Happy Birthday to Bono, turning 55 today.

I’ve mentioned it several times before, but Bono gives me conflicting emotions. He is the heart and soul of the band which has been such a huge part of my life. He has also done so many other things with his life, and that’s where I get that conflict, because many of them have been so embarrassing to me because of my fandom. I find myself wanting to defend him so often, and I don’t know why. He’s a big boy now, he can handle himself. So why do I often feel so defensive about him?

In the early days he was all about the hair and the intensity. People began to know him as the singer who was really passionate about his music and his politics. He definitely wore his heart on his sleeve, which caused him problems at the time and since. Especially with his characters like MacPhisto, which many people conflated with the man himself, and he’s carried that with him ever since. People now often see him as a parody of himself.

I have no problem with Bono or the rest of the gang being super-rich, they’ve performed over the years and deserve it. What bothers me is the folks who want to talk about it, either the media highlighting his investments in things like Facebook, which have made him a billionaire, or the opposite side, the people who when he talks about philanthropy say that he should pay for things himself. I’ve complained about that before, so I won’t do it again, at least not too much.

I think it is fair to say that without Bono there is no U2, more than any other member of the band. On the other hand, I think that Bono would be a very successful person in life regardless of what he set his mind to, and I doubt that would be something as simple as being a clerk in an office somewhere. I think he was born to be in showbiz. I often say that he got in line twice for charisma, he clearly has it in spades. So to imagine him in a dead-end job is impossible, if he wasn’t in U2 he’d have been in some other band, or on stage somewhere (maybe not, his acting isn’t that good), or doing something where he’d have a whole lot of fame.

His latest phase is what I guess you would call “getting old.” Sorry, Bono, but it’s true. Any time I see new pics of him I think “wow, he got old,” which may be a reaction to the bike accident, but then it might have been happening before that. Dislike the new hair, too. And I think the fact that a few times I’ve seen pictures lately I’ve thought “he looks like an old lady” is not a good sign, he might be heading into that craggy, Keith Richards or Bruce Springsteen old geezer look. Happens to the best of us, I suppose, at least he doesn’t look like Adam.

I think I might sound a little bitchy in all this. I don’t mean to, like I said at the start I love him and the rest of the band. I can’t imagine the day they give it all up.