Dancing With The Devil ch. 24 - U2 Feedback

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Old 03-27-2011, 07:48 PM   #1
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Dancing With The Devil ch. 24

Time for the next installment. Wow, was I ever confused writing this! I tried to make everything factually correct but there's one thing- the videoshoot actually took place in Berlin, not Strasbourg. Ah well. I own artistic lisence, which is my disclaimer. Originally I wrote this as Paris, but I figured it couldn't be too different...
Off with the horns, on with the show...

My body is still shaking by the time I reach backstage. I can swear MacPhisto’s kiss is still imprinted on my cheek. I push through the crewmen backstage and knock on Bono’s dressing room door. He presently opens it and I stride in with a backward glance, making sure no one is following me in.
“Hey,” I say.
“Good to see you, Angel,” he answers. By now Bono has transformed back into himself- exchanged his red and gold suit for a more sensible attire of gray and black- but his body hasn’t recovered from the performance, and neither has mine. He’s still sweating from being under the bright lights, and his eyes are wide and wild. I notice that he hasn’t taken out MacPhisto’s earring or removed his ponytail, which makes me foolishly happy.
I close the space between us and lay my hand on his arm. It’s not fair for someone to be so irresistible-I can’t stop touching the man. The area I’ve positioned my fingers is right between his wrist and the beginning of his sleeve. I gently stroke Bono’s arm hair, feeling a tremor run over his skin.
“You’re a little too… close for my comfort.”
Shame bites into me, and I pull away and search Bono’s blue eyes. He drags a hand along his face.
“Do you get tired after a show?” I ask. “How do you sing those songs- Love Is Blindness, With Or Without You… every night?”
Bono eyes me, and then glances down at his arm, looking at the exact place I’ve touched it. I wonder if he can feel the electricity too, or if he’s thinking of something else.
“It’s hard,” he admits. “Those are some pretty powerful songs we’ve written. With or Without You is the worst. I’ve seen you out there each night in tears… it’s amazing to look out and realize, these people are feeling your emotions. We are all one and the same in the music.” He smiles at his unintentional lyrics reference. “Something resonates. It’s hard to get down from that high when you leave the stage.”
“Being a character helps you, doesn’t it? Like The Fly or MacPhisto?”
“Well… Yes. It’s… it’s quite frightening, almost, playing someone else. The lines between, say, MacPhisto and I become blurred. I don’t know if it’s the dark side in me that I’m revealing, or the good side in him?... But to sing is to take away the pain. So instead of dealing with it myself I saddle it to a character of mine, because it’s easier that way.”
“And it’s not your pain anymore,” I say. It never was to begin with, either. MacPhisto’s dilemma is one of a kind. Funny, but it seems the song With or Without You was written for the man, even though surely he wasn’t conceived during the time of Bono’s writing.
Bono looks like he’s about to say something, but starts at a knock on the door.
“Hey Bono, let us in,” Adam calls from outside. “We’re lonely!”
“Coming.” He sighs and makes a move away from the door. “Angel of Holland, before you go I have something to give you.”
I stare at him with wide eyes. “What?” It’s not going to be payment for my speech, so what does Bono mean?
He bends over and picks something off the floor- it’s a long white case, the size of a record. Suddenly I have my suspicions.
Bono gives me the gift with a smile and opens the door. Adam, Edge, and Larry come tumbling in.
“What are we doing tonight? Been days since I went to a good party.” Adam lights a cigarette, and I tear away from my preoccupation with the record to glare at him. Doesn’t he know that that smoke smells awful?
“We’ll not disappoint,” Bono ensures him. “And maybe you can find someone to take home with you.”
Adam looks hurt that Bono even suggested that. “I’m not single anymore.”
“Doesn’t mean you can’t cheat,” Larry says, receiving a glare from Adam.
I wave Edge over with a smile from ear to ear. “Look what Bono gave me!”
Someone’s scrawled words on the back of the record in black marker. It’s hard to make out the words in Bono’s indecipherable handwriting, but with Edge’s help I read the tracklisting:
1. Zooropa I & Zooropa II
2. Babyface
3. Numb
4. Lemon
5. Stay (Faraway, So Close)
6. Daddy’s Gonna Pay For Your Crashed Car
7. Some Days Are Better Than Others
8. The First Time
9. Dirty Day
10. The Wanderer
“Why is Babble-Zooropa now called Zooropa I and II?” I ask.
“Because it felt too obvious to use “babble,”” Bono answers me.
I hug the album to my chest. “This is the first copy?”
“Yeah, we haven’t even released it yet,” Edge says. “This is a present from the whole band, Marieke. We knew you would be the first one interested.”
“You’re right; I can’t wait to play it!”
“You’re welcome,” Edge says with eyebrows raised. He laughs as I hug him and the rest of the band. Adam is eager to receive my embrace, and Bono squeezes me as tightly as he did on stage tonight. Larry’s arms are reserved, as if he’d like to distance himself from me. I muse on that a little, but not for long.
“Let’s go out!” Bono exclaims. If he was a child, he would be jumping up and down.
“Let’s go to the overground,” Edge says, and, laughing, the other band members give their assent.
“Are you coming with us, Angel of Holland?” Bono asks me. I internally debate whether I want to go back to the hotel and enjoy my new album or follow the band to a club. The latter seems more preferable- delaed gratification makes everything sweeter.
So we leave, a rowdily sung song filling the spaces between us- “And I have no compass, and I have no map. And I have no reason, no reason to get back!” I laugh and try to join in- they obviously know the words better than I do- as Bono shouts “Let’s go to the overground! Get your head out of the mud, baby!” It’s an interesting choice for tonight’s soundtrack, but it’ll do.
Later at the German club, Bono pushes through the dancers grooving it up on the floor to reach me, his face soaked in sweat. I’m sitting alone at the bar, enjoying my first and only drink for the night, and welcome his arrival. Edge comes a moment after and orders a drink. His eyes are whirling.
Bono’s particularly jovial and kids around with the bartender in his version of German. I choose to wait for him to settle down before talking to him, and strike up a conversation with Edge instead. The guitarist has taken his hair out of a ponytail and it falls to his shoulders. Mine, on the other hand, is tumbling down my back.
“You got to be the girl on stage tonight, Marieke,” he points out. I roll my eyes and say, “It’s the second time for me.”
“So it is,” Edge agrees, remembering. “I guess it’s hardly fair that Bono chose you tonight…”
“They don’t need MacPhisto,” I mutter, seeing girls in the Devil’s arms in my mind’s eye with a reddish sort of tint.
“Why does he dance with them?”
Edge peers at Bono before continuing. The singer is still chatting it up with the bartender. It doesn’t seem likely that he’ll notice us. Edge answers my question- “I think it’s a way of expressing what he feels for the crowd- or rather what MacPhisto feels, in this case. Bono loves the fans’ attention and it’s kind of a way of giving back to them.”
“But it separates them,” I point out. “Every female fan will go home mad that they weren’t pulled up.” Unless they had no chance, of course.
“It’s not my bright idea,” Edge says, and glances fondly over at Bono. The singer becomes aware that we were talking about him, and says “Hey Edge, who asked you?”
“No one,” Edge answers, smiling a little because we both know that Bono has no clue what we were discussing. Bono shrugs. “Let’s go dance, Angel!” I hop out of the seat, a generous smile on my face.
“You’re still married; don’t go too far with Marieke now!” Edge warns, half-joking.
Bono gives him a dirty look. “And you, my friend, are still single. Here, take Marieke, why don’t you.” He nudges me towards Edge, who doesn’t seem all too eager to ance.
I wrap my arms around Edge and we move to the beat of the music. He’s an easier partner to swing with than Bono. I wonder briefly if I can catch Bono’s attention by showing off our dancing skills. Maybe he’ll grow envious and take me back.
“You’re single?” I ask Edge to spark conversation again. A mischievous fantasy of pairing him and Lina together rises in my brain.
He sighs. “Yeah, I parted with my wife two… three years ago… that wasn’t easy, let me tell you.” He gazes over my shoulder at something I can’t see.
Suddenly feeling embarrassed that I even brought it up, I try to move the topic off Edge’s separation. “You’re friends with Morleigh, right? How do you think of her?”
“Well, first of all, you mean to say “what,”” he laughs. “And she’s gorgeous. She was brave to join the tour where she only knew a few of the people working for us, and now she finally feels more comfortable with tour life. I do love to spend time with her. It’s quite a change from hanging with the band.”
He speaks about Morleigh with slight reverence, and I pray for great things between the two of them. We spin back by the bar, and I catch sight of Bono’s handsome face before the throng of people closes in around us. I slip my hands into Edge’s back pockets.
His hazel eyes stare down into mine as we sway. “I’ve got curls like her,” I hear myself telling him.
His gaze softens around the edges. “Yes, you do indeed,” he remarks, and tweaks my hair. I smile broadly, moving my hips and hoping Bono is watching. I steer him closer to the bar.
“Can you kiss me?” I ask when Bono’s face is in view.
Edge looks puzzled. “What are you talking about?”
Bono’s eyes are burning blue flames of holes into me. “Just do it,” I mutter, shoving my hands even further down in his pockets.
Still brilliantly confused, Edge gives me a peck on the cheek.
The song booming over the speakers ends, and I pull away from Edge. His hands curl around my arms, as gentle with me as he would be to a guitar, and release me. I’m almost afraid to look over at Bono.
I don’t have to do that. Hands clap my shoulders, and an Irish voice blurs into my ears, “Getting it on with the Angel, are you, The Edge? I knew you’d find someone tonight!”
“Let’s not tell Lina about this, alright Marieke?” Edge murmurs. Though it’s a joke, his face is apologetic.
I nod and twist to look at Bono. His mouth is curved upward, hands pushing his sloppy black hair away from his face. I spy no trace of jealousy of any kind in his happy expression.
“Let’s get the DJ to spin our record!” he suggests, laughing.
I mouth Tipsy? to Edge, who agrees with a nod of his head. I don’t see any harm in playing Zooropa, though, so I go to the bar and look under the chair where I’ve set it down.
Bono’s expression grows worried. “You haven’t lost it, have you? Tell me you haven’t lost it!”
I successfully locate it under the bar and hold it up to Bono. “Here you go.”
He exhales. “Thank God. Maybe the public isn’t ready for it yet.”
“The album’s name is Zooropa, right?” I ask.
“No. It’s called The New LP. Why do you think we’ve been referring to it as that?”
“Stop being silly,” I mutter. “Edge?”
Edge puts his arm around Bono. “Yeah, I’ve told you that before, haven’t I? The album is called Zooropa.” He dips his head, murmuring, “So much for Squeaky, then…”
“I don’t like that name,” I groan.
“Well, I do rather like the line in Zooropa that it comes from. How does it go, Bono?” Edge looks at him.
Without any more prompting, Bono sings “We’re mild and green and squeaky clean!”
“See, that’s the one,” Edge says.
I lift one delicate eyebrow. “Bono, I have a proposition for you.”
“What is it, love?”
“Why don’t you just call Zooropa I & II Zooropa?”
He lifts his own eyebrow at me, impressed. “That, my Angel, is an extraordinary idea.”
In the morning I am unhappily uprooted from Berlin and shoved onto a plane headed for Strasbourg, France. I scowl at the leather of the seat in front of me and try to ignore Eric’s chatter, without much luck. But I LIKED Berlin…
“But Strasbourg is beautiful,” Eric answers, his face alight. “It’s… oh, I don’t know. There’s no way to describe this city. And they have the best food!”
“Did I say that out loud?” I murmur, reaching beneath my feet. The coolness of the record case hits my fingers pleasantly, and I grin silently.
“What’s that you have, Marieke?” Eric asks.
“Look, Eric.” I show him the back of the album. “Bono gave me a record.”
He reads the words out loud, squinting through Bono’s handwriting. “Zooropa… Babyface… Numb… Lemon… God, Marieke, is this what I think it is?!”
“It is,” I say. “It’s the new album. Zooropa.”
Eric sits back hard and runs his fingers through his rusty hair. “God!”
My thoughts exactly.
Once we get to Strasbourg, I take my hotel room keys quickly and scan for some kind of turntable in my room. Of course, the owners of the hotel didn’t factor in my need for music, or anyone else’s for that matter. I go downstairs clutching the record in both hands and sort my way through the mass of entourage to ask the hotel worker behind the desk if he knows where I can find a record player. It takes a few tries, but I finally understand that there is a turntable in the hotel lobby- the man points it out to me, and my head nods- but I’ll have to wait for everyone to leave before I can play my album.
I decide it’s not a bad idea to get some rest. Strasbourg and Berlin are not separated by time, and yet I feel exhausted. I stretch out on the bed in my room and call my parents. They’re delighted to hear my tales of touring with U2, and we finish our chat with a request from my mother to ask if I can go home for a few days. That’s not a bad idea.
My snooze is cut short by Eric knocking at my door. With a jolt, I realize it’s dinnertime. I join him and the usual group and we go out to eat. All the time I’m itching to be back at the hotel where I can play Zooropa.
When we return, I say goodnight to Eric who hugs me and goes up to his room- maybe to recover from the fun we had tonight. I myself only stop by my room for a few minutes, and leave with U2’s album. Locking the door behind me, I ride the elevator down to the lobby and ask the receptionist if I can play music now. He smiles and answers in French, which I understand to be a go-ahead.
I carefully set the needle on the record and watch it spin. Slowly but surely, the babble fills the air. I sit down in a chair close to the turntable and wrap my arms around myself as Zooropa begins.
She’s gonna dream of the world she wants to live in
She’s gonna dream out loud
Dream out loud
Dream out loud
Without hearing any of the other songs, I can tell that this is going to be the best the album has to offer. Already my current favorite song, New Year’s Day, has stepped down a notch for this anthem to take place.
And now a chiming sound like bells comes in, announcing the next song. I flip over the album cover- Babyface. The vocals are layered in two, and I gasp at how the lyrics sound-
Watching your bright blue eyes in the freeze frame
I’ve seen them so many times I feel like I must be your best friend
The lyrics kind of screw off from there, but I can’t get over the simple accuracy of the first two lines. It sounds exactly like me and Bono- how I’d watch interviews, music videos, and the Rattle And Hum movie to catch a glimpse of those blue eyes and learn what the band was doing now. And I have blue eyes myself…
After that, a fractured guitar cuts in. It plays up and down notes before cutting to the lyrics- Don’t move don’t talk out of time don’t think don’t worry everything’s just fine… The voice sounds slightly off, and I realize it’s not Bono singing. Or in this case, chanting. I guess that it must be Edge on lead vocals- he has such a strange voice in this song! It bores me numb. Oh, that’s funny- the song is actually called Numb. All the weird noises in the background assault me in a bad way, unlike the intro to Zooropa.
Once the annoying song is over- good grief, I thought that would never end- there’s a pause, and now four beats are hit. An odd, synthesized sound comes in, something glittery, almost rainbow colored in my mind. A bassline comes thumping in subtly, and someone sings in falsetto. The shimmery song has caught my full attention. This is going to be good.
See through in the sunlight
She wore lemon
But never in the daylight
She’s gonna make you cry
She’s gonna make you whisper and moan
And when you’re dry
She draws the water from the stone
I’ve never heard a song sung entirely in falsetto, by U2 or by anyone else. I like the song in a weird sort of way. It doesn’t make much sense, but then again, it doesn’t need to. The music is lonely, tugging at something within me.
And I feel like I’m drifting, drifting, drifting from the shore
And I feel like I’m swimming out to her
Midnight is where the day begins
Midnight is where the day begins
Midnight is where the day begins
Midnight is where the day begins
Oh, is that so now? I could have told you that. But the words are sung so hauntingly, calmingly, that it takes me a minute to realize how obvious the lyrics are.
The song puts my soul at rest, and pleasantly fades out with She is the dreamer… she’s imagination… she wore lemon…
I wonder how Bono would react if I wore yellow tomorrow.
Then comes Stay, the song I chose for the fifth track. It pulls at my heart with the grief-ridden lyrics. I can tell I’m going to spend a lot more time playing this, and hang on to every word.
When the song is over, I go to flip the record onto its second side. I note gladly that everyone in the lobby seems to be listening intently. I set the needle down gently, and a fanfare begins.
You’re a precious stone
You’re out on your own
You know everyone in the world
But you feel alone
In my mind’s eye, a strange bombardment of images arrives- Bono dressed in MacPhisto attire, prowling around the stage singing this song. I check the title- Daddy’s Gonna Pay For Your Crashed Car, a name with a hint of mystery and malice. Suddenly I know that MacPhisto has got to sing it live.
The next track is called Some Days Are Better Than Others, and it barely makes an impression on me. This is partly because I don’t like the words. But the bassline’s nice, you have to give it that.
Now a piano rises and falls, softly fading in the next song. I’m not sure what I was prepared for next, but this wasn’t it.
I have a lover
A lover like no other
She got soul, soul, soul, sweet soul
And she teach me how to sing
Shows me colors when there’s none to see
Gives me hope when I can’t believe
That for the first time-
I feel loved.
I was right- everyone in the lobby is staring at me, in a way I’m unaccustomed to. It’s not because they think I’m beautiful- it’s because the song is amazing.
The First Time starts out a bit too sentimental, but towards the end it swells so beautifully that soft tears come to my eyes. I groan suddenly. Not this again…
The next song is called Dirty Day and it distracts me from giving in to my emotions. The bassline, the beat behind it, tells me there is evil along the way. When Bono begins to sing, I tremble pleasurably. The lyrics shake me to the core. I was right- Bono is a villain in this song.
I had the starring role
I was the bad guy who walked out
It’s confusing, these lyrics. I don’t understand half the words he sings. Maybe later I can get Bono to explain it for me.
When Dirty Day ends with a bang- not dissimilar from the song Exit on the Joshua Tree album- a funky, grooving beat comes in. I roll my eyes and wait for Johnny Cash.
He sings deeply, and I make a face. The people listening to the album in the lobby with me don’t seem to care for it too much either. I don’t like the tune of this song, the words, or the voice- way to end the album with a clunker, U2.
The music in the song is the only enjoyable part. Now it’s drawing to a close, and I hear a familiar howl over the end- Bono reassuring me that he can still sing. Good. Now comes the silence.
The album has finished, and I’m drained of energy. Only one album, Achtung Baby, has done that to me before. I lazily get up and go to the receptionist, asking him in my poor French if I can leave the record on the player for later use. There’s going to be some serious listening over tomorrow.
I am just figuring out what s answer is when an alarm goes off. It’s shrill and hurts my ears. The receptionist’s face goes white, and he blurts something that I assume means- FIRE!
Frantically I rush over to the turntable. I don’t smell smoke yet, but it must be coming. If there’s anything I want to salvage, it has to be the album.
The beeping grows louder as I near the record player. “Someone turn off that damn alarm!” I shout in Dutch. I throw the needle off the still spinning record, and just like that- the beeping is gone.
Whirling around, I search for any sign of flames. Why is everyone just standing there? Why aren’t they running to safety-
And then it clicks. I peer down at the record in my hand. A sheepish look crosses my face.
The receptionist says something that I can work out the meaning of. It’s a definite NO to playing the album again.
I hastily slip Zooropa back into its case and head upstairs, feeling small.
My first morning in Strasbourg begins with a knock on my door. I’m barely awake and yet I go to answer it, pushing my hair back from my face. Eric stands outside, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, contrasting directly with my sleep-fuzzed brain. He must have had coffee…
“What do you want?”
“Letter.” He deposits it in my hand and leaves, seeing as I am not presentable.
I don’t need to look at the address to know who sent it. Tearing open the envelope, a message resents itself- Dear Marieke, it has come to my attention that you are employed with another company. Your roommate Lina has talked to me on the phone. She’s told me that the income she’s receiving from you is stable; however, it is a foreign currency that cannot be deposited into your bank account in Rotterdam.
Lina can exchange the money you are sending for its equivalent in guilders,but that is not her duty. You should be sending her guilders in the first place if your new job is meant to be earning something.
Furthermore, KLM Airlines is functioning well without you. I have hired a volunteer to take your place for the moment. However, I am reluctant to pay her your wages because technically you never gave up your job. We require more information from you. How long is this tour going to last, and will you be making more money from your current occupation than from KLM? If you do have a true job on Zoo TV, your services may no longer be required at KLM. We cannot hold onto your job while you are employed to another source.
Your holiday hours consist of ten more weeks. After that you may have to quit your job on tour, or we will dismiss your services.
The letter is signed by my boss. Great, just great.
Knowing that there’s a deadline on my job suddenly makes it all the more serious. It’s true, I have been sending Lina half the money that Bono’s paid me for the scriptwriting, and it has been in whatever currency is native to the country we’re currently residing in. But I thought Lina could work through that difficulty. Surely banks can exchange currencies? And what business does my boss have calling Lina? She should have told her to fuck off. Well, that probably would have gotten me fired…
And what about my job at KLM? I don’t want that to end- it’s a pretty stable job- but it appears that I’ll have no choice if the tour exceeds ten more weeks.
A sinking feeling creeps into my stomach, telling me that the fun will have to end soon.
I dress carefully before coming downstairs. My idea of wearing yellow today hasn’t flown overnight. In the clothes Lina sent me, surely there must be one lemon shirt…
But after turning up with nothing, I remember that I’ve never owned a yellow article of clothing. It’s not a great color for me. Purple works much better.
It’s time to go shopping today. Maybe I can get Eric or Bono to loan me some francs…
I wrap my silver bracelet around my wrist and put on a clean white shirt. Then I step out the door, fussing with my hair. It’s going to need recurling today. I’ve got serious bedhead.
I leave the letter from KLM under my pillow on the bed.
Downstairs in the lobby, there is no sign of either U2 or the crew. However, I do see Eric going into the breakfast room. I call out to him before he disappears, and Eric turns around eagerly.
“Morning, Marieke.”
“Good morning, Eric. Can I borrow some money?”
His guard flies up. “What do you need it for?”
“I want to buy a shirt.” And I want to buy it before Bono sees me today. A strange need to surprise him by wearing lemon has taken over me. The things I do for this man…
“I’ll come with you if you like,” Eric suggests. “I can pay for what you want.”
“Eric, you don’t have to do that!” How will I pay him back?
“It’s nothing,” he shrugs. “Saves me some time before we get down to the stadium.”
After convincing him to snag some breakfast food for me, we set off to the shops. He won’t allow me to use my money for the bus trip to take us to downtown Starsbourg.
Once we hit the first clothing store, Eric fades into the background as I start my search. Everything yellow catches my eye. Does it fit? Does it look good on me? Do I look like a canary? If so, I’m not buying that.
Eric follows me awkwardly. I can tell shopping in France is not in his element. Especially when I’m shopping just to flirt with someone. But France is a major fashion industry… there’s gotta be something that fits my requirements. And it’s worth not finding what I’m looking for just to have the shopping experience.
Finally it comes down to me and one shirt. It’s fitted to my shape, the perfect size between too small and just right. I’m done growing- a few years ago I would have chosen a shirt two sizes too big- and I want to wear clothes that fit pretty snugly.
I reach for the shirt- and just like that, another hand folds over mine. I look up, stunned at the touch, and meet the eyes of another woman who looks equally shocked.
She speaks first. “Qu’est-ce que vous veux?”
What do you want… it reminds me of the intro to Zooropa, but now is not the time to mention that. “I am buying… this,” I say, stumbling a bit in French.
“La chemise? Je veux lui aussi,” she says.
I look up, searching for another on the rack, and then I remember that this is the last in the store.
“Sorry,” I say, and take it from her hands.
Her brow furrows, and I motion Eric to attention. If a fight spills out, I better have an advantage.
Seeing Eric by my side, the French woman seems to realize that she’s outnumbered. “Bon, prendre lui,” she tells me, and steps back to the sidelines.
“What’s going on?” Eric asks.
“She wants the shirt too,” I say. Suddenly I feel sorry for the woman. She reminds me of Lina, the way we met over a copy of The Unforgettable Fire, only this time I’m meeting this woman over a shirt.
I hand the said item to Eric to purchase it and go back to the woman. “Comment s’appelle tu?”
“Je m’appelle Celine.”
“Je m’appelle Marieke,” I respond. We size each other up.
“Est-ce que vous parlez anglais?” Celina asks.
“Oui, je parle anglais…”
Just like that, she switches to English. “You are not going to give me that shirt, no?”
I look down at my purchase. “No, no, Eric bought it for me, I don’t want to waste money!”
She blinks translucent gray eyes. “I will try another store, but it won’t be in my size.”
I start to speak, but Eric just happens to be coming up behind me, and I can tell he is fed up with shopping. “All right, I have to get to the stadium soon, should I leave you behind?”
Celine’s eyes widen. “You are going to the stadium? Why?”
We’re going to the stadium,” Eric corrects her, “and I have to be there to set up for the concert tonight.”
“U2?!” Celine exclaims. “You work there? I am going tonight!”
This leads me to turn to her, gasping “You like U2?”
“Yes!” She looks just as excited to discover this fact as I am to discover hers. “They are great! You work for them?”
I start to explain to her what I do- I haven’t gotten to show off about my job to anyone yet- but Eric sighs and turns to leave. Celine looks confused from my words- she wouldn’t have understood anyway. So I go to follow Eric. Before we can leave, I ask Celine, “What seat did you buy for tonight?”
She tells me her seat number, and I recognize it as a spot right by the catwalk leading out to the B stage. Wheels spin in my head.
“Celine, I’ll see you tonight,” I say.
“Oh, good night!” she wishes me. “Enjoy your time in Strasbourg!”
Eric is waiting for me outside of the store. I swing my bag around as he waits for the traffic to clear so we can cross the street. Someone is zooming down the road over the speed limit. Whoever’s driving that car shouldn’t be on the streets.
The car screeches to a stop on the other side of the road. Passersby halt in their walks to give the car evil looks. A woman bustling along the sidewalk cocks her head, and from here I can recognize that bundle of curls- it’s Morleigh!
The car’s window rolls down, and I catch a glimpse of Bono inside. Oh, damn… I should have changed my shirt in the shop!
Eric is oblivious to my sudden panic, and runs across the street. Luckily there’s a lull in traffic, or he would have been flattened. I shove my bag behind my back and follow desolately.
“Hey, little girl, want a ride? I have candy,” Bono is telling Morleigh when I reach the car.
Morleigh laughs. “Did you want me?”
“Bono!” Eric cries, reaching the sidewalk at last.
Bono turns his attention to his other side. “Eric? Oh, hullo Marieke!”
“Hey,” I mutter as I step onto the sidewalk.
“Hello you two,” Morleigh smiles. “What did you want me for, Bono?”
“The video shooting is going on now,” Bono huffs. “I thought I told you we’d need you for it…”
“You didn’t call,” she purrs. “I waited for a while, but no one came to my room.”
Bono’s mouth twitches up. “Oh, that’s how you play. Well, you do need a ride!”
“Can I come too?” I pipe up. This talk of a video shoot has me intrigued. Is it really time to release a single from Zooropa?
Bono’s adoring gaze flicks onto me. I wish I could see is eyes from below his sunglasses. “Sure, Angel! We could always use a tagalong.”
“Like me?” Eric asks, his eyes lighting up.
Bono peers coolly down his nose at Eric, and I catch a flash of blue. “Don’t you have work to do at the stadium?”
Eric backs up. “Well, I thought since Marieke’s coming…”
“She doesn’t have to set up the stage. You, on the other hand…” Eric crosses his arms. “You are being paid to set it up. I’m sure you’ve kept everyone else waiting.”
“Can you at least get me a ride down there?” Eric mutters.
I can tell that Bono wants to refuse him, but the words he speaks are, “The backseat’s free.”
Morleigh, Eric and I climb into the car. Without waiting for us to buckle our seatbelts, Bono pulls away from the curb. I fall into Morleigh, who helps me back up and plunges her safety belt in tight.
Before the car veers off, I spy Celine standing on the sidewalk. No doubt she knows Bono is the one driving. I give her a wave, and we’re down the road, heading for the stadium and then into waters unknown.
Bono drops Eric off at the stadium, and he sullenly says goodbye. The car drives off, with Bono muttering, “What are we gonna do with that man?”
I sigh and cross my legs. “Where am I going?”
Bono glances in the rearview mirror at me. “We’re doing a videoshoot today, believe it or not.”
My previous intrigue swells. “What song is the video for?”
Bono grins, remembering that he hasn’t told Marieke all the facts. “Our first single from Zooropa is Numb.”
He watches her expression grow shocked in the reflection- and it makes him want to laugh. Shouldn’t she be used to his odd decisions by now?
“But- but why Numb? You’ll bore everyone!”
Bono laughs.
“It’s a very long song.”
“And that’s precisely why we chose it for a single. The confusion of it all… the audience won’t know what they’re hearing. I guess, in a way, our goal was to fuck up the mainstream all along.” He laughs again as I roll my eyes.
It seems a common theme for Zoo TV is confusion. It comes to me with a sad sort of pressure that I’m used to it by now. The joke’s grown old.
“And aren’t you releasing it as a video single?” Morleigh speaks up.
Bono answers happily. “Yeah. We weren’t sure about this… we’ve never done anything like that before. But Numb just isn’t radio friendly, so it might work better on the TV. Which means we’ve got to make one hell of a video.”
“With my lovely face in it,” Morleigh giggles.
“Lovely body more like,” Bono corrects.
“Why release it at all?” I wonder out loud. “You know Stay is a better single for the radio…”
“Oh, there’s a thought.” Bono blows past a green light, at the same time glancing back to grin at me. It takes all my willpower not to scream “EYES ON THE ROAD!” Fortunately Morleigh tells him in a gentler way.
“Your ideas never cease to interest me, Marieke.”
“Thanks,” I mutter. If that’s a compliment…
Eventually we park outside a building, obviously the place where the videoshoot will take place. Bono leads Morleigh and I inside, and he guides us to a room.
There’s a large crew in the room, surrounded by cameras. I spy a chair in the middle of the floor and wonder who’s going to sit in it. Bono heads over to a man- presumably the director of the video- and explains that he’s found Morleigh. The man exhales in relief.
“Marieke, would you like to watch the filming?” Bono asks me. “It’s pretty boring stuff, honestly.”
I think on it. The filming will probably take a while, so I skip the first half and go out to find a snack and a drink. Bill comes with me and we chat politely.
“Excuse me a moment,” I say after my third sip of grape juice. “Can you turn around?”
Bill obliges. “What are you doing?”
“Changing,” I answer, already pulling my shirt over my head. It’s time to wear lemon.
Bill half-laughs- “What did you buy at that store?” He’s noticed my shopping bag.
“This,” I answer. “Turn around.”
He turns back around and I strike a pose. The shirt fits me like a dream, even better than I could have imagined. “How do I look?”
“Marieke, you look great,” he tells me, and there’s no reason why I shouldn’t believe him.
When we return to the video shoot, the director is going over the footage with the band. I elbow my way through and watch the review. When I realize what’s going on in the clips, I promptly burst out laughing.
“What?” Bono asks, turning to me.
“Oh god…” is my only response.
Edge, being the singer of Numb, obviously has to be the center of the video. He sits in a chair, endlessly spewing off “Don’t” commands while random people do equally random things to him. Through it all, Edge just sits and stares straight into the camera, feeling numb.
I grapple him. “Edge, you are a great actor!”
“Oh, you think so?” he asks. “It’s so hard to sit still…”
We finish playing the video back, me clamping a hand over my mouth to keep from laughing too hard.
“Okay, Morleigh’s in the next scene,” the director announces. Morleigh gives him a smiley nod. “What do you want her to be doing? Edge… would you prefer her legs around your neck or her foot in your face?”
“The foot in the face!” Adam, Bono, and Larry chorus in unison, all wearing matching evil grins.
Edge murmurs, “I prefer the legs around the neck.”
Larry and Bono raise their eyebrows while Adam giggles. The director is unfazed.
“If you really want we can do it without film in the camera.”
My face hits my palm and stays there for about a minute.
They resume filming after the unanimous vote for Morleigh’s foot in Edge’s face. Another woman is enlisted to help out with that- not me, unfortunately, and it tugs at me more than it should. The two women get into position and begin smearing their feet all over Edge’s cheeks while the director urges them under his breath to “not go so hard.” Edge tries to give the rest of the band murderous glares- “See what you got me into?”- but fails after realizing that this is being filmed and he has to look dead to the world. As for the rest of U2, they try to gleefully stifle their laughter, which of course does nothing to help Edge’s case in the least. He looks at me for support, but I am cracking up so badly that I have to leave the room.
When I come back, Edge seems to be enjoying himself. The women are doing a reshoot and this time the impact of their feet is more expected. I also note that Bono has left the room- probably the director threw him out for being a bad audience member.
The remaining audience, however, appears to be no better. Larry gets up and sneaks his way over to Edge’s side, removing his shoe and thrusting his socked foot into Edge’s face before the guitarist can react. The Edge wrinkles his nose, obviously disliking the smell of Larry-foot. This sends me back into hysterics, and the director calls out, “CUT!”
It’s slow going. To prevent myself from ruining another shot, I go out to talk with Bill again. Bono returns and joins our party, and I’m secretly pleased. I try to get him to mention the color of my choice, but his eyes barely focus on me. Is this man blind?
Finally, as the latest round of footage is being reviewed, Bono’s gaze skims my chest. “Wait for a minute, Marieke. You weren’t wearing that when I drove you here, were you?”
“No,” I say, blinking. “I bought it at the store downtown.”
His eyes are locked on my breasts- I tighten my fist, hoping he’s not looking for that reason- and wait for him to mention the lemon likeness. However, when Bono does talk it’s just “Huh. Okay,” and he leaves me.
Jeez, what does it take to get this man to notice?!
We wait for the video to be over. Bono is called in and co-stars in a scene with Larry. I go out to eat lunch, wondering for a moment if I should go down to meet Eric at the stadium, and then decide it doesn’t matter. What if later I miss some good scenes in the video because I left?
By the end of the day, the video is completed. We’re all exhausted from working and watching and need something to celebrate. So someone breaks out the drinks, and Larry toasts his friend for us- “To Reg!” We all join in happily and drink to The Edge’s name. Edge himself is pleased.
And it’s only when I stumble upstairs to my hotel room do I see it and remember. The letter from KLM…
I reread my boss’s note. By the time I get to the final word my hands are shaking with anger. All I can think now is No, no, no…
Those angry hands move, not of my own accord. They rip into the paper and tear long strips onto the floor. I shove the remains of the letter beneath my bed.
They’re not going to take me away from here…
I need to call Lina.
She answers on the second ring, and I can hear her usually chirpy voice sounding a bit low-key. “Hello?”
“Lina. It’s me.”
“Marieke?” Why does she sound confused? I haven’t been gone for that long. “What do you want?”
I try to tell her about the letter from KLM and how I will have to quit my job on Zoo TV, but her query of what do you want brings to mind a certain song… “Lina! I have U2’s new album now!”
Her voice halts. “What was that?”
It comes gushing out. “Oh, Lina, Bono gave me a copy of the album! It’s finished now. It’s called Zooropa and it’s insane and I love it and I made it?”
“What?” She’s vaguely disinterested.
“I helped make a track on it. And they’re going to release a single… and Lina, it has The Edge singing! You’ll love it!” Never mind the fact that I don’t love it. “And they filmed a video and it’s hilarious and it’s going to be released only as a video so people can see Edge on the television every day!”
She laughs, uncertain and briefly. “Speaking of which, the money you sent me came with some pretty nice pics of Edge’s pants.
“And… and there’s a song you should hear…” I try to distract Lina from mentioning the money again, and these words just slip out. But maybe Lina will like Stay as much as I do… Not a word of the song has disappeared from my memory. I hastily start singing. “Green light, seven eleven, you stop in for a pack of cigarettes…”
There’s complete silence on the other end as I sing. My voice carries well over the phone line, the high notes in the song just barely hit, but hit nonetheless.
“Three o’clock in the morning… it’s quiet and there’s no one around… just the bang and the clatter… as an angel hits the ground.” I swallow.
“Just the bang and the clatter as an angel runs to ground.” In my memory, a cymbal is struck to end the song.
Lina hangs up on me.

(I hope my French in this chapter was translated right! )

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Old 03-27-2011, 08:46 PM   #2
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You got my impressions of Bono sort of becoming but not becoming the characters spot on, again...nice!

So we leave, a rowdily sung song filling the spaces between us- “And I have no compass, and I have no map. And I have no reason, no reason to get back!” I laugh and try to join in- they obviously know the words better than I do- as Bono shouts “Let’s go to the overground! Get your head out of the mud, baby!” It’s an interesting choice for tonight’s soundtrack, but it’ll do.
That sounds like fun...

“So much for Squeaky, then…”
Hehehh, Edge...it would have been a bad record name!

Oh Marieke. I like Numb, don't love it, but don't hate it! And interesting that Babyface could be construed to mean her and Bono...nice one there!

She’s gonna make you cry
She’s gonna make you whisper and moan
Am I the only one a little bothered that this song's about his mom? ...

UGH the beeping at the end of Wanderer! That bothers me to no end...

Eric's actually being kind of adorable. Bono still kicks his ass as far as I'm concerned, but he's not as bad as he was...I just didn't like him when he was kind of creepily obsessed

“Hey, little girl, want a ride? I have candy,” Bono is telling Morleigh when I reach the car.
Bono...so silly! And OH NO BONO DRIVING...

And Larry feet...oh my ...is that really Morleigh's foot? I couldn't tell whose it was...

Marieke needs to mention the money! I hope it works out

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Old 03-28-2011, 08:55 PM   #3
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I should be getting ready for bed, but you left a long response to a long chapter so hey, who needs sleep, really? :P

This was kinda fun to write! I loved reviewing Zooropa from someone else's perspective... see, I like Numb, but my character doesn't. (I like every U2 song.) I really don't think there's anything weird about LEMON!, except now that you point out that line in specific I do find "whisper and moan" strange. But I always cut the album off before the beeping starts! It scares me.
Apparently that really is Morleigh's foot. Weee-ird. I mean, if books are to be believed. I did love writing Bono for this chapter! Perfect balance (IMO) between funny and serious. Eric... glad he's gotten better! This is working out better than I hoped... he and Marieke seem to be enjoying their friendship for now.
She does have to mention the money, and her job ending. She really didn't say anything serious to Lina during that whole conversation (except for singing the song) and she even spoiled part of the album for her!
Well then.
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Old 03-28-2011, 09:01 PM   #4
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I know right? I may not sleep; I'm thinking I might do even more writing! D: my butt hurts from sitting, by now...

ISN'T IT. It makes me uncomfortable. Whoa boy, Bono. And I never listen to The Wanderer anyhow, because it's just...ghh. Johnny Cash does not to well with anything electronic-sounding.

Whutttt. I'm going to be watching that video again and wondering if her feet are just magically perfect or something...must be why Edge likes her XD

It's relieving Eric's less creepy...

Oh man...bad Marieke!
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Old 03-28-2011, 09:12 PM   #5
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Sounds like someone is reading U2 at the End of the World. It's kind of cool to see some fictionalized around it.

I like the tension between Marieke and Bono. I like that he isn't just caving in to whatever thoughts he might be having.

I did this read this a few days ago, but I was mentally deficient after a 20 mile run.
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Old 03-29-2011, 03:47 PM   #6
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@Katie- That's the only song I've heard Johnny Cash sing. XD I wouldn't know! And I think there might be more trouble with Marieke later. Lina doesn't seem too happy with her.
@Grace- Unfortunately I don't own my own copy but there is a way I am getting the information... now I'm wondering what other books I should read to help me? Anyway, I really don't feel much tension at the moment, but you do know there's something there... and ugh, I can't even run for one mile. I see why your brain was scrambled.
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Old 03-29-2011, 04:13 PM   #7
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If it makes you feel better, I couldn't run a mile at your age either! Like Gloria in MW, I'm training for the Boston Marathon.
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Old 03-29-2011, 04:42 PM   #8
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Remedying this, Blue!

^ that's gotten stuck in my head now...

Yeah, she and Lina don't seem to be getting on well...I got the impression they're friends but they can pretty quickly not be friends too, it's just one of those odd relationships

Grace—oh man. I don't think I'll be able to run a mile ever, willingly XD the closest I'll come to it is hiking or swimming...and I thought you might be a runner, after reading MW that's exciting!
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Old 03-29-2011, 05:47 PM   #9
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I didn't think anyone could run a mile at any age... oh, except those marathoners. Cool that you're trying for that! right now I am on my phone and it doesn't do Youtube, I'll listen to that later... I am really starting to notice more layers of those characters' relationships. funny.
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Old 03-29-2011, 08:40 PM   #10
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Sent from my iPod touch using U2 Fan

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angry, bono, edge, france, larry, morleigh, numb, phone call, stadium, video, zoo crew, zoo tv tour, zooropa

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