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Old 04-01-2003, 08:11 AM   #1
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Experience : Finding Hanover

By Devlin Smith

[SIMG]http://bonovox.interference.com/experience/bonochestthumb.jpg [/SIMG]

My friend Jenny and I first started talking because I couldn’t find Hanover Quay and she could. To be fair, she had a Dubliner to lead her through the nameless streets and I had only myself, and two less-than-perfect maps of the city to guide me. While she had no problem making it to the ridiculously nondescript building with its blue steel doors, I crossed streets and bridges looking for some sign, any sign that U2 was in the neighborhood and came up empty-handed.

We both went to Ireland last year, only a few weeks apart. I had only two days in Dublin, devoted a small part of my morning to the Hanover search and quickly gave up. Jenny made it to Hanover, parked herself on the bench so thoughtfully provided by the local concrete company and wound up meeting The Edge.

I was jealous; completely, utterly jealous that not only could Jenny find the studio, but she also found The Edge. We began a friendly taunting game at that point, she’d talk about meeting The Edge at Hanover, I’d talk about meeting Bono in Los Angeles. Soon we were exchanging videos and bootlegs.

Then late last year, Jenny started talking about going back to Ireland. She and another U2 fan Katty were making plans and asked if I’d like to join. Taking a ridiculous fare sale by Aer Lingus as a sign from God, I said yes and we made all the necessary arrangements to spend one lovely February week in Dublin. And without question, Hanover was going to be a stop.

The plan was to meet at the Upper Crust bakery in the arrivals terminal at Dublin Airport as soon as my flight landed. I was flying from Los Angeles to Chicago, switching flights, and going on to Dublin. The girls were meeting in Newark and heading to Dublin. They made their flights perfectly; I missed my connector and ended up on another flight to Shannon, on the west coast of Ireland.

That first day, after meeting at the airport and dropping our stuff off at our hotel, we were to go to Hanover. If we met anyone from U2, it would be a really great start to our trip; if we didn’t, we’d have a chance to come back later. Instead, I was on a train from Limerick to Dublin, my suitcase in the Bermuda Triangle or something, and Jenny and Katty were having fun in the city without me.

Okay, so that first day might have been a bust but I did make it to Dublin, met up with the girls and was promised by Aer Lingus that my bag would be at the hotel the next afternoon. Thankfully I had a change of clothes in my carry-on bag and was ready for Hanover.

The next morning I called Aer Lingus again, my bag was on its way to Dublin and would be at my hotel within hours. With that cleared up, I was ready to meet someone from U2, preferably The Edge, hopefully The Edge, but I wasn’t picky.

We all had little things to be signed; Jenny had CD sleeves, Katty had a poster. I had the latest Propaganda that Bono had signed before the Golden Globes in January, my plan was to get each of the guys to sign what may be the final issue of their fanzine.

We had breakfast at Bewley’s on Westmoreland Street and then headed off to the studio. Jenny led the way, trying her best to remember which street to turn down. As we got further from the city center there were fewer and fewer people. Sidewalks disappeared and were replaced by muddy paths. There were no street signs. The occasional local watched the three of us walking down these nearly deserted streets - we were pretty sure they knew exactly where we were going.

We looked down each side street for the studio until Jenny stopped. “This is it,” she said.
It was so exciting to actually stand outside the Hanover Quay studio; insane amounts of great music had been created in this warehouse-looking building. We sat on the little bench across the street from the studio and waited for something to happen.

It was just after 11 a.m., a little early by rock star standards, so we figured we’d be hanging out for a while. Jenny and Katty decided to take a walk and get pictures of the Point and other little U2-related landmarks seen in the “Pride” video and “Rattle & Hum.” I stayed behind to hold down the fort.

There was quite a bit of activity at Hanover that day. I stayed on the bench watching the goings on, and was digging around in my bag for a moment when a guy walked by and asked if there’d been any action that morning. I told him I hadn’t seen that much (meaning no band yet), he told me he’d been waiting at the studio three days to meet Bono with no luck, although he had met Edge the day before.

As this guy Dave and I are talking, Dallas Schoo, Edge’s guitar tech, gets out of his car and comes over to us. He talked to Dave first; Dave explaining to Dallas why he wanted to meet Bono so badly (short version - Dave’s friend lost his wife and U2’s music helped him during that time, Dave wanted to get Bono’s autograph for that friend). Then Dallas turns to me, extends his hand and says, “I’m Dallas, what’s your name?” and I tell him, then he tells us that definitely some of the guys are coming in. Before he leaves, Dallas gives Dave and I each a guitar pick made especially for Bono for the 2002 Super Bowl.

Cars and trucks are tearing up and down the street and we watch about a half-dozen near hits. Trucks are backing in and out of the driveways along the street, making a ton of noise and sometimes blocking our view of the studio. Because of this we half-see one of the band members arrive and can’t tell who it is or if they’ll come out, but we’re giddy and hopeful regardless because now we know without a doubt that someone from U2 is in the building.

It was a little cold outside the studio, actually we could see our breath, but the sun was shining so beautifully and providing just enough warmth. I washed my hair that morning and had it pulled up but thought that maybe the sun could speed up the drying process. From time to time I would check my reflection in car windows to make sure that my curls were under control and that I wasn’t beginning to resemble Roseanne Roseannadanna.
We kept watch on the doors and windows of the studio, waiting for something, anything to happen. Finally, I saw some figures moving past the glass brick windows on the second floor and very soon after a door opened. Two girls came out accompanied by Bono. He looked over at us, Katty and I sitting on the bench, Jenny standing on one side, Dave on the other. I waved and he smiled. It occurred to me how bizarre it was that for the third time in my life I was standing across the street from Bono, seconds away from talking to him.

Bono chatted with the two girls for a while but kept looking over to us, I guess to let us know that he would be coming. The girls left, and Bono crossed the street. He looked amazing, better than I’ve ever seen him. He was dressed in black cargo pants, a black V-neck sweater with a white T-shirt underneath and a worn-in black leather jacket. His hair was super wavy with this mad little cowlick in the back. He seemed to be working on a beard, a stunning mix of brown, gray and red hair was covering his jaw line, chin and upper lip. He had a white coffee cup in his left hand that he didn’t put down.

We were all standing back, waiting for him to make the first move. Bono walked up to Katty first, she asked for a picture and autograph. He said, “Okay, let’s go,” took her hand and pulled her off the bench. She asked if U2 would come to Puerto Rico, where she was from, he responded that he’d “love” to go to Puerto Rico. Jenny and I both took pictures of Bono and Katty.

I was next. Since he’d already signed my Propaganda, I had an index card for Bono to sign. The first time I met him, he drew a flower; this time I was hoping for one of his self-portraits. Before I could really ask anything Bono tells me to hold the card out for him, takes my pen and draws a wavy line, then another. It didn’t take me long to realize what he was drawing - me!

I was blown away; it was so sweet and cute. He drew in a bunch of waves for my hair, two half-moons for eyes, a half-moon nose, a check-mark mouth and a triangle chin. He drew a little heart and then signed “Bono 2003.” Jenny took a picture while I was holding the card and Bono was drawing.

Jenny was next. She brought her Pop CD sleeve (which Edge had signed for her the last time she was in Dublin) and her sister’s Best of 1990-2000 sleeve to be signed. “I love signing Pop,” Bono told her. On the greatest hits he wrote, “Buffalo Bono” on the buffalo shot. For the rest of the day I had “Buffalo Soldier” stuck in my head because of him.

Maybe it was because this was my third time meeting Bono, or maybe it was that there were so few of us and he was giving us so much of his time, but I really took this chance to catalog as much as I could about Bono. There were the buttons on his pants, the way his T-shirt peaked out under his sweater, his massive hands covered in light brown freckles, the lines on his forehead, his chunky gold pinky ring, the prominent holes in his ears - one off-center - because he wasn’t wearing earrings that day. My detail-obsessed side was in total heaven to have this opportunity to take Bono in piece by piece.
Then it was Dave’s turn. He told Bono the story about his friend so Bono drew a cross with the wife’s name on it and a little note. He was so thoughtful and really contemplated the message, just a total sweetheart.

We were all taking pictures and talking with Bono when Jenny asks if any of the other guys would be coming in to the studio that day. “I don’t know,” Bono replied. “We had a late night and they’re all soft.” Just a few moments later, I see a car pulling up to the studio. I look over Bono’s shoulder to see who it is, without a doubt it was The Edge.
Again, it occurs to me how strange life can be. For the second time I am talking with Bono and see The Edge, and am mere feet from The Edge. The first time, the day of the Golden Globes, he didn’t come over, he only waved. This time he had to come over, there was no way I’d strike out yet again.

I think I waved to Edge, but I can’t remember. I did look over to Bono and say, “Hey, I think your guitarist is here.” “Oh yeah?” Bono replied as he half looked over his shoulder at the arriving car.

It was getting time for Bono to go back inside so we all said our good-byes and thank yous. Jenny and Katty had bought a little gift for Larry, their fave, and we had each signed our names to little guitar Valentines for each of the guys. Jenny asked Bono if he could give the gift to Larry since she knew Larry didn’t usually come out to speak with fans. “That’s because he’s cold-hearted,” Bono replied as he took the gift. “He’s nothing like you,” I called back as he crossed the street.

We were all overjoyed, Dave especially. He thanked us for bringing him luck and left the studio, his quest completed. Ours, however, was not. Edge was in that building, I knew without a doubt, and I so wanted him to come out. The studio not being in the best possible neighborhood, we knew we weren’t going to stay past dark but had to hang out a little while longer. We decided to wait until 5 p.m., which gave us about an hour-and-a-half.

The sun was moving further and further behind the buildings and it was starting to get very cold, but we were going to stick it out. I started getting restless, though. I asked Jenny at least 20 times what time it was. Four o’clock, nothing; 4:30 nothing; 4:55, nothing.

Now was the time to make tough choices. The sun was setting, it would be dark within the hour, should we stay or should we go? “It’s up to you,” Jenny said. I looked at the girls, I looked at the building, I thought of Edge, I thought of three tourist girls walking through a desolate foreign neighborhood after dark. Just past 5 we decided to pack it in.
Of course, we each turned back a few dozen times as we walked away, just in case someone else came out. No dice. I blew the building a kiss and bid farewell to Hanover.
Since we were in the neighborhood we stopped at Docker’s for dinner and had the most amazing grilled cheese sandwiches in the history of the world. I read the U2 graffiti in the bathroom (a lot of notes to Bono, I wonder if he ever goes into the Ladies’ Room to check them out).

Back to the hotel after dinner I found my suitcase was waiting for me. It was a great end to a great day.

In addition to various cultural and historical landmarks, there were other U2 destinations during the trip like a stop at Rhythm Records - where I got two excellent bootlegs and a singles spree at the record shops on Grafton Street. Dinner at The Tea Room was amazing, particularly the cherry almond pie I had for dessert. Saturday, a glorious, cloudless day, we took the train to Dalkey and ended up walking past Bono’s house in Killiney, my new favorite place on Earth.

Okay, so I did strike out again Edge-wise, but it’s no big thing. As I said to Jenny and Katty before we embarked on this little vacation, U2 isn’t even one-tenth of what makes Ireland great, there’s the blue sky, the silver sea, the green hills, the friendly people, the old buildings, and I got to experience all that, in addition to meeting Bono. All in all, it was an amazing trip and I am so grateful to Jenny and Katty for letting me tag along.
Now it’s back to work, a few pictures, some great stories and the rock I brought back from Killiney Beach keeping me connected to Dublin. On the U2 front, it’s countdown to the Oscars where, hopefully, I’ll luck out and finally get to meet The Edge.

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Old 04-01-2003, 12:36 PM   #2
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What a wonderful story, Devlin! Thank you for sharing!!!
And that sweet drawing Bono made for you--how wonderful!

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Old 04-01-2003, 03:26 PM   #3
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Re: Experience : Finding Hanover

Wow, great story, Devlin! Bono's wonderful and the picture he drew for you was such a nice thing to do. I totally get inspired by these Bono-meetings-stories. I hope I'll get lucky someday as well. Hope you'd met Edge in L.A.!
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Old 04-01-2003, 06:28 PM   #4
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great story!

loved the larry is "cold hearted" bit hehe
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Old 04-01-2003, 08:24 PM   #5
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Devlin - It was such a pleasure meeting you in LA and I loved getting to see that drawing that Bono made of you, its too cute.
Thanks for all your encouragement and good luck, you told me it would happen, and it did.
Great story, you are a talented writer!
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Old 04-02-2003, 07:11 PM   #6
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I did not know about your story. I loved every minute of it. Thanks so much for posting it!

Um, funny thing about your story- other than the arriving in SHannon part and meeting U2 ( which I was not fortunate enough to do) your story is very very similar to mine!

right down to those yummy "toasted cheese" sandwiches at The Dockers!
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Old 04-02-2003, 07:12 PM   #7
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d - that is an awesome little pic he did for you!

Great write-up of your adventure, can't believe B's crack about Larry

Thanks for sharing your story
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Old 04-02-2003, 07:42 PM   #8
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Hey Dev!

Thanks for writing our story!

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Old 04-04-2003, 06:31 PM   #9
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Big Grin Awesome!

Was this recent? (Sorry if that's a stupid question) I need to know because I'll be in Dublin in June for a couple days and I need to take notes on this so I could meet Bono
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Old 04-06-2003, 03:23 PM   #10
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Re: Awesome!

Originally posted by MrsAdamClayton
Was this recent? (Sorry if that's a stupid question) I need to know because I'll be in Dublin in June for a couple days and I need to take notes on this so I could meet Bono

February 2003 Hope you meet him! And if you go to Dublin, please email me your story! We'd love to post it for you!!
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Old 04-14-2003, 10:22 AM   #11
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Old 04-25-2003, 05:45 AM   #12
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Absolutely Brilliant Devlin. You and your friends were so very fortunate in not only making it to Hanover Quay but to cap it all off by meeting with Bono...this is quite a rare occurance. Treasure it!
I've spent many, many, days outside the studio there, sitting on the self-same bench that you did, waiting in the hope that somehow, one of the band might make an appearance, but alas, I lost out.
Hanover Quay as you so eloquently expressed is not the most inviting of neighbourhoods and I remember the first time I eventually got to lay my eyes on U2's studio there in person, like you I was surprised...it's grey steel doors, its warehouse like appearance, surely this is not the recording base for the world's greatest musicians I thought...but it is...and the more I walked around and studied it, the more closer I became to U2.
This is area the guys adore. As Bono himself said, there is something peaceful even eerily sacred about Hanover Quay and the Grand Canal region that envelops it.
Your story brought a smile to my face and I'm so glad that the ending was nothing short of a fairytale for you and your friends.

Thank you for sharing it with us Devlin. I've printed it out and have shown it to several of my friends.

Recently, I decided to create a website, concentrating specifically on U2's affinity with Hanover Quay.

At present my site is temporarily done as I'm awaiting for my hosting company to receive my remittance. So, hopefully, it will be back on line within a week or so.

I've been prevented from including a hyperlink to my site as I've not made enough posts yet...

Once again, thank you for sharing your story...and I wish you every success in your quest to meet the edge.

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