Citizens Gone Wild: Thinking for Yourself in an Age of Hype and Glory

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Seller Rating:. Stock Image. But it was to be the last big single for The Boomtown Rats.


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Not long after Banana Republic, things started to wane for them. One way or the other, I think the Rats simply began to lose their way as the tastes of the record-buying public started to change. But I still chart where I was in those days, and what I was doing, by remembering their singles.

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House on Fire was August , the month my mother had to go into hospital. There were a brief couple of days when we stayed in the house by ourselves. We had the Rats on loud, almost all the time. Never in a Million Years was released in November , just after I started college and moved out of home. Charmed Lives was June the same year, just after we broke up. Nothing Happened Today came out in August , just after I finished my first-year exams.

Almost everything that happened to me in those days, I am able to mark with a song by The Boomtown Rats. The single Drag Me Down came out in May We had an argument and parted on bad terms. It was the last time I would ever see her. She died nine months later in a car crash.


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I ran away to Nicaragua to be by myself. And I took a tape of their last ever single, A Hold of Me. In some ways I wanted to forget about home, and in other ways I wanted to remember every last thing. I often thought about the old days, and sometimes when I did, The Boomtown Rats would come into my mind. Live Aid had happened earlier that summer and Geldof was probably the most famous person in the world by now.

And then, in May , amid rumours that the band was about to call it a day for good, they came back to Dublin to play at a charity event, featuring Van Morrison, U2, Scullion, The Pogues, all the great and the good of the Irish rock world.

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The Rats played a stormer. They blew everyone away and received a tumultuous reception from the audience.


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After the main set, Geldof strolled up to the microphone for an encore. He appeared a little lost as his eyes ranged over the crowd. The thundering drum roll began. The opening riff pounded out.

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The familiar chords, D, A, G, E. It was at once a powerful homecoming, a stylishly ironic act of self-deprecation and a poignant farewell. And in some odd but profound sense, it seemed like a farewell to me too, a final goodbye to a time in my life that was over now.

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Gradually I lost touch with my old schoolfriends. I moved flat five or six times in London, and somewhere along the way I left behind all my old Boomtown Rats records. But I remember their force and power still, the healing power of their righteous indignation. Great pop music is about the people who listen to it, and the circumstances in which they do so, and not really in the end about the people who make it.

A few years ago, I was on a television programme in Ireland to talk about a novel of mine, and Bob Geldof was one of the guests. He was absolutely great. He had the air of a survivor. He seemed like a man who had come through. In the green room after the show we chatted for a while about nothing at all, his eyes flitting restlessly around the room as he talked, his fingers running through his straggly hair. When the time came to go, we shook hands and he got his stuff together and sloped from the room, a battered guitar case under his arm. It was like watching a part of your past walk out the door.

I never got the chance to tell him what was on my mind that night. But when I think about it now, what I wanted to say was actually very simple. It was this: when I was a scared kid, who felt that there was little enough point to life, his music and his example were second only to the support of my loved ones in keeping me going. It helped me survive.

It helped me sit out the dark days, and wait for the better times to come. They did come. They often do.

But before they did, Bob was there. His music embodied a worldview with which I felt I had some connection. It opened my eyes to things that had never occurred to me before. Like the greatest pop music, it was fun, unpredictable, alive, iconoclastic, intelligent, witty, danceable, tender when it wanted to be, tough as nails when it had to be. It just made me feel better. It healed. And it made me think I could make it, if he could.

A foolish and adolescent belief, if ever there was one. But in a world where I had to grow up too fast, Bob Geldof and his band allowed me to be foolish and adolescent just once in a while. Do you have a question for the author. If so, email bookclub irishtimes. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber. Please subscribe to sign in to comment. We use cookies to personalise content, target and report on ads, to provide social media features and to analyse our traffic.

For more information see our Cookie Policy. Banana Republic: memories of a suburban Irish childhood Bob Geldof is one of several real-life musicians to appear as characters in The Thrill of it All. Joseph O'Connor. Topics: Bob Geldof Boomtown Rats. More from The Irish Times Books. TV, Radio, Web. RDS members: driving change for good. Rediscover the joy of the train: Stories from an Intercity route. Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription.

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Please choose a screen name. The audience is believers. The goals are faithfulness, godliness, obedience, etc. The goals are repentance, faith, belief in Jesus, i. Great article Carey. The church team I joined recently — right at the time we saw each other at the Back 40 Conference in Indiana, PA — is full in on everything you shared here.

We are seeing these things happen in our little corner of NW Pennsylvania. We are multi-site 3 locations and have been for about 10 years. In the fall of , we launched an on-line campus that is truly interactive worship, communion, chat rooms, etc. I think we even have some international viewers. On a practical side, one of our physical campuses had a mechanical failure this weekend and the building was closed, but no problem because we re-routed our people to both a different physical campus or the online campus.

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