Tuesday, September 19, 2006

"Fuck you and your finger food"

Over on NME.com, you can read a delightful report of a happy report of Bono introducing Damien Rice at some sort of fashion launch event for Bono and wife's Edun range of vaguely ethical clothes.

It's notable for the complete oversell Bono does on Rice:

What you're about to hear and see is like being at a Bob Dylan gig in the early Sixties or a Cat Stevens gig in the early Seventies or James Taylor, or something extraordinary.

"Damien Rice is able to still and distil the storms into quiet reflection. He's really a remarkable talent, I can't quite believe that he's here. I'm very humbled and very honoured and I would ask New York to give him the kind of welcome only New York, only Manhattan can, and then give him the silence he deserves because this is something very special."

Damien Rice playing a couple of songs is not very, very special - it's less Cat Stevens in the early 70s, more Cat Deeley on a Stars In Their Eyes Children's Special. And if it was such an epoch-making event, you wouldn't need to beg the audience to hush up to listen to him; the point about (the young) Bob Dylan - what made him Bob Dylan - was that if he played, people paid attention.

Unsurprisingly, even with (perhaps because of) Bono trying to get the crowd to put their fingers on their lips, nobody paid any attention to Rice, and his set consisted of two songs and a lot of primadonna begging to be heard.

Aaron S, however, emails with a link to a slightly more revealing report on Empire State View, which picks up the story after Rice had slunk offstage. The audience, it seems, were about to get an old-fashioned telling off:

The drama was not yet over!! Not content with having staged a fashion launch without a single piece of clothing in sight (not even one of the shapeless "One" t-shirts), Bono then came back onstage to make some closing remarks, rattled on for a minute or so and then, tired of having the whispered conversations of a handful of party-goers rasp cruelly on his sensitive eardrums, roared to the emaciated throng: "YOU KNOW WHAT? FUCK YOU AND YOUR FUCKING FINGER FOOD!!! WE'RE TRYING TO DO SOMETHING HERE AND ETC ETC ETC" This is pretty much an exact quote, folks. Fuck you and your finger food. Two fingers to finger food, if you will (to add insult to injury, the finger food was kind of disgusting. It stank the room out, and smelt a bit like sick, which is a not unusual smell at fashion shows, but hardly the effect Edun was going for).

We thought Bono's stance was that you had to approach charity as if it was just another commodity - that's what's behind the starving-children-as-brand-values of Red, isn't it? So if that's the bargain you've made, how can you expect people treat just-another-brand-launch as if it was something special? Either you're a charity - in which case, handing out free goodie bags to the likes of Lindsay Lohan's mother is a questionable way to promote yourself; or else you're a business, in which case you can't expect people to treat you like you're the Pope. Make your mind up, Vox.

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