The Twat in a Hat

Posted: August 21, 2011 in About Me

Pens at the ready
Reporters, report!
The news just came in
From the Dublin High Court –

The case of the stylist with no leg to stand on
Who brought such a case with such ruthless abandon
A case she could never have hoped to have won
Has been lost.
But of course.
Now it’s over and done.

Let’s start at the start, where most tales often do
With a baby, a boy who like most babies – grew
But whose growing was out of proportion, you see,
For his body:head ratio was at least 1:3
Like a weeble he wobbled but sometimes fell down
For his legs couldn’t carry his noggin around.
And his eyes, look, see! Far too big for their sockets
Like snooker balls heading for opposite pockets.

But big heads, small bodies, while strange in a boy
Are common in rock stars. So imagine his joy
When he found his strange shape had some use, after all:
And this way they’d love him.
Though bug-eyed.
Though small.

So the first thing he did was come up with a name
That would dovetail just so with his imminent fame.
“My real name – Paul – just won’t do. Oh no.
From now on (such trumpets will sound!) I am Bono.
In truth, Bono Vox. Let the minions rejoice!”
(Translated, it means in bad Latin, ‘good voice’.)

Then he gathered around him a tight little band:
A bassist so drunk he could just about stand
A good-looking drummer who couldn’t quite play
And a balding guitarist with a pedal delay
With a pedal delay with a pedal delay.
They named the band U2.
With a pedal delay.

So. We’ve come this far
But we know very little.
Enough of beginning –
Now on to the middle.

There are various ways to get noticed. Some think
You can shout very loudly. Make a big stink.
Kill someone famous. Go on Big Brother.
Marry a film star. Then marry another.
“There are easier ways of skinning a cat,”
Thought Bono – who went and acquired a big hat.
Just that. A hat. A stetson, in fact
Which gave him the status his empty head lacked.
I say “he acquired,” as opposed to “he bought” –
For when you’re a millionaire rock star of note
You don’t do the shopping. There are people for that.
“Fresh underpants, master. New socks. And a hat.”

Well he wore the hat here
And he wore the hat there
And it sat on the mullet
That passed for his hair.

He sang in the hat and he read in the hat.
(Some said they wished he was dead in the hat).
But no. That was it: Bono, hat.
The two went together like spoilt and brat
Inseparable, married, three marvelous years
Of man and chapeau sharing one pair of ears –
Then
dropped.
Separated.
Parted.
Divorced.
Rock’s own Lone Ranger without Silver, his horse.

And out with the bathwater went baby by chance –
The waistcoats, cowboy boots, black leather pants.
“From now on,” said Bono, “I’ll have tailored suits made
I’ll grow dignified stubble and always wear shades
No stetson or leather to suit my fresh start;
For a man, newly sanctified, needs to look smart.”

(Which he did, for a while, though the specs were just daft
Especially in very dark rooms. How we laughed
When he got himself stuck in a lemon one night
As he fumbled around for the switch to the light.)

So the ego went hatless and took to the streets –
So many African babies to meet!
They popped up whenever a camera was pointing
Catching him unawares – see him anointing
Their little black faces with stigmata’d hands?
(It was dark with the glasses. He thought they were fans).

Lunch with George W, tea with John Paul
Such heights for a man who was really quite small.
On top of the world with a Boomtown Rat,
Adieu to the past! (The trousers. The hat.)

So that was the middle,
And now it’s all gone
No time to hang round
For the end has begun…

In a passed-over shop in a passed-over street
Of the town where you live, all alone and discreet
On a shelf at the back where the sign says, Sale
Is a book, and that book is the cause of this tale.
Inside the Zoo with U2. That’s its name.
The book’s badly-written and dire. That’s a shame
Because here is the book that made Bono see red
Oh the tears that he shed! The crusade that he led
In defence of the twenty-six people who bought it!
“I’ll get even,” he hissed, “with the woman who wrote it!”

He stepped to the plate.
A swing of the bat.
Crying “This is for justice!
(And some pants, and a hat).”

Oh what a palaver! What a to-do!
As the chip on his shoulder it grew and it grew
With Bono declaring himself stabbed in the back –
“My honour and ego are under attack!
Crucified, scorned, like that time in the lemon
(Me and our Lord, we’ve got plenty in common)
Oh Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani!”
(Christ calls his Dad. Bono talks blarney.)

So for justice, then. For doing what’s right
Bono determined to fight the good fight.

Now the author (named Lola) had toured with U2
As the buyer of sunspecs and T-shirts and shoes
And undies and socks for the band. And trousers.
Vests for the drummer. A few frilly blouses.
And a hat. That hat. That stetson, size 10.
Need I remind you – apologies! – again?
How he wore the hat here
And he wore the hat there
And it sat on the mullet
That passed for his hair?

(Some say that Lola should’ve earlier been charged
By the style police. Stiff sentence, very large
Fine, thirty-five licks of the cat
For giving the world – what a rat! – the hat.)

But there was our man, the last day of that tour
Our backstage Messiah, pop’s entrepreneur
Sallying forth from the shower’s apt cloud
Half-naked, sweating, addressing the crowd –
Which was Lola. The singular Lola remained.
“Everyone had to… rush off,” she explained
And our hero, bereft in the valley of plenty
The rockstar whose stadium is suddenly empty
Cried “Lola! Nobody loves me! It’s true!”
And Lola replied, “Er… I’ve got to go, too.”

So down on one knee, torso bared, croaky voice
The Man Who Would Save All The World made a choice,
Pleading “Lola. Friend. Soulmate. Amigo.
Don’t leave me alone with this oversized ego!
This demonic bloodsucking vampire bat
Has outgrown me. Now it won’t fit in my hat.”

And grabbing said hat from off his said head
Pleaded “Here, take this gift!”
So she did.
Then she fled.
A backward glance, a stolen look –
Then off home to write it all up in a book.

Which brings us back neatly to Dublin’s High Court
Nineteen years on as reporters report
And Lola, accused, holds her head in her hands
‘Til the Judge bangs his gavel and loudly demands
That she take to the stand. “Take to the stand!”
In the case of herself versus U2, the band.
The case of the singer who took home his bat
Who roared like a lion and cried like a rat
Who hired the best lawyers to beat on the brat
And whose unhatted head, like his wallet, grew fat.

The Judge gave B. Vox such obsequious respect
As to remind one of The OJ Simpson effect
To wit: Judge, though in charge, is quite clearly in awe
And for a couple of autographs will sell out the law.
“Here you go, Your Honour – from Bono, with love.
Free tickets? No problem. Here Sir, hold my gloves –”

So the hat and the pants were thus placed on display
And paraded and prodded then taken away
While the Judge and Sir Bono slapped each other’s backs
And made jokes about wigs, about pants, about hats.
At some point in proceedings – in no sense ironic –
Bono described the old hat as “iconic”
As if he’d invented it, made it OK
To be clueless and copyist. Cowboy as cliché.
Ten-gallon Gump with his one-gallon brain
Amateur ham ends up playing The Dane
King of the sandcastle, Lord of the Prance
Reunited with hat, at last. (And pants.)

So. Pens at the ready
Reporters, report!
The news just came in
From the Dublin High Court –

This case – which should never have even begun –
Is concluded. Finished. Bono has won.

But let it be known that in lieu of this act
(This crusade to obtain both the hat and pants back)
That Bono, resplendent in stetson and leather,
Shall be known as the Twat in the Hat. Forever.

Dr Sue Us

And if you want the bare facts (such as they are), here is a copied, unattributed (Boff, what’s the attribution?) news story below…

 

“He is used to performing before thousands of adoring fans but U2’s frontman Bono took centre stage yesterday in the hushed and solemn surroundings of Dublin’s High Court.

The judge and lawyers were concerned not with his hits but with his hat, for the internationally famous singer was there to give evidence in a long-running case concerning his familiar Stetson.

Ownership of the hat is no trivial matter in the eyes of both Bono  and the Lola Cashman, the former stylist who both claim ownership of the headgear. He regards it as an icon in the band’s history – she claims he gave it to her.

The dispute dates back almost two decades. Last year, an Irish court found in favour of Bono but Ms Cashman has launched an appeal.

Although after 19 years the question of ownership might be viewed as old hat, the legal dispute is still going on. Ms Cashman had previously been ordered to hand back the hat and other items including trousers, a sweatshirt and hooped earrings , dating back to the band’s 1987 Joshua Tree tour.

That was the outcome of a case last year when Bono, whose real name is Paul Hewson, and other band members  successfully sued for the return of the material. Ms Cashman denied she had kept them without permission, maintaining they had been given to her.

Last year’s hearing caused some bemusement when what some saw as a trivial issue became the subject of solemn legal proceedings. Yesterday’s further legal sequel again propelled an item of rock headgear  into the world of wigs and gowns.

In court Bono – hatless but resplendent in a chocolate-brown suit and wearing rose-coloured tinted glasses – described Ms Cashman being hired at what he said was a very big moment in the band’s career.

He said: “Everything had come right for us. We had a lot of songs on radio around the world and particularly in the US we had a couple of No 1 singles.” But they wanted a more stylish image, he indicated, and Ms Cashman “had a very good eye – she had a lot more experience than us.”

He had already had the idea of making a Stetson hat  a trademark, regarding it as a piece of American iconography. “It was always part of my idea of how I wanted to present myself to the world in an ironic sense,” he explained.

He stressed it was important to the band to keep a record of their memorabilia either to archive or donate, adding: “We thought it would have some importance of the history of the band. We hoped we would be around long enough to be part of that.”

Bono said Ms Cashman had been hired to replace the band’s usual stylist, who was on maternity leave. He continued: “It was very clear on almost immediate arrival she wasn’t good in dealing with personal relationships, and initially put a lot of people’s noses out of place.”

The Joshua Tree  tour was a key moment in the rise of U2: they were already an established band but the tour helped them ascend into the stratosphere of superstardom. Bono has become not just a rock star but an important world figure.

In the years that followed the tour, the band and Ms Cashman have not had a cordial relationship, partly because she wrote an unauthorised account of behind-the-scenes life with them during that tour.
Her book appeared to create little impact, possibly because it seemed to pale into insignificance when compared to other rock memoirs. The account concentrated on rock’n’roll and was utterly devoid of any suggestions of sex and drugs.

Instead of producing startling and sensational revelations, its disclosures were limited to unexciting material such as Bono’s reported worries over his height and weight.

It was in 2000, more than a decade after her employment with the band ended, that Ms Cashman put some memorabilia up for auction at Sotheby’s. Then two years later, when she put other items up for sale at Christies, she received letters from the band’s lawyers asking for their return.

In response she opened legal proceedings against the band in London, claiming the letters she received were defamatory.”

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