Beauty and Journalism and Bono Makes Three
From the dead post vaults. Originally filed, December 5, 2002.
I’m on assignment. We needed someone to cover Bono’s visit to Chicago and couldn’t convince anyone else to do it so it’s down to me. Bono’s a nice enough guy and the scotch hasn’t flowed this freely in the city since Sinatra was humiliating Jilly on Rush street, but I’ve heard about all I can stomach on world woes. C’mon, McMother Theresa, sing us a song and make it from one of the good albums.
Bono, accompanied by Chris Tucker and Ashley Judd, were scheduled to meet with the Chicago Tribune’s board of directors to discuss AIDS in Africa and debt relief for third-world nations. Sounds like a real laugh riot, doesn’t it? I made my way to the towering spires of the Tribune building only to find I wasn’t on the press list. This isn’t new, the Powers That Be often refuse entry to the “alternative” press but it’s not like I’m H. Rap Brown or anything. I just need to ask Bono about the persistent rumors of his irrelevancy.
Well, the mook guarding entry to the building would have nothing of it. I showed my specially laminated GLONO press pass and let him know this was Official Business, but it was to no avail. This southside-second-generation meathead told me to beat it. “Dere’s no open meetin’. Press only.”
“I am the press!” I pleaded to a bemused reaction. But through his brown tinted glasses I could see the beady eyes of a hapless Bears fan and I made my play.
“You know, I cover sports too. I could arrange for you to be on the field when the Bears play the Jets in two weeks,” I said watching the fat sausage lips purse.
“Yeah, right…” he replied.
“It’s true. I can get you a press pass like this one and you could be down on the field with me when I cover the game.” That’s a lie. I don’t cover sports and Glorious Noise has no contacts in sports outside of a friend of mine who works for the Cubs and gives me free tickets to keep his secrets.
I could tell our guy was ready to crumble when Bono, Ashley Judd and Chris Tucker strolled by and the commotion started.
“Ok, you gotta get going here,” the security guy said snapping to attention. I was that close too. It was time for a new plan.
People were gathering and security was closing ranks. My meaty friend suddenly had eight clones and their mustaches and tinted glasses were freaking me out. It’s all diversionary tactics these security companies learned from the Secret Service back in the 70s. It’s the illusion of great force that keeps us mushmouths at bay.
Well, I know a thing or two about diversions too and quickly redoubled. I needed to create a hole in the defensive line and then barrel through to the goal. To my left were three Euro-femme Germans with massive cameras trying to get a good angle on the Stars. I edged up behind them and started whistling with my two fingers as loud as possible. Now, I mean ear splitting screeches like feedback on a bad microphone. Louder and louder I whistled. The Germans were considerably taller than me and though they turned to protest, the security guys rushed THEM and pushed them back. Splitting the defense, I made my way to the middle and came face to face with Ashley Judd.
Well, I actually I came face to face with her ankle because I tripped in my rush through the middle and landed square on my chin. I could just see the bottom of her fashionable, yet sensible, pumps as she scurried away into the limo.
With blood on my chin and no sign of Bono, I retired to the famous Billy Goat for a drink and a greasy cheeseburger. Another failed assignment. My climb to the top of rock journalism was stalling and the rent was due. No quotes, no pay. That’s the deal.
I saddled up to the bar and ordered a Glenfiddich. The cheeseburger could wait for a bit while my jaw eased back into place. The TV was on and the evening news was starting. There was Amy Jacobson from Channel 5 talking up the visit from Bono and Co. A tall blond with TV personality bland beauty and the full force of Chicago’s NBC affiliate behind her, Jacobson had her quote and I had nothing.
Irish rocker, Bono, was in town today bringing attention for the AIDS epidemic in Africa to the American heartland.
“This is the American moment,” said Bono.
This is Amy Jacobson reporting from Michigan Avenue. Warner?
Next to me a grizzled ex-reporter snorted and scowled at the screen.
“She’s a twit,” he said. “But what a piece of ass.”