by Debbie Kreuser

I had the great honor to be in Atlanta during the King Holiday weekend(Jan. 16-19) to participate in, and be witness to, many of the various activities sponsored by the King Center to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.

U2 Fan Profile : Angela Harlem *

January 15, 2004

By Devlin Smith

We know each other’s avatars and sigs by heart, share jokes, go off on tangents together, but how well do we really know our fellow Interferencers? To help all of us get to know one another a little bit better, we are featuring profiles of board members.

This installment features Forum Super Moderator Angela Harlem.

Your real name (first name only is okay) and screen name?
Anna/Angela Harlem.

What’s the story behind your screen name?
My mum was having a fine time mocking me in a "Rattle & Hum" phase and picked on aspects of Bono to try to rile me. One was his elocution in songs such as "Angel of Harlem" which she claimed sounded like Angel A’ Harlem, which soon became Angela Harlem. It kinda stuck.

Why did you join Interference?
I had recently got the internet connected and one of the first things I searched for was U2. Interference was the first site that took my interest and I have lived here ever since.

When did you join Interference?
I think it was about September 2000, not Dec 1969 or Jan 1970 (depending on your timezone) as this profile suggests!

How many hours a day or week do you spend on Interference?
I spend a few hours most days on here. I have a terrible addiction.

What are some of your favorite Interference haunts?
Free Your Mind, It’s Official, Lemonade Stand, Zoo Confessionals.

Why did you want to become a forum administrator?
Interference has gone through many transitions. Watching with everyone else as the site evolved was exciting, but being given the opportunity of more actively being a part of it was too good to turn down!

What’s your favorite thing about being a forum administrator?
It’s more about helping build this than anything else I think. Watching it grow, being able to help make those changes to continue that. It’s a lot of fun overall.

What is your earliest memory of U2?
Band Aid ’84 was the first memory but I was too young to appreciate it at the time unfortunately. The first time I paid them any attention was after watching the "All I Want is You" video on a TV show called Video Hits.

When did you first consider yourself a U2 fan?
Somewhere between 1988 and 1991. By the time "Achtung Baby" was released, I was well and truly hooked.

Why are you a U2 fan?
First and foremost is the music. Then as I aged and looked outside my own cocoon I realised there was a lot more to these fellas than just great music. Most other bands don’t hold my interest outside the music the way U2 do.

What is your favorite U2 moment?
Easily ZooTV ’93. I had never been so excited about going to a concert as I was for that. Someone somewhere made a mistake with the section our seats were in and the whole block was ushered down to our own fenced off area at the front of the stage. The view was completely blocked from where we would have been and I was so grateful that it had been noticed and more than rectified! We had learned Adam was indeed ‘fit’ enough to play and it was one more excruciatingly exciting high after another until finally they came out and absolutely blew me away. We caught Zoo Dollars, I got the cup Bono was drinking from that night and also Edge’s and Bono’s attention thanks to a screaming friend I was with who has a voice that could guide ships in the foggy night. And of course I have a now worn VHS to remind me whenever I feel nostalgic. An incredible night.

Are there any lessons or insights you’ve gained from the band and its music, or is there a tough time that U2 helped you get through?
Looking back I think it’s hard to say what I am more aware of thanks to the band and fellow fans, but I definately have more awareness of certain things which are linked back to U2. Music in itself has always been a form of therapy for me, to either calm or uplift and with the familiarity of U2 it has become a constant. Like a comfortable old pair of slippers.

Do you have a U2 dream or fantasy?
I used to think how awesome it would be to tour with them. I’d even have done their laundry.

What is your favorite U2 song, album and video?
Song is probably "Running To Stand Still," album is Achtung Baby, video is "All I Want Is You."

Review : Book : Get Up Off Your Knees: Preaching the U2 Catalog *

January 10, 2004

By Rabab T. Ahmed

Editors: Raewynne J. Whiteley and Beth Maynard
Publisher: Cowley Publications

U2: Prophets of A New Century?

No matter how one defines a prophet, at its basest understanding is an individual bent on purporting the message of faith, whichever faith that may be, whichever God may be supplicated to. The prophet brings people into realization, and that is the most important aspect in such a person–he or she is able to bring others into a realization of life, reality, religion, and probably most importantly, of our need to be better human beings, to live a peaceful life in tranquility alongside our brothers and sisters, both those of the same and of differing faiths. Whether or not we categorize one of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll bands as prophets, their works can be listed as something deserving of due praise. The messages that U2 sets forth, the examples they portray, and the words that they preach, are just as valuable.

The effects of such messages are displayed in "Get Up Off Your Knees," a compilation of sermons based on U2 lyrics that come from the heart of genuine people, who feel genuine feelings that are sparked by a strong, inner belief of faith and goodness, and fueled by the striking and jarring lyrics of U2. Compiled by Episcopal priests and long-time U2 fans Raewynne Whiteley and Beth Maynard, the sermons tackle the difficult yet engaging task of combining popular culture with faith. The book is sectioned off into six parts, each contemplating a particular aspect of real life and faith, with short introductions to by Sarah Dylan Breuer. In addition, at the end of this unique collection are three appendices to help readers tie together pop culture and preaching, provide a study for adults of pursuing God with U2, and even includes a brief history lesson of U2 for those unfortunate novices who have yet to be fully acquainted with the exalted rock group.

Faced with the assignment of reviewing this book, I had a few moments of uncertainty as, being a Muslim, I was not sure how perceptive I would be in dealing with sermons regarding the Christian faith. However, I took the assignment, confident that if nothing else, this would prove to be a learning opportunity for me that would doubtless benefit me in the times we find ourselves in today. Halfway through the introduction, I was sold, not on the Christian faith but on the belief in oneness, the belief in a better world, the belief in peace on earth, the beliefs in the words of U2 and the affect they have on simple human beings. It is simply astounding that their music has had, and continues to have, such a vast impact, that the songs themselves have become beacons of light, pushing people toward a harmony in their faith. This collection made me further realize that it is indeed true that no matter what religion one follows, the general idea is the same. If one follows his or her faith according to the most important teachings he or she will become a better person, and just as these basics can be found in my religion, so can they be found within the Christian faith. In their attempt to make this world a better place and in order to make a difference, U2 draw upon their religion and have been able to perceive that through this faith people can find the internal as well as external peace that has become a neglected necessity in our world today. The topics that are explored in this unique book range from war, anger and hatred to peace and love, all the pieces drawn from songs of U2, bleeding meanings from the songs, laying them out before us to prod and pry and make sense out of.

Essentially, "Get Up Off Your Knees" is a book about hope, a hope that things will be different, a hope that one can make a difference in this world, a hope that the strength of Christianity will prevail for these people. The topics perused are especially relevant for today’s world as it is a time interspersed with war, hatred, and an almost total lack of consideration for others. Thus the importance of hope, of love, and of reconciliation as discussed were some that particularly struck out in my mind as these are recurrent themes that seem to be forgotten in everyday lives. There were a few songs that seemed to me to be consistently surfacing, and almost never wavering in their meanings. The worldliness of "The Playboy Mansion," the bloody desperation of "Sunday Bloody Sunday," the bright hope of "Walk On" and "Where the Streets Have No Name," and the broken but knowing belief in "I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For" are some emotions that appeared over and over again, yet constantly conjoined with the same gleam of faith and meaning. As one of the preachers writes, changing the world is exactly what U2 is about, justly spoken, I believe. Not only do these men sing about these things but they live accordingly, they truly practice what they preach, combining their "cosmic joys"–life, love and God. The grace they sing about is not only mere poetry, but a practice of life for the bandmates as well.

I hope my interpretations of these works- or rather, my universal spin on them does not offend any who find my likening of the Christian faith to my own religion to be insulting. My intention was not a comparison, per se, but a glorified realization, a just hope for a oneness that I believe U2 themselves would be proud of. "Get Up Off Your Knees" has made me understand that music does not simply influence people, but music such as U2′s inspires and creates honesty and virtuousness in human beings, whether of Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, Buddhist, or any other faith, people who are worthy of this world and, hopefully, of the hereafter.