Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Nuther Bono

U2 came to visit us today at CERN, European Headquaters for Nuclear Research. They were giving a pep-talk on how to harness the potent inner forces of the atomic nucleus for the betterment of all mankind. Bono looked great wearing his yellow specs half a mile underground in his khaki-green teeshirt and squeaky, black leather pants. He and The Edge were a bit tired as they'd been up all night writing Spiderman themed show tunes and Skyping world leaders and the Pope. There was actually a moment of funny coincidence when, as Bono was going on an on about how tough it is to translate a well-established comic book masterpiece and successful cinema franchise into a bawdy, Broadway spinoff, Johann,  one of our senior experimentalists, mentioned that he had once been bitten by a radioactive spider. Bono asked him if the resulting superpowers were what got him a job at the world's most prestigious scientific research facility but then Johann showed him the stump where his hand had been amputated after the bite proved carcinogenic and there was a bit of foot shuffling and awkward silence.

So anyway, there we all were, about a dozen of the world's best scientists and engineers and Bono, The Edge and those other two backing singer guys that look like Erasure or The Pet Shop Boys and Bono was going on and on about hungry children and the power of positive thinking and dropping the debt and his friend the pope and his friend Barack Obama and his friend Oprah Winfrey and his friend Colin Farrell and his friend George Bush and the time he bought Gaybo a motorbike and the day he invented the mullet and the time he was a Northsider and the time he met Westlife, when Dr Gruman Grumbles sort of cut across him to ask The Edge his opinion on entangled gravitons. Well Bono didn't like that and although he didn't say anything outright, I could tell that he was feeling a bit put out. All of a sudden he had that that shrewdly watchful glint in his eye, like a child in a schoolyard contemplating revenge.

It happened just as The Edge was answering Dr Grumbles' question - Bono pounced with catlike speed, snatching the dark, tightly-knitted woollen hat from the Edge's head. The gasp of shock that arose from my colleagues and indeed from myself was shrilly audible in that subterranean chamber. No-one had been prepared for this.

I will admit that in my youth I had wondered at what manner of technicolour haystack or rats maze of dreadlocks might lie concealed beneath that snug-fitting little crocheted profilactic teat. What hair-crime could be so heinous as to warrant a near life-sentence of solitary confinement upon the middle-aged scalp of the mild-mannered The Edge? At best I had expected a perfectly preserved coiffe, untouched since 28th February 1983 and the release of "War", at worst, the liver-spotted pate of a balding old man. What I beheld made me gag. There, protruding from the back of The Edge's head, upon the curving rearward lobe of the skull was a grotesquely deformed yet defined and discernible, living doppelganger of Bono's face. As The Edge spun around, lunging after Bono in an attempt to retrieve his hat, this parasitic and strangely deflated looking form peered around at us all from the back of his glistening cranium.

"Ah Bono, give us back me hat y' cunt!" The Edge had an edge to his voice that was unmistakeable as the edge of humiliation and anger.

"Aaaahhhhhh The Eeeeedgggggeeee. Iiiiiiiit'ssssss coooooolllll maaaaaaan." drawled Bono, flitting just out of reach. "Let the Nuther Bono get some aaaaaiiiiirrrrr."

With that Bono tossed the hat to one of the Erasure Shop Boys, (the one called Adam I think) who in turn threw it over the Edge's double-sided head to the fourth in the group (Larry I think he said his name was). This circus side show game of piggy-in-the-middle continued, with the poor The Edge lumbering around, waving his hands vainly through the air in a pathetic struggle to regain his bonnet.

"Come on guys, Nuther Bono's going to get cold, give us me hat back!"

"Noooooo The Eeeeedddgggggeeee. Nuuuuutthhhhhherrrrr Bonoooooo's havin' a greeeaaaat tiiime." Real Bono obviously felt that he had a point to prove but for my part I was feeling increasingly nauseaous as I observed this disturbing play of cat and mouse.

Suddenly, from the midst of this childish chaos could be heard a hoarsley gurgling rasp. To my horror I realised it was the Nuther Bono, it had begun to sing.

"M luff shhh thows me lak wubber ball - woooooarrnngh, swittist thng..."

It sounded like a child trapped in a balloon full of glue.

"Shhh wnt cutsh m win aaaanngh m fall - woooooarrnngh, swittist thng..."

I began to glance frantically about the lab at my colleagues, surely this couldn't be allowed to continue.

"Ah c'mon guys, the Nuther Bono's singing now, will yiz put me hat back on him yiz fuckin pricks!"

The Edge was surely sounding angry now but real Bono was just laughing at him in that droning, vowel-laden way of his. "Aaaaahhh haaaaaaa-haaaaaaaaa-haaaaaaaa!" The other two automatons seemed to be under his spell, what kind of witchcraft was at work here? The figures collectively known as U2 were circling faster now and a strange and dreadful electricity seemed to crackle in the air. The voice of the Nuther Bono seemed shriller now, rising in pitch.

"Ahhhmmm loosssssngh yoooou..."

Slowly, carefully I began to inch my way toward the exit.

Faster the group circled, their raucous cackling, coarse and unsettling. The Edge's whining protests, Bono's breathy drone and the throaty warbling of the unnaturally hideous Nuther Bono dopplering past in an ever-quickening blur; rising in register toward some unearthly crescendo.

"Giz me hat back yiz fuckin blowjobs..."
"Aaaaaaahhhhhh Thhhheeeeee Eeeeeddgggggge...."
"Wwoooooarrnngh, swittist thng..."

I was near the door now, could reach the electronic swipe pad with my keycard.

An ethereal glow was emanating from the spinning morass as great sparks arced out and earthed themselves in everything and anything in close proximity. Suddenly, with a cold shock, one of the great blue bolts struck me right in my chest. Pierced me to my very heart. I was instantly filled with a realisation so overwhelmingly vast that I felt I might burst from the grand bigness of it all and everything. I felt all questions being answered. All riddles unravelled. I was Bono. Bono was me. We were U2. You were we too. We love you. I love wee. U2 R2 D2. "Gasp!"

And that was pretty much it. The Edge got his hat back. The Erasure Shop Bros Boys turned out to be Larry Peyton and Adam Mullins or something and we all signed a sworn statement not to reveal the existence of Nuther Bono in return for front row tickets to Spiderman the musical or another show of equal or lesser value or a pair of 'All-Cash' scratch cards and our photos taken with yer man from telly-bingo.

Oh yeah, and Bono nicked a load of CERN memorabilia on the way out which seems to have made its way on to ebay, the cheapskate dwarf!


I should have posted this ages ago, it's me with my two mentors at CERN, Dr Feoncha Fáinne and Dr Gruman Grumbles. We've been getting along famously since I arrived here to take up my new position.

Expect lots of fascinating scientific updates from now on.

Next stop the Higgs Boson!