Rattle And Hum
An unexpected stroke of luck saw me invited to a U2 concert in Nice as – and this is the best part – a personal guest of the band’s manager, Paul McGuinness.
Oh, I know I don’t sound a bit cool, but I was thrilled. What’s not to like?
One. It’s in Nice. Enough said.
Two. It’s an open air show in a location where there’s no risk of the weather gate-crashing the party.
Three. There’s a VIP tent where you can sip wine and mingle with the band beforehand. Or if you’re part of the Irish contingent, you can pretend not to recognise them in case they get above themselves.
So when the email popped up from Paul McGuinness, wondering if we might be available, my fingers moved so fast over the ‘yippee’ letters on my keyboard, sparks flew.
We thought we were unfashionably early arrivals at the hospitality tent – did I mention it was for VIPs? – but it was already crowded.
There’s Adam Clayton, looking a little peaky – the papers said he’d been unwell. Here’s Jim Sheridan, crikey, he’s in a tearing hurry. Isn’t that Julian Lennon? The girl he’s with looks bored to tears. Hey, it’s Prince Albert, Grace Kelly’s son. The blonde next to him must be the South African swimmer he’s due to marry.
I’m telling you, this tent was spy heaven. No wonder we just stood there and gawked. Until all of a sudden, I realised somebody couldn’t tear their eyes away from me. It was a woman. When I stared back, she took it as an invitation to approach and introduce herself.
She turned out to be an American widow, living in the south of France. I judged her to be a merry widow indeed if those sparklers at her ears, throat and wrist were genuine. She was certainly putting the rock into rock concert.
As we talked, her gaze kept drifting to my left arm. After a few minutes, she cut to the chase. Locking eyes with me, she lowered her voice. ‘I couldn’t help noticing your bangle.’ A gilt snake with pinprick diamanté eyes was coiled just above my elbow.
‘I have to know,’ she continued, ‘where did you come by it?’
‘In Clery’s,’ I said.
‘Clery’s? I see. Is it … admission by appointment only?’
‘No, it’s open to all comers. It’s a department store.’
There was a long pause while she digested this. ‘You know what it means, don’t you?’
‘That I like slave bangles?’
‘It means you’re a member of the reptilian bloodline.’
‘I don’t think so. My brother did the family tree.’
She ignored the interruption. ‘You bought that bangle because you were drawn to it. Your reptilian heritage directed you towards it.’
‘I bought it because it was on sale. Thirty per cent off.’
Her look contained pity mixed with reproof. ‘Don’t deny your birthright. You are one of the reptilian elect, descended from the Babylonians, who in turn were descended from another race. A race which landed on earth in a space ship seven thousand years ago. They taught humans mathematics and astrology. You don’t think man discovered these subjects on his own, do you?’
‘I never gave it much thought. Are you, um, a reptile yourself?’
‘Of course. President Obama and Diana Ross are also carriers of the reptilian bloodline. As is Adam Clayton. We are everywhere. We are powerful. We will be calling on you soon to fulfil your destiny.’
Just then, my partner appeared at my side. ‘Time to go into the concert,’ he said.
‘Thanks for rescuing me,’ I muttered, as we backed away.
‘I’m not rescuing you, you’re rescuing me. I was trapped by her friend: a grade A nutter.’
‘She can’t have been as bad as mine,’ I said. Just a little competitively.
‘Oh no? She told me the World Trade Centre was bombed specifically to destroy the Securities and Exchange Commission, on one of its floors. It was holding documents that incriminated Martha Stewart.
I said to her: “Are you suggesting Martha Stewart, domestic goddess, was in league with terrorists?”
“Shsh, she whispered, ‘the CIA might be listening.” ’
Now don’t get me wrong, the U2 concert was good. Very good.
But the reptilian bloodline and Martha Stewart’s Al-Qaeda conspiracy were a hard act to follow – even for Bono.