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The Letter U and the Numeral 2

I must have been around 1984 or 1985. I was working at the Taj Mahal, an Indian restaurant in East Lansing. In fact, I even got employee of the month there, but that's another story. Mostly I was back washing dishes, or maybe frying pakoras and samosas, or rolling out puris. But, my start was in the dishroom. I had bought this U2 album on cassette (are you old enough to remember when you could buy pre-recorded cassettes?) and I would jam to songs like "Sunday, Bloody Sunday" while I scrubbed and rubbed those pots and pans and loaded the plates and silverware into the old dish machine. I liked U2; their sound was fresh and their tunes were catchy.

Years later, while living in Durham, North Carolina, I would always keep a blank cassette in my boom box as I scrolled back and forth between UNC's student station (WXYC) and Duke's. I probably filled a hundred cassettes with music, each song with the first few notes clipped off. One day I heard this whacky amalgam of Casey Kasem and U2 called "The Letter U and the Numeral 2," which I later learned was by a group called Negativeland. What I didn't learn until years later was that the song caused U2's lawyers and label to make a big deal about intellectual property rights, and that the suits forced Negativeland to retract the recording.

This case, along with what is perceived as Bono's pretentiousness and lack of a deep understanding of the political issues which he cares passionately about, has caused a lot of people to be hatin' on ol' Bono. While I really don't want to pile on, I can't resist reprinting a little thing I found on WFMU's website:

Bono is at a U2 concert in Glasgow when he asks the audience for some quiet.

Then in the silence, he starts to slowly clap his hands.

Holding the audience in total silence, he says softly and seriously into the microphone ...

"Every time I clap my hands, a child in Africa dies......"

A voice from near the front pierces the silence: "Well, *&^%*$-ing' stop doin' it then!"



Dear Mr. Vox

That's cool.
Just yesterday I was telling someone that I've never owned a U2 album and that in the 80's I was in my "U2 SUCKS" phase. (Equivalent to DISCO SUCKS of the 70's)
It was nice to go to the link in this post and see that U2 still sucks! haha
Sorry, I just never "got them" before they were "Big", and couldn't stand them after they were.

Re: Dear Mr. Vox

Yeah, Dandy, if I had time I could lost in this mess!, I mean reading all the documents that are out there and listening to the MP3 files. My "getting" U2 was just a passing fad, didn't stick, and after that cassette, I never bought anything else. But I wish I could have been more open-minded about disco! It wasn't so bad after all! Yeah, and I love hearing the things Casey Kasem said when his mic wasn't live.

Re: Dear Mr. Vox

The reason U2 came up in conversations for me lately was because I was realizing that I had never owned any. Sometimes I'll hear some real real cool guitar riffs from Joshua Tree and start thinking that I may be ready to start liking them. Then I remember Bono Vox and I can't get past him. I can, however, stomach some disco in small doses. (in a nostalgic kind of way.) Remember when we didn't like Rap before in turned into Hip-Hop? haha. I think maybe there just isn't enough time to like everything at any given time so some things get pushed out of the way until your ready to accept them in a different state of mind.


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May 2018



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