What *exactly* is the Pastiche of Beckett? - U2 Feedback

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Old 03-30-2006, 03:41 PM   #1
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What *exactly* is the Pastiche of Beckett?

Is Bono quoting him?
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Old 03-30-2006, 03:58 PM   #2
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It was written by Bono in the style of Beckett, using the idea that the long-dead Beckett is making these remarks from beyond. Here's the transcript. Very clever and funny.


"Un homage du Bono au maestro Samuel Beckett, starring un homage du Mannix Flynn à Barry McGovern - or a piece what I wrote called

WAITING FOR COLGAN

I’m so tired, I’m so tired of the telephone…
The telephone rings…
The sound of cigar… a booming voice in a booming town
Shattering the glasses of the drinking classes
1995 Puligny Montrachet, 400 quid a bottle… glug glug glug...
Good buy… good boy

One hundred years, one hundred bum steers, one hundred and seventeen thousand black beers before your peers
One hundred years
One hundred ears flappy happy happy clappy ears
It’s hard not to be happy when you feel the sappy in someone elses veins
As they kick a banana ball through the splits
On your birthday
And Ireland
Wins the triple crown on your birthday
It’s your birthday, it’s your birthday

I’ve been waiting
Waiting a long time
One hundred years
It gets tiring all this velvety blackness
that’s what Le Brocquy calls it…
Velvety blackness but there’s no nothingness
Oh no, just everythingness and judgment
The judgment of your peers…
Where’s Gaybo? Who’s Ryanair? Where are the trolly dollys? It’s not dollys on the trollies now
It’s the living and the dead clogging up the arteries of the health service
oh yes late to the late… late to the Late Late Show
Isn’t Brendan Gleeson the business
The pricks
The celts
Waiting, waiting for the tiger to catch its tail,
I’m waiting for the phone to ring
Michael Colgan
The sound of cigar
Booming town, booming voice, shattering the glasses of the drinking classes
Puligny Montrachet 1995
400 quid a bottle
Glug glug glug
One hundred years
I’m so tired

Louis and Anne, remember you gave me a signed copy of the unforgettable fire?
I told you I loved it? I lied, I never listened to it

Too busy
Waiting
Waiting for language to turn to liquid
Waiting for language to be our own again

Oh, Joyce had his revenge on they that put it in our mouth
His revenge
Was to chew it, bite into it, masticate and masterbate it
Make chewing gum of it
Spit it into hand and stick it on the bottom of a schoolboy’s desk

Me… I shrank it, swallowed it, made a fart out of it, made a fart out of everyone who didn’t like the smell of it
Such confusion caused by ignoring the obvious
Metaphor… I only met her for a drink... ha ha that’s what Simon says
Black Bush. George Bush the da says
The bombs are dropping closer, the Brudder, Nikki Sudden
Shattering the glasses of the drinking classes
Puligny Montrachet 1995 glug glug glug

Mother’s milk
I never had the mother’s tongue…
Just the father’s cranky aloof and lofty voice
That language was always there growing like teeth in the gum, like Chomsky says
I got closer to the brain than anyone before or after

I could hear you thinking,
I can hear you thinking now
Blinkin’ phone rings… sound of cigars
Michael Colgan birthday parties
Puligny Montrachet, 1995, 400 quid a bottle
glug glug glug

I’m so tired
All those PhDs
All those questions
Where’s Godot
Who’s Godot…
Everyone knows that
phone rings, sound of cigars
Table at the Unicorn
Puligny Montrachet
Glug glug glug
Big smoky voice shattering the glasses of the drinking classes
Birthday party sort it out…
Tell them death isn’t funny but eternity is a laugh
Tell the tiger not to eat its tale
Ah to win the triple crown on your birthday
Parties, it’s great to have them and not be there…
But don’t leave people waiting for too long
One hundred years, it’s a long time
The table is set, it looks great Michael
The sound of cigar, booming town, booming voice
Shattering the glasses of the drinking classes
Puligny Montrachet, glug glug glug
Waiting, waiting, waiting… to be fuckin’ understood
Waiting waiting waiting… for Colgan
Good boy, goodbye.’ "
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Old 03-30-2006, 05:16 PM   #3
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Thank you for posting.....he must have gotten excited he used the f word
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Old 03-30-2006, 09:00 PM   #4
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So.. to be sure...

Bono wrote this?

If so it is very very impressive....
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Old 03-31-2006, 06:55 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by redhill
So.. to be sure...

Bono wrote this?

If so it is very very impressive....
Yes, he did. And it is.
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Old 03-31-2006, 10:34 AM   #6
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Hi Biff - when did Bono write this poem? and where did you find it? Interesting that as you posted it I had just bumped into this article.

Waiting for Beckett

Hot Press, February 01, 2001

Beckett on Film is one of the most ambitious cinematic projects ever. Nineteen of Samuel Beckett's plays have been made into movies, directed by and starring numerous A-list figures. To mark the occasion, Joe Jackson talks to Bono about one of the 20th century's greatest dramatists

The Beckett on Film project, comprised of the screening of 19 Samuel Beckett plays, is being sold as a "major cinematic first for Dublin." But it's also a major theatrical event in the purest sense -- not just because these films are cinematic interpretations of some of the greatest plays of the twentieth century, but because it is epic in scope.

Produced by Michael Colgan and Alan Moloney of Blue Angel Films, Beckett on Film, is an RTE co-production in association with Channel Four and Board Scannán na hEireann -- the latter an organisation that has sometimes come in for criticism in Hot Press but clearly deserves the highest praise for its involvement in this project.

Beckett on Film also brings together some of the most distinguished actors and directors working today. Atom Egoyn, Damien Hirst, Neil Jordan, Conor McPherson, Damien O'Donnell, David Mamet, Anthony Minghella, Karl Reisz and Patrica Rozema direct, while actors involved include Michael Gambon, John Hurt, Jeremy Irons, Alan Rickman and Kristen Scott Thomas.

The completion of the project will also be celebrated at a party in the company of President Mary McAleese, the directors, and special guests such as U2 and the Corrs on February 1st in Dublin Castle. The Beckett on Film project itself starts the following day, February 2nd, and runs 'till February 8th at Dublin's IFC.

But let's kick-start the whole damn party by talking about Beckett with Bono, a passionate fan of the man and his work.

"A genuine search for something that rings true" -- Bono on Beckett.

Bono and Beckett? Strange bedfellows? Maybe. Maybe not. But the mere fact that Bono will break away from the gruelling process of planning U2's forthcoming world tour, so he can speak about the boul' Samuel Beckett's play Not I, as filmed by Neil Jordan, really does speak volumes for the man. All three men, in fact.

Cynics might say Beckett and Bono have shag all in common. Likewise, theatre critics might cite Winnie's line from Beckett's Happy Days: "what a curse, mobility" and say that's the antithesis of rock 'n' roll. But before Bono addresses that, and similar questions, he actually slips into Beckett-ian mode while apologising for phoning late to do this interview.

"There's fourteen men, with big bottoms, sitting on my head, trying to get 'yes's' and 'no's' so I'm sorry I'm late," he says, sounding next-to-exhausted. When it's suggested that this image of "fourteen big bottoms" is not that far removed from Not I, which features only a mouth, Bono goes into free associational freefall.

"Fourteen big bottoms," he says. "Thirteen. Wasn't thinking about your bottom. Oozing. Big. Small. No. Kick it!"

Watching the tantalisingly edited fourteen-minute film of Not I this viewer was reminded of U2's video for "Numb" where the Edge is bombarded by distractions but refuses to yield. In much the same way actress Julianne Moore -- in this film of Beckett's play -- doggedly adheres to the playwright's original dictate that the mouth's chief endeavour is her "vehement refusal to relinquish the third person." Why, we'll get to later. But for now, Bono has his say.

"That Not I video was the only one I saw out of this series of Beckett films and I wanted, out of respect to Neil, to contribute to this," he says. "I really feel it's a major thing. So although I don't have much to offer and can't really comment on the whole project, I can certainly comment on Neil's film because I've seen it."

So, okay, Bono is the line "what a curse, mobility" really the antithesis of rock 'n 'roll?

"Beckett was the antithesis of rock 'n' roll!" he responds. "Whereas Joyce is rock 'n' roll! But one thing that's true of them both -- and maybe true of us all -- is the way they take revenge on the English language. In the sense that it doesn't come out of our own mouths. Or, rather, it's not our own native tongue. So when it comes out of our mouths we chew it up, pummel it, pull at it and play with it to take revenge on the English! We take their language and -- in Joyce's case -- expand on it, extrapolate on it. And -- in Beckett's case -- shrink it. Subtract from it. I do think the fact that Beckett was a pupil of Joyce is interesting. But, on this level, they are polar opposites. Joyce is about going out and tasting whatever is around the corner whereas with Beckett it was like armchair theatre."

In what sense?

"He had a few years of boho experience to draw upon, but after that I think it was a very static life in real time while in the imagination it was anything but static."

Does Bono buy into critic Richard Gilman's assertion that mobility is "the agency of human illusion, for illusion rests on the capacity to imagine something not present and so implies movement, change." Whereas Beckett's "doomed effort has been to make literature and drama out of as little mobility as possible, to force the mind to attend to unchanging -- unmoving -- realities"? Surely post-Zooropa Bono can relate to that?

"I can, but in the last few years we've used mobility and illusion to lead audiences to unchanging realities, so it can work either way" he says. "And if what that critic is saying is true of Beckett, what does that tell us about Not I, which just shows us a woman's mouth up-close? What are we supposed to make of that! It is the orifice, the hole, right? And what's extraordinary about Neil Jordan is that, in an Irish context, he's one of our only erotic filmmakers. There's a sensuality even in terms of the film language he uses. And erotic comedy -- when it's not Benny Hill! -- is of great interest to me.

"The shock in The Crying Game is followed by people bursting out laughing. Neil loves that. And watching this piece I, at one point, thought Julianne Moore had turned upside down! And I found myself laughing out loud. Then I found it incredibly erotic. Then absurd. Then it caught me unawares and I realised this is probably what Sam Beckett wanted, from people watching his plays. All those feelings. And he found the right man to put that vision on film: Neil Jordan."

Bono pauses, reflecting further on Neil.

"The thing Neil also brings to cinema is the eyes of a filmmaker but the brain of a novelist. And the experience of a dramatist, from his days at the Project. In other words, he's a writer, first and foremost. That's where he really lives, in some way. If he stops making films I think we should chain ourselves to the railings! But to me, he is, fundamentally, a writer. And to start off at the Project, write the movies, then go on to filmmaking and now come back to this particular gig -- a film based on a mouth speaking simply words! -- seems totally fitting for Neil too."

But what does Bono think the narrator in Not I is trying to say? Or rather not to say in her long, cracked constant stream of consciousness? A key line in the text is when the mouth says the "voice could be one other than her own." Can Bono relate to that?

"That's the line!" he observes. "That line really jumped at me, out of her mouth. That's where I was totally caught unaware. But can I relate to any of that? Yes and no. Some of Beckett's work leaves me cold. Then occasionally he cracks open. A line like that cuts through and wakes up your heart. You do hook straight into it at a personal level. But where Beckett loses me is when what he's saying is just 'I', because there's nothing more boring than somebody thinking only about themselves and their own variations of a mood. Or a move! As in mobility or immobility. I do it for a living, but you have to be very careful, or your psychosis will run away with you! And maybe that is what Beckett is trying to avoid happening, in this play."

Likewise, it's said Beckett put a second tramp into Waiting for Godot to curb the solipsistic tendencies of the first, something one presumes the three other members of U2 also do for Bono!

"Fortunately! For me. And our audience!" he jokes. "But the self-serving nature of some of Beckett's work is saved, for me, by comedy. Saved by a genuine search for something that rings true. It's saved also by rhythm. Rhythm is the rock 'n' roll in Beckett. If there is any rock 'n' roll in Beckett at all. And that rhythm really catches me in Neil's film. Her two lips become like drums. That's the energy of the piece. The back and forth dialogue."

But let's cut to the Beckett-like bone here. Surely the essence of Beckett's work is the polar opposite of what Bono believes? Waiting for Godot, for example, is, ultimately, about two tramps waiting for a moment of transcendence that never arrives. In other words, it's a godless universe Beckett depicts. This, too, must leave Bono-the-believer cold.

"No, it doesn't. Because a lot of my best friends are atheists," he responds. "It's lukewarm believers that drive me out of the church. It's the big question, isn't it? If there is a God, it's serious; if there's not a God it's even more serious! And Beckett did, at least, approach that question. That, to me, is the essence of his work."

Bono pauses again.

"Maybe I told you this before for Hot Press. But it reminds me of a bit of graffiti I saw, which is emblematic of an age. Or maybe more so emblematic of the coming of the end of that age. Someone wrote in a bathroom 'God is dead: Nietzche.' And someone wrote after that 'Nietzche is dead: God.' I love that. And I love this debate. So of course this was a big question for Beckett. But let's not forget that people like Beckett came out of an age where something didn't exist unless you could prove it existed. You can't tell that to a musician! That's not how we live. And I think all artists are going to bump up against that big question in their work. Because they live off faith. You hear a note but have to have the faith that you will hear the next one. Or tell you where to find the next note."

Whereas Beckett writes from a point at which it's never known if that next note will arrive, he creates out of the hollowness of fearing it won't. Isn't this the core difference between Beckett and Bono?

"Absolutely," he responds. "And 'hollowness' is a good word for it. But all of this is what I like about Beckett's work. It's just another variation of some of the questions I ask in my own songs. And the two people who really opened Beckett up for me are Louis Le Brocquy and Anne Madden. They are two people I'm in love with. And they -- over large quantities of alcohol, I might add! -- uncorked Beckett for me. Because they knew him. And Louis reminds me of Beckett because he comes from that measured place."

Beckett also was, of course, heavily influenced by painting. As in Casper David Friedrich's work Two Men Contemplating the Moon, which inspired the setting for Waiting for Godot. Likewise, Beckett was similarly influenced by cinema, by the likes of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton and did, during the '60s, write a script for Keaton called Film. All of which makes this project of finally filming all of Beckett's plays a closure of a kind. Bono agrees.

"I don't know that painting but I'd love to see it," he enthuses. "And though I also didn't know -- as a fact -- that Beckett wrote a film for Buster Keaton, I knew it instinctively. That's why, years ago, when I gave books by Beckett to Michael Stipe, I said 'you've got to see the comic side of this. The Buster Keaton element to it all. Beckett is seriously funny! You'll laugh your hole off reading his books.' And, later, when Michael was living here I said 'have you got all those books I gave you?' And he said 'no, but now is the time, isn't it!' And we talked about Buster Keaton. And I must say that part of the reason I gave those Beckett books to Michael Stipe is because he always reminded me of Beckett's character Lucky! Michael Stipe can just sit there in the trash and look around and have you in a spell, while saying very little!"

Speaking of, eh, "trash" Bono also recalls a moment he offered "with Michael Colgan's permission" Vaclaf Havel a chance to "do" one of these Beckett movies.

"I was in Prague at that last World Bank thing he was hosting," says Bono. "And it was a beautiful thing to watch his eyes light up and realise that after all his time in politics he still would have done it. If he could. The look in his eye said 'I wish I could do that, instead of being here with all these fuckin' finance ministers! That's a better gig!' "

Re-focusing on Beckett, Bono says, "I really do admire so much of his work. Waiting for Godot would be my favourite play but I also read his novels,Murphy and so on. So I would have to say that, overall, I am a fan of Samuel Beckett -- from a distance."

In fact Bono is so much a "fan" of Sam the man that he once sent him a copy of U2's album The Unforgettable Fire!

"I don't know if he ever put it on the turntable. But it was nice to know it would be there, even under the fridge. Or wherever!"

That really is the essence of U2 being "cool" isn't it? Their album being kept under Beckett's fridge!

"I guess it is! U2 trying to heat up Beckett's fridge!" Bono laughs. "But he grows more serious when asked for his response to Beckett's claim that "to be an artist is to fail, as no other dare fail. Failure is his world."

"I really would identify with that," he says. "Because what I think Beckett is getting at is that you must get the fear of failure out of the way. Once you become a better failure you can really go places. For example, I have discussed this in the past. The constrictions of being cool. It's useless. And Lou Reed said that to me. He grew up in the '50s, with a '50s idea of what it means to be cool. It's a stranglehold. Besides, Irish people are not cool. By nature. We're hot. And bothered. But Beckett really was cool! Though maybe he exploded his coolness in the end."

Did U2? In the period between Pop and All That You Can't Leave Behind have Bono and his buddies burst beyond the "stranglehold" of being cool?

"We played it cool for about ten years," he says." And we got quite good at it! I was surprised!"

It was the shades, Bono!

"I don't know what it was, exactly, we did right, but you gotta admit we were cool! Yet we always saw it for what it was. We always knew it was a bit silly."

So U2 are now finally free to be "hot and bothered" again?

"Yeah, we are! But at the start of the '90s we realised that in order to touch and reach people during a new decade, we had to come in a different guise. So we did. Now the real challenge is to turn up without a mask. And I must tell you, it's not as easy to take the shades off as I thought it would be!"

Or, as Beckett says "what a curse, mobility"?

"Exactly!" laughs Bono." And speaking of mobility, I better go and get back to work on our tour!"
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Old 03-31-2006, 02:29 PM   #7
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Hi U2Soar. Thanks for posting that article. I read it at the time but had since forgotten about it. Obviously Bono's been a Beckett lover for a while.

I'm not sure when Bono wrote the pastiche, but he performed it just two days ago at Dublin Castle as part of the Beckett Centenary celebrations. You can hear the performance at U2Log. They have posted an Mp3. You need to listen to it; it's remarkable. If you can't find the link, I can try sending it to you.
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Old 03-31-2006, 04:20 PM   #8
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Thanks Biff - shoot me an e-mail john.soltis@sympatico.ca
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Old 03-31-2006, 04:35 PM   #9
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This is absolutely fantastic! Yet more proof that Bono is quite the impressive fuckin' man. Definitely check out the audio at u2log.com. I'm downloading it now....I'd assume it's postable here, so I'll put it up when I'm done.
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Old 03-31-2006, 04:44 PM   #10
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Here it is:

http://s39.ysi.com/d.aspx?id=07CHI5JAWGZLM33SL07POXW47Y
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Old 03-31-2006, 07:44 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by U2Soar
Thanks Biff - shoot me an e-mail john.soltis@sympatico.ca
Utoo just posted the ysi file here. Let me know if that doesn't work and I, with my limited (pathetic actually) technical ability will attempt to send it your way.

Thanks Utoo!
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Old 03-31-2006, 08:16 PM   #12
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hehe...no worries
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Old 04-01-2006, 01:14 AM   #13
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I just want to tell everybody that you should take this opportunity to leap into Beckett's work--he was not only the greatest dramatist of the 20th Century, but also one of the four or five greatest novelists.

Read Endgame, Waiting for Godot, More Pricks Than Kicks, Krapp's Last Tape, Malloy, Malone Dies, and The Unnamable before it's too late.

If you let them, they will change your life. Take Bono's word, this time. It's finally not a lot of hot air and hogwash. Forget Jordan and The Crying Game, and get your groove on with some psychotically brilliant, funny, touching, and explosively minimal writing. I beg you. Please.
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Old 04-01-2006, 01:40 AM   #14
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wow that was awesome...I don't know much about Beckett, but I take it he writes like this?

Does anyone thing Bono actually sounds Irish in that clip, btw, I mean like he actually has an irish accent
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Old 04-01-2006, 03:50 PM   #15
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Old 04-01-2006, 03:51 PM   #16
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tnx Utoo
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Old 04-02-2006, 05:14 AM   #17
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Well this is a step up from the usual "should Bono wear his shades or not" debate.
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Old 04-02-2006, 07:57 AM   #18
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Don't be absurd.

And yes that was a drama student pun.
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Old 04-02-2006, 04:54 PM   #19
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He sounds really good reading that! But I could listen to Bono read the back of a cereal box and not get bored.
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Old 04-03-2006, 10:21 AM   #20
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Thanks Biff aqnd Utoo. I was able to get it. Wonderful stuff!
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