Jake O'Kane: 'I agreed with all Bono had to say'

I was at the U2 concert in Belfast last weekend; such is the price I pay for being married to a super-fan. I almost swallowed my tongue when, printing out the tickets, I saw the price...

Jake was worried to find himself in agreement with Bono's speechifying
Jake O'Kane

I TURNED to the wife, exasperated, asking, “£191 for two tickets?”. How wrong was I, for no sooner had I said this than the printer coughed out the second ticket, bearing the same price.

£382 is more than I paid for my first car; admittedly it was a banger and was purchased over 40 years ago, but still. I can’t deny it was a brilliant show, worth seeing for the staging alone.

If video killed the radio star, U2 have killed the average concert.

If I had one small gripe, it would be Bono – not his singing, as he still has a brilliant singing voice; it’s when he starts talking that I bridle.

There’s an old joke: what’s the difference between God and Bono? Answer: God doesn’t think he’s Bono. However, at one stage in the concert, I suspected he might have supernatural powers when a man in the audience started waving his crutches in the air. I recorded him, making sure not to show the guy’s face in case the DLA were watching.

You can just imagine his next interview: "You told us you need walking aids; can you explain then how you were filmed dancing at a U2 concert?".

Bono gave so many self-righteous monologues I renamed them 'Bonologues'. Topics ranged from the dangers of Brexit to the Brazilian election, but what added to my annoyance was that I agreed with all he had to say.

He even got into the Halloween spirit, with computer wizardry turning him into a devil called MacPhisto who celebrated the demise of our Assembly and congratulated our politicians on RHI and burning money.

Despite this, during yet another of his indignant rants, I had to bite my hand to stop myself screaming "Pay your taxes, you hypocrite!".

And then Halloween came along. I’m not a big fan of that either, my biggest gripe being fireworks. I hate the damn things. No-one seems to take notice of legislation brought in prohibiting the use of fireworks here without a licence.

While much is made of the effect of fireworks on pets, when bangers go off you’ll find me, a child of the 70s, under the kitchen table with the dog.

It was whilst appearing at the Edinburgh Comedy Festival for the first time that I became aware of how sensitive I am to unexpected loud noises. I was taking a stroll down Princes Street one lunchtime when a cannon was fired in the castle.

Seemingly this happens every day at 1pm, and is traditional: nobody had informed me of this fact and I ended up cowering in a shop doorway.

I’m old enough to remember buying fireworks over the counter as a child. Children today are banned from even buying flour and eggs at Halloween. What kills me is that many of the people complaining about kids throwing eggs and flour spent most of their own childhood throwing bricks and petrol bombs.

Not that Halloween was always as big as it is today. I marvel at the intricacy and expense of children's costumes. In my day, a Halloween costume consisted of a black bin liner pulled over your head – no worries about health and safety – holes were cut for your head and arms, and off you went.

Derry once again proved itself the centre of Halloween festivities, with few cities in the whole of Europe putting on such a show. Just why Derry has taken the celebration to heart is up for discussion, but there is absolutely no doubt it leads the field.

As is too often the case, however, we saw the best and the worst of the north over the Halloween celebrations. I don’t want to pause too long on the bunch of morons who donned Ku Klux Klan robes and danced around Newtownards. I've absolutely no doubt if they took the pointy hats off we'd see they had pointy heads.

It is totally unacceptable to excuse such crass racism as 'high jinx' - that they halted to have their picture taken outside an Islamic prayer room proves their intent was to intimidate.

They failed, instead bringing right-thinking people together in condemnation of their actions. But that’s enough ink wasted on a bunch of wasters.

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