Dancing With The Devil ch. 25 - U2 Feedback

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Old 04-01-2011, 02:42 PM   #1
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Dancing With The Devil ch. 25

Since it's Friday, a half-day, and the tour destination is still Paris, I present this.
Out of nowhere a minor character steps into the spotlight...
and Marieke is too emotionally driven. :P

Tonight is U2’s show in Paris, and I have to pester Bono into getting me a seat in the audience.
“But Marieke, what will MacPhisto do without his very best stylist?”
I cross my arms, waiting. He knows he’s not going to beguile me that way. “You’ve managed backstage without me before.” He’s probably had an even better time of it when I wasn’t there. When I dress the Devil, I tend to get very distracted.
“Besides, the girl I met in the store will be sitting next to me.” Besides, it’s near the B stage. “I want to see her again.” I want to be pulled up again.
“Ah, I see. Good point.” Bono stares past me, running his fingers restlessly through his hair. “What does she look like, by the way?”
I describe Celine. “She is blond and has gray eyes. Her hair is very short.”
He nods, and I wonder what he could possibly want with the information.
Down at the stadium, a line has formed of eager fans, waiting to get in. I, being staff, breeze through the doors and take my seat by the B stage. Celine hasn’t been let in yet. I study my fingernails and wait.
Soon I find her. She is making her way to her seat, and when she recognizes me her eyes pop. “Marieke!” Celine yells, rushing to her seat.
“But- but you are working! Why are you here?”
“Because I want to,” I answer. “I wanted to see you again…”
She gathers her overcoat around herself and sits. “That’s very nice.”
We watch the opening acts. The music is nice, but the French crowd is restless for the main event. I feel that one shout of “U2!” will send the whole stadium to chanting it.
Finally the screens flash and run through their beginning images, familiar to me now. Celine gapes. I smile slyly. What a newbie.
The bright screens are made to distract from the fact that the band is setting up onstage. It’s only when The Fly enters, lit by the blue screen behind him, that the fans think to look for anyone else. Celine screams Bono’s name. He saunters up to the spotlight.
“I’m ready… I’m ready for the laughing gas!”
I’ve heard the words of this song so many times before, and the familiarity is comforting. Celine and I enjoy the show together. I’ve missed having a fellow fan to share the experience with.
The set breezes past. I’m dancing through most of it, and finally relax when the band plays Trying To Throw Your Arms Around The World. It’s an Achtung Baby song, which means I should love it- but I don’t. To me this is the lowest point on the album. But the live version of it isn’t bad…
“Six o’clock in the morning, you’re the last to hear the warning. You been trying to throw your arms around the world…” Bono dances down the main stage and slides himself across the catwalk.
“Face plant in the sidewalk, your lips move but you can’t talk. You been trying to throw your arms around the world…”
Edge goes for the microphone at the same time Bono reaches for his and they sing, “Gonna run to you, run to you, run to you! Woman be still.”
“Gonna run to you, run to you, run to you,” Bono sings in a daze, eyeing the crowd. “Ya know that I will…”
He moves towards a camera and hangs on it, wrenching the thing from its stand. “Sunrise like a nosebleed, your head hurts and you can’t breathe. You been trying to throw your arms around the world…”
Bono turns the camera to the audience and contemplates as the adoring fans reach up to meet his hand. “How far are ya gonna go, before you find your way back home? You been tryin’ to throw your arms around the world…”
Edge steps down onto the catwalk. “Gonna run to you, run to you, run to you. Woman, be still!”
Bono is absorbed in the crowd. He peers down with a searching look in his eye as he sings, “Gonna run to you, run to you, run to you. You know that I will…”
Suddenly he stops right in front of me and motions for someone to rise. I do, smirking proudly. But at the same time, Celine does, her eyes shining bright. I frown at her- why is she getting up? It’s me that Bono wants. Then my frown is frozen in place as she is boosted onto the stage and wraps her arms around Bono’s waist.
What? This must be a mistake! Surely Bono wanted me up there. But as Celine squeals with delight, hugging Bono tightly, he grins and makes no move to get away. In fact he’s enjoying her arms around him… This is no mistake. This is Celine that he wanted.
“I dreamt that I saw Dali with a supermarket trolley,” Bono murmurs. He squeezes Celine. “He was trying to throw his arms around a girl.” Celine laughs and looks up into Bono’s sweaty face, pure joy radiating off of her.
Bono pulls a ways back and reaches into his jacket, producing a bottle of champagne. “He took an open top beetle through the eye of a needle… he was trying to throw his arms around the world.” Celine hangs onto his shoulder with an air of admiration. She looks so stupid up there, her black coat flying in the breeze.
Bono stops singing to hold the bottle out to Celine. She smiles and reaches for it. He pulls it back, grips it in both hands, and uncorks it. The force of the champagne spewing out throws Bono back a little, Celine watching with wide eyes.
He speaks suddenly- “Let’s make a movie!” Celine is handed the camera, which she promptly turns onto Bono. The singer poses, raising his champagne bottle, and once again holds it out to Celine. She takes it and they both sip the drink. Bono nestles his arm around her, just a bit, and she films the two together.
The shot is spoiled when Edge comes up behind them. Celine turns and peers through the viewfinder, locating and filming Edge’s hands on his guitar. Bono leans against him, hooking his elbow around Edge’s neck and lifting the microphone to his mouth.
“Nothing much to say I guess, just the same as all the rest… you been trying to throw your arms around the world.” His voice turns playful with the next line. “And a woman needs a man like The Edge needs a handicam… when you’re trying to throw your arms around the world.”
Celine prowls with the aforementioned handicam, catching a shot of Bono and Edge singing into the same mic- “Gonna run to you, run to you, run to you. Woman, be still!”
“Gonna run to you, run to you, run to you… woman, be still…” Bono answers, breaking away from Edge.
“Woman, be still…” He sneaks up to Celine and wraps his arms around her.
“Woman, I will.” I see his hand graze her butt as he kisses her cheek. Celine looks out of her mind with joy, and clings even as he tries to dislodge her. She eventually must go, and Bono waves her back to her seat. I’m seething with anger. He won’t look at me.
Even though the show gets moving again after that excursion, Celine will not stop chattering. I try to listen to the music and yet she keeps going on and on in French- I can barely even understand the damn woman!- about how amazing that was, how she was pulled onstage by Bono… and I wasn’t… She jabs me accidentally with her arm, or maybe on purpose to get me to keep listening. I haven’t noticed how bony her elbows are until now.
“Goodbye,” I say, walking out.
It’s hard to shove my way to the door, but eventually I succeed. I manage to turn my back on the music and exit the stadium, my hands shaking. I still them and lean against the wall outside, my breath slowly leaving my body. I can catch glimmers of music from out here- they are playing Bad.
Only a few workers outside the stadium take notice of me, and I step into the shadow, closing my eyes. Maybe… maybe I could disappear… maybe my heart will slow and my breath will stop and I’ll just become one with the darkness. My body starts shutting down, dead to the world.
When I next open my eyes, I hear loud cheering coming from the stadium. Edge’s guitar rings so purely it stops my heart, and Bono- no, MacPhisto- sings “Baby, baby, baby, light my way.”
Tears come to my eyes and I clumsily shove away from the wall. Why did I leave the show? I’m dying out here to see MacPhisto, to catch a glimpse of his face…
But he wouldn’t dance with me. Bono didn’t want me onstage tonight, so why should his counterpart feel the same? I’d just get jealous over some other poor bitch and- then what?
I dig my hands into my ears and pretend not to listen.
It’s a long time before I feel free enough to take my hands away. I hear no more music, just the sound of people milling about the stadium, buzzed after the show. I stay in my patch of darkness and wait.
A man’s figure moves nearby, creeping closer to me. I tense, ready to run from whoever it is. If the man is Bono, I’m not sure how I can stand it.
It’s Jack. He melts in from the shadows, pulling his arms around himself. I hope he’s just going to walk past, but he sees me and skids to a stop in front of me. “Marieke?”
“Hi, Jack,” I say, my voice dull. He scrutinizes me, eyes lingering on my face. He can tell I’ve been crying. “Ben je in orde?”
The sound of my own native tongue relaxes my body completely. I sigh and answer him in Dutch- “I’m fine.”
“That’s good, then,” he says, reverting back to English. I know he knows that I’m really not fine, but all he says next is “Bono’s been looking for you.”
My foolish heart lifts. “Really?”
“Yeah. He wants to know where you went. He says you’ll love to join the group now. We’re going out.”
A rock settles in my chest. How should he know what I want and what I don’t want? “Tell him I’m at the hotel. Tell him I don’t feel well.”
His eyes narrow just the slightest, but all he says is, “All right. Is that where you’re going?”
I want to leave this place now. “But I haven’t had dinner yet.”
Jack wheels back on his heels. “Can I take you out? I mean, if that’s okay with you.”
I consider his proposition, and decide that dinner with Jack isn’t a half-bad idea. I need to get away from all this…
He nods and gives me a tentative flash of teeth. “Okay. I know a good place where we can eat…”
“Is it a dance club?” I ask warily, my eyebrows sliding together. Wouldn’t it be ironic to end up in the same place as U2?
“You mean discotheque.” He rolls his eyes. “That’s about all they have here, discotheques and cafes. It all depends on if you want to go dancing afterwards.”
“Do they have a discotheque next to a café?” I ask.
He shrugs. “We’ll see.”
***
And for us, seeing is believing. Jack brings me to a club that offers a dinner menu- a miracle, for most of the clubs I’ve seen only serve beverages, as if they expect us to live on alcohol- and we walk in famished. A flouncy woman shows us to the bar, and we gaze out at the clubbers grinding on the dance floor.
“Don’t let me drink too much tonight,” Jack murmurs as the woman slides our first orders onto the bar. “I’m, oh, about this close to being an alcoholic and when I get drunk, I get wild.” He smiles apologetically, raising his glass.
I feel my face twist into a grin- the expression seems odd- and speak as he swallows. “I get drunk too easily. It happens after, er, three drinks, usually. When I get drunk, I get sensible.” He laughs under the light.
“But I’m serious,” I say. “I do things I never would do… smart, sensible things.”
We contemplate our predicaments and drink to each other’s health. Jack doesn’t speak all too much, and I’m comfortable with silence.
“How are things working for Zoo TV, Marieke?” Okay, so sometimes silence just doesn’t cut it.
“It’s okay,” I say. “More exciting than I’m used to. But again, my life before U2 was very boring.”
“Your life before you met U2, you mean,” he corrects. “I find it hard to believe that your entire life sucked before you were 17.”
“Okay, maybe not…” I amend. “But until I found the band, I hadn’t truly lived.”
He drinks- “Oh, that’s the way I felt when I saw Scotland for the first time.”
“So you aren’t from Scotland,” I say, tugging on the silver bracelet at my wrist.
“Oh no. I was born in Ireland and lived there for quite a while… and it’s still my home, but Scotland just calls me, awakens something in me I’ve never felt in any other place… I do love it,” he says, tone slightly subdued.
I should have figured it out. His accent sounds closer to Bono’s than to any Scottish voice I’ve heard. Not that I’ve heard many Scottish accents, though…
“How did you start the job?” I ask. “Why U2?”
“Just another one of the bands I’ve worked with,” Jack says. “It could have been anyone. They were hiring. I’ve always been in music business- can’t imagine my life any other way.”
I nod. We both raise our glasses at the same time, realize it, and lower them simultaneously.
“I’ve only been in the… plane-phone business,” I say, and drink before Jack can move. “And I worked briefly in a supermarket.”
He sighs slowly and tips the last of his drink into his mouth.
“I wonder where U2 are now. Wouldn’t it be funny if they showed up at this club?”
“I wouldn’t like it,” I grumble, still not quite recovered from the anger Bono has inspired in me tonight.
Jack looks into my eyes but doesn’t say anything. We relax and listen to the French pop music coming in over the speakers. The waitress comes back over with our meals.
As we eat, I ask Jack, “Can you speak Dutch with me?”
“Maar natuurlijk.”
Comfort washes over me. “Thank you,” I say in my native language. “Thank you so much.”
“It’s nothing,” he answers in rough Dutch, soft, unconcealed eyes darting downward.
Slowly we pick at our food, and my foot taps against the seat. Jack looks away from me, but I know he is feeling the beat. Finally he can’t hold it in any longer, and stands up- “I’m going to go dance.”
“Please do,” I murmur, and stay in my seat, checking out Jack’s moves.
Jack joins the throng of people and starts moving with the music, his feet turning him around. He moves with unusual grace, the likes of which I’ve never seen in a man. His smoothness in dancing attracts a few nods and whistles from the French crowd.
I watch, intrigued. Eventually one fact occurs to me- the way Jack interacts with the men is not unlike the way he interacts with the women. He turns his body in the direction of different people, regardless of what gender they are. He moves in sync with anyone who’ll dance. A small smile crosses his face, and his eyes blink shut.
I move from the stool and cross the dance floor, getting swept up by the wave. My arms come above my head and I’m belly-dancing just like Morleigh. I travel towards the DJ playing his tunes, and wave to get his attention.
“Oui?”
“Can I ask- do you have any Badfinger music?” I ask in English. He looks confused, so I repeat my request- “Badfinger?”
He roots around in his collection of records. I’m doubting that he has the song I want to hear- Badfinger was a British band, and their music was most popular in the 60’s. I don’t think the French DJ will own something that’s not mainstream. But he returns with one record- a slow song, one that I love, and the exact tune I’m requesting.
I nod and he puts the record on. A swell of music floats over the speakers.
I remember finding out about you
Everyday my mind is all around you
Looking out from my lonely room
Day after day
Bring it home, baby bring it soon
I give my love to you
I drift back through the clubbers, who are pairing up with their dates for the song. Jack comes into view, and I take his hand. We dance slowly on the floor.
I remember holding you while you sleep
Every night I feel the tears that you weep
Looking out of my lonely gloom
Day after day
I can’t help but notice how great a partner he is.
I’ll give my love to you
The piano sweeps us up. We bump to a stop in the middle of the dancers, becoming the eye of a storm.
“Are you okay?” he asks in my language. “You’re crying?”
Oh, dammit. “Er… NO,” I mumble.
“It’s not something I did, is it?”
“Long night I guess…”
We walk back to our seats
Looking out of my lonely room
Day after day
If it’s love, baby make it soon
I give my love to you
How interesting, that a song this old was available in the dance club. Maybe all the slow songs are old songs.
We exit the discotheque.
“You don’t love me, do you.”
“No, I don’t.” He speaks with such conviction that it has to be true.
“Will you talk to me if I ever want you to?”
“Sure. I’ll even speak in Dutch if you prefer it.”
“Of course I prefer it.”
We walk away from the streetlights, away from the sidewalk and the cars. If I look very hard, I can spot the moon in the sky, a far off orb of reflected light. The haze of the city Paris nearly drowns out the view, and I look away, not wanting to see.
We walk, the shadows moving beneath our feet as Jack’s finger brushes the back of my hand for one second, and I allow myself a small, secret smile.
We walk.
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Old 04-01-2011, 05:03 PM   #2
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Quote:
“Sunrise like a nosebleed, your head hurts and you can’t breathe. You been trying to throw your arms around the world…”
Oh man. I haven't listened to this song much but for some reason those lyrics make a strange sort of sense...

Quote:
“And a woman needs a man like The Edge needs a handicam…
Ahahahah

Quote:
“You mean discotheque.”
Oh, song references...

Quote:
“You don’t love me, do you.”
Huh. VERY relieving. Maybe they can just be awesome friends! But seriously, one less guy to worry about...

Ah, poor Marieke. I knew Bono would pull up the other girl instead...on the one hand, it sucks, but on the other hand, she does need to be able to deal with that at least, especially since he's got a wife...other women being pulled up onstage is pretty minor.
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Old 04-01-2011, 05:46 PM   #3
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I loved the fact that she assumed he'd pull her on stage and reacted as she did when he didn't. In my mind, she figures that's 'their' thing. She is not married to him and does not share his private life. But this is something she does share this with him. So when he pulls someone else, of course she feels betrayed. Betrayed by him. Betrayed by her emotions.

I was wondering where she was going with Jack (who I think is bisexual for some reason). I think she wanted to cling to someone else for awhile. Or at least just have a night with someone that wasn't complicated.
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Old 04-01-2011, 05:47 PM   #4
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BTW - your writing has really gotten strong and more fluid as this has gone on. Bravo!
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Old 04-01-2011, 05:53 PM   #5
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I was wondering where she was going with Jack (who I think is bisexual for some reason).
Yep, I think so too...
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Old 04-01-2011, 07:03 PM   #6
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Thanks guys! This is exactly the way I was hoping this chapter would go over. Marieke annoyed me in this. I think she acted too hurt- that's why I said she was a bit too emotionally driven- but yes, she figures Bono must choose her to be onstage, because that's one thing that can bring her close to him without seeming odd. And he knows her- but he chose a random French woman she met in a store, someone she's barely connected to, he even less. Betrayal- that's a good word for it, Grace!
Then she goes out with Jack. Yes, it was very relieving for her to get away with someone who's completely disconnected from her normal world, and it's an added bonus that he knows her language. And now we have one man who doesn't regard her in a romantic way at all, which is good for her. As to his sexuality, my lips are sealed.


And now I just realized it wasn't Paris, it was Strasbourg. D'oh!
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Old 04-01-2011, 07:07 PM   #7
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Marieke annoyed me in this. I think she acted too hurt
Ahhh, good to know. I was kind of bothered by it too.

Strasbourg? Ehh well I don't know my U2 when and where info about that decade or so, so I didn't catch the slip
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