Life

Radio review: Bono tells of early grief and secret sibling

Bono, aka Paul Hewson

Desert Island Discs Radio 4

GUBU Podcast, Irish Times

Bono’s mention of his half-brother – a man he didn’t know about for many years - made headline news last week.

The U2 frontman featured on Desert Island Discs where he chatted with Lauren Laverne about his family, his music, his activism.

“I do have another brother who I love and adore, that I didn’t know I didn’t have,” he told Lauren Laverne on Desert Island Discs.

His mother suffered a brain aneurysm at her own father’s funeral in 1974 and died. She didn’t know her husband had had a child with another woman.

From such early grief, growing up in an all-male household, Bono said he moved on to form another family – that was U2.

His name came from a school friend who nicknamed him after a hearing aid shop in Dublin called Bono Vox.

He has been known as that since he was 14.

He admitted that there was a Bono who had a “bit of an annoying gene … a bit of a squeaky wheel … that version I could do without”.

His music choices ranged from La Traviata to Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds’ Dead in the Water to Simple Minds.

As to why U2 are still together after 40 years?

Unfinished business, comes the reply, they still have more to do.

The stranger than fiction tale of one Malcolm Daniel Edward Macarthur - a podcast from Irish Times political correspondent Harry McGee - is worth catching.

Think bow ties, cravats, silk handkerchief and cultured accent – Macarthur did not present as the violent murderer he turned out to be.

His crimes date back to 1982 when he murdered nurse Bridie Gargan in a brutal attack in Phoenix Park. She was sunbathing in the park when he bludgeoned her with a hammer.

Her killing led to what was, up to that time, the biggest murder hunt in the history of the Irish state.

It’s a story with a huge twist. The denouement seems hardly credible.

The case led to the resignation of the attorney general and threatened to topple the government of Charles J Haughey.

As for the name of the podcast … that acronym went down in Irish history.

GUBU is short for Haughey’s words calling the case “Grotesque, Unbelievable, Bizarre and Unprecedented”.

It is still used at times to describe notorious scandals.

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