Livy “discovers” U2, 1979

Excerpt: Chapter 11, Ticket to Ride

On assignment  for the New Yorker in Dublin, Livy has a chance “meeting” with a new band called U2 at Trinity College.

Pictures in grey, Dorian Grey, just me, by the sea. And I felt like a star, felt the world could go far, if they listened to what I say…” – U2

Trinity College. Old stone, arches, the Book of Kells, for a pound you can read it. Everything has a price.

Music is streaming in through the corridors. Raw, but heartfelt. One o’clock, I’m late, where’s Hope in all this, crowds. The courtyard is full of hippie-ish kids, some with Mohawks and looking very down, all an extension of the Beat. Kerouac, dead in 1969. Didn’t know what he’d created.

“We’re U2 and we’re calling this one, sumthin’ like ‘Whatever happened to Pete the Chop.’” shouted the lead singer.

Like a little coal-miner he is. Coal-miner with blue eyes and soul. Awkward bunch.

“Thank you, don’t mention it… I’m pleased to meet you…” he sang.

Indeed. There’s Hope.

“Heya lovey.” Livy shouted.

Hope turned to the sound of her voice, stepped away from her contingent of all the contingents.

“Hey Liv, you mind if I call you Liv?”


“Glad you could make it. Aren’t they fuckin’ brilliant.”

“The little one’s like a sawed-off Morrison. Great sound.”

“You missed the first two but these are the best.”

“Come over with me and I’ll introduce ya to some of my friends. Might be a story here.”

“Not looking for stories at the moment. Just cruisin’’ really.”

“Just meet’em. They’re a good lot.”

“The singer keeps lookin’ at me.”

“Look back. Give’m the what for.”

Livy hung with Hope’s friends for awhile but with the volume of the music, they couldn’t speak much.

“Hope says you’re a writer.”

“Sort of.”

“With the fuckin’ New Yorker. I saw that ‘Livy on the Continent’ article. Right down on it girl, hardcore. Sort of, my ass.”

“Thanks love, but it’s really just the one so far.”

“I saw the other bits. Your core girl, core.”

Livy smiled and looked again to the stage. The singer smiled at her and said:

“This next one is for the auburn beauty at the back…
… 11’o’clock, tick tock… one two, three, four….”

There was a barrage of guitar and drums. Livy could feel it coming up through her.

“… it’s cold outside, it gets so hot in here. And the boys and girls collide to the music in my ears. I hear the children crying and I know it’s time to go…
… I hear the children crying, take meeee home…
Painted face, and I know we haven’t long… we thought that we had the answers, it was the questions we had wrong. I hear the children crying and I know it’s time to go… I hear the children… take me home.” *

Livy’s knees went funny and she grabbed Hope by the arm and smiled.
“Seventies are about over.”

* from “11 o’clock tick tock” by U2, Island Records, They were good back then.


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