Saturday, 16 May 2015

Life Should Be Fragrant.

This morning I spilt custard all over one of my favourite Bono photos:

Why is it my favourite? Well - that hand Bono is about to grab and hold for about twenty seconds straight while singing straight to that person in front of a crowd of 60,000 people?

ME. Me .. he grabbed my sweaty manhand.

U2 kicked off a new tour last night and so far they haven't announced any dates in Australia so I want to go see them overseas somewhere - maybe London or Spain. Ireland? Who wants to come with? Just general admission tickets ... then we can line up all day from 6am like I did in November 2006 and somehow ended up with the best vantage point ever.

EVER. Right at the end of the catwalk, where Bono spent the majority of his time. You could not pay for what I felt that night. Music is transformative and healing.

I'll never forget when the band walked out and Bono just strutted straight towards me, to the opening strains of "City of Blinding Lights" and he was wearing his black rosemary beads that Pope John Paul had personally given him and he was so close to me I reached out and touched his shoe. They had lifts in them, he's such a shortarse. He looked out at the huge, seething mass of humanity and I caught him say so softly that his mike didn't even pick it up:


Directly behind me. 

He was blown away by the crowd just as much as we were blown away by the band. I believe it mandatory to write "See U2 live in concert" at the top of your bucket list even if you think Bono's an arrogant shit or they're not that great ...  swear to heavens, you see U2 live in concert and you feel something bigger than you. You become part of something. The four guys always pray before they go onstage, asking for Spirit to join them.

Spirit does.

I was so close that after I snapped that photo of Bono I had to put my camera down. It seemed impolite to put my camera in his face when he was just a few centimetres away, mostly singing just to me because I'm *pretty* sure that a scrap of his soul recognised mine. You know when you know that you're cut from the same cloth as somebody?


I felt such pure, unadulterated joy that night. All real, all worth every single hard moment of my life up until that very second.

I've seen them play a few times since and even met and introduced myself to Bono in the Sydney Opera House carpark but nothing comes close to that night, when he looked at everybody in the crowd but his gaze kept coming back on me. And I didn't fangirl or scream or go nuts ... I just smiled at him, probably the biggest most beautiful smile my face can do. I thanked him with my eyes, for all of the hope and expression and pain and love in his music; and how much it's helped me over the years.

(It kind of shattered me a bit when he dedicated the song to Cate Blanchett ... wanted to reach up to his lapels and pull him down and say, ummm Paul I'm sure you mean EDEN RILEY??!)

That's a clip from the exact concert I was at. An indigenous young guy accompanied the band with his didgeridoo to the song "Kite." It's a song about how hard it is to let go when you don't want to - I watched it just now and teared up. It's surreal, knowing I was right there in front looking up as Bono cut the kite string. I remember watching it float off slowly, with the spotlight on it until nobody could see it anymore.


I've experienced a hell of a lot of loss in my life. Isn't it funny how you never know what's going to happen next? Never would I dream that I'd be letting go of so much since - my stepfather. My marriage. My brother.

Some things are much, much harder to let go than others. Oh boyo that's the truth.

Life has been exceedingly difficult and full of a lot of suffering these past few years. But I am still here, even with a bit of hope. Even making some new plans! And just because I may not write in this space all the time does not mean I have fallen apart or everything has turned to dust. I just can't write when my life feels especially too heavy to write about. It'd be inappropriate and wrong. So I haven't. No biggie.

I've been blasting a lot of U2 lately which is an awesome sign because when I'm going through incredibly rough times, they're the LAST band I listen to. Too much pesky love and hope and faith and grace and resilience and it's so easy to be jaded and morbid ugh siri what even is life?

Life is this thing that we're all in, together. Whether we know it or even like it, we're living it. Some of us better than others. Thank god it ends eventually - I'd never drink from the fountain of youth. I'm here, I've experienced and felt and done stuff. Beam me up when you're ready, Universe.

You ever wonder what's next?

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