This is a review of the book U2: Faraway So Close by BP Fallon.
BP Fallon is one of those names that you recognize if you’re a U2 fan, like many of those names who are people who seem to have been around the band forever, someone hanging on the edges to try and get a little fame. There are a lot of people who have over the years tried to insert themselves into the band’s story, either popping up from the early days or just getting their name out there. Some of them are legitimate, folks like Neil McCormick who knew the band in the very early days, went on to their own successful careers, then somehow circled back into the band’s orbit. Those folks are okay. Then there are folks who pop up a book about the band based on a few interviews with disgruntled people, or who have a collection of photos, or an axe to grind. Not so good. And I should specify that I’m not talking about anything fan produced, whether endorsed or not by the band, those kinds of projects are true fandom and should be celebrated for what they are.
Now you’re probably thinking that I just slammed BP Fallon, but that’s not at all my intention, so let me expand on it a little. BP Fallon is one of those edge of the band guys, but not for the fame, someone who is there legitimately. Kind of like Bill Graham. The kinds of people that you actually want to hear things from, the folks who really were on the edge, but on the inside edge rather than the outside edge. And not the falling off the stage kind either. I’m still not sure I’ve explained it well enough. I guess I could say that if you had a 20 year career before even meeting U2, you’re legit. And if you were invited by the band to tour with them throughout Zoo TV, then you’re legit.
Now I’ve gotta say that I’m over halfway through this and I haven’t even talked about the book yet. So let’s talk about it. It’s a memoir of sorts of BP Fallon’s time with the band, hanging around everywhere and doing everything with them. It’s a lot of inside stories that you probably won’t hear elsewhere, and in some cases that’s probably a good thing (the opening story, for example, rats in boxes). But it also has a lot of photos I haven’t seen elsewhere, and along with the stories that makes it quite compelling.
I have just one criticism, which is the voice that he chose to write it in, referring to himself in the second person throughout. Example: Bono “… asked would you like to put together the tour programme … You said yes, you’d love to do it.” It’s like that all the way through the book, there are one or two places where he says I and by that point it’s a little jarring to read it that way, but much more often than not it’s just really irritating to read. At times it’s hard to interpret what he was meaning, trying to sort out all the different you’s he’s talking about. You get lost at times. Couple points off for it.
My rating for U2: Faraway So Close (book): 4 / 10