Recently I have been reading Bono on Bono: Conversations with Michka Assayas. Michka Assayas is a music journalist and novelist who lives and works in Paris. He met Bono in London in 1980, and was the first journalist to champion US outside Ireland and the United Kingdom. Bono and Michka spent two years putting the book together through telephone calls and meetings in Dublin, Paris, Bologna and on the French Riviera.
I’ve been a U2 fan for many years enjoying the depth and variety of their music – the way they share timeless truths in such current ways, so I was intrigued to read this book. The book covers much of what has been written about before, but it brings it all into one place, and adds a new dimension or layer to some of the stories as Bono opens up under Michka’s questioning.
Included in the book is Bono’s mother’s death, his troubled upbringing, the start of U2, what each of the band would do if they weren’t in the band. The usual topics of international aid and politics (although interestingly much less on the turmoil and politics of Ireland), economics, philanthropy, Bono’s Christian faith and his views on God are all spoken and written about. But we also get to hear of some great anecdotes including sleeping in Brezhnev’s bed, having Gorbachov turn up for Sunday lunch (having forgotten he was coming and having not told his wife!), been chastised by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, giving sunglasses to the Pope and more.
Throughout the book Bono comes across as deeply rooted in his Christian faith, and it is that that he believes has helped to keep him grounded. He is clearly a man with many ambitions, and has already had a lasting impact not just on the music industry, but also the way the Western world engages in international aid and brings poverty relief.