"Achtung baby" ! Paul Bono Hewson, the international pop star from the band U2 arrives to the African Queen. His 'favorite restaurant' will celebrate its 35th birthday next year and Bono is affirmative : he will be there ! This restaurant from Beaulieu-sur-Mer is the daily restaurant of the irish star. And the place he chose to welcome us.
Singing in Nice - a dream !
Large hat, open shirt, green glasses and flip-flops : Bono is on holidays and more relaxed than ever. It's because the mythical leader of U2 knows where he is. Gilbert and Annie Vissian, the owners of the African Queen, have been 'good friends for fifteen years. They're almost part of my family.'
And of the neighborhood : Bono owns one of the most beautiful house properties of Eze. This prodigal child of music is an adopted Azurean. Every year, people are expecting him at the jazz festival ; he's been thought of being seen in the Palm Beach Cannes Festival, he's noticed at the African Queen ... but never onstage. So, when will we see him for a concert in Nice ?
'It's still a dream. It would be fantastic, magickal. But it's incredible how the administrative way is complicated over here. This stadium (Charles Ehrmann) is probably one of the most expensive stadium in the world. And we're all really sad about that.'
So it's as a tourist that Bono, smiling, comes to spend his summer on the Coast. 'On the good years, I spend until 4 months on the Côte d'Azur. And this year is a good year !'
From June to September, the singer seizes the 'exceptional atmosphere of the area to invite some friends over, take care of my children ...' and working, more than ever. 'I'm a workaholic', a work-addicted who's always trying to write and record new songs. 'But it's more than a job - it's my life. And it's so easy to live my life here, calm among chaos, amid all those people that respect my private life, and that doesn't want to disturb me.'
A daily activism
Discreet, Bono is not unavailable either. That a child comes to ask him for an autograph, he draws a little drawing and a personalized word. 'I'm used to it : with my family, I spend hours drawing the restaurant's tableclothes !' And always this need to give pleasure. The leitmotiv of this unique celebrity is to always help the others.
' You know, I'm a catholic Irishman. A guilty catholic. 2 millions of Irishmen died from the famine in the XIXth century. I have the chance to be healthy. Today, it's Africa that dies from poverty and AIDS, the biggest weapon of mass destruction. I can't remain with my arms crossed around my chest with having a bad state of conscience.
I had this revelation in 1985, during a humanitarian experience in Ethiopia.' Since then, Bono is the spokesperson of the cancelling of the third world debt. The popstar is convinced not to ever let alone the administrations of the most powerful countries in the world. ' One shall never give up. At first, Bush refused to see me. But I harassed me so much so he listened to me ... ' and gave a consequent amount of money for the third world countries. ' When you're a famous artist, it's not that easy to get heard. People look at how you're dressed. Some are taking you for an exotic tree !'
Today Bono acceeded to a real recognition from the political world and the high decisional administrations. 'The secret is to never get angry. I represent the poor, the weak, and God is with us. The politicians are the ones who should be nervous !' And as long as Bono will live, he'll fight. 'And you can realise that this world is soft, that you can always make things change. It inspires me a lot.'
To the point he always has a new song in mind ... And promises already 'a new single for February 1st'. A 'real rock' CD should follow, 'with heavy melodies, like in the good old times'. After three years of silence, the fans should appreciate. But Bono is keeping himself from too much self-insurance : 'Two bad albums and it's done with U2. But if we could have the same career as The Rolling Stones ...'
A dream that calls other dreams : 'I have tons of projects in mind, scenarios of movies. But my most foolish dream ... is to remain awake, conscious, listening to the world and this until the end of my life. To keep on doing good music and keep my human side : all I have in front of me, in my heart, under my skin. '
And that's what has been making, for more than 20 years now, shiver ours.</i>