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When Bono Vox Met Trump's Number Two Mike Pence: The CIA Tapes
David Stubbs , February 21st, 2017 11:38

As David Stubbs wheeled his son's pram past the US embassy he chanced upon a brown manilla envelope of the CIA transcripts of surveillance of top rock band U2 in advance of their singer Bono's friendly chat with President Trump's dastardly assistant Mike Pence

Bono’s U2 raised eyebrows when he met up with Republican Vice-President Pence in Munich last week. CIA operatives, however, were aware of the encounter in advance, as well as its run-up and aftermath, having bugged the U2 singer and his band as part of routine surveillance. David Stubbs happened to be walking past the US Embassy in Grosvenor Square when he spotted an intriguing stash of papers in a skip. These, it transpired, were printed out transcriptions of all conversations relating to the impromptu Bono-Pence summit. We present them here in full.

[LOCATION 1: U2’s REHEARSAL SPACE, “THE HAVEN”, UNSPECIFIED, JUST OUTSIDE DEN HAAG, NETHERLANDS]

[SCRATCHING, YAWNING, SOUND OF BONO STRUMMING ON ACOUSTIC GUITAR LIKE HE KNOWS WHAT HE’S DOING, PAINED GROANS FROM ANOTHER BAND MEMBER, POSSIBLY THE EDGE. SOUND OF RUSTLING ASTHE EDGE PICKS UP A MAGAZINE AND THUMBS THROUGH IT]

THE EDGE: It’s great, isn’t it? From Springsteen, Beyonce, Katy Perry, Madonna, Lady Gaga, Meryl Streep, Ben Stiller, every celebrity under the sun’s taking a stand against that tangerine nightmare Trump.

BONO: [INAUDIBLE - SQUEAKING SOUND OF MAN IN LEATHER TROUSERS SHIFTING AWKWARDLY FROM ONE BUTTOCK TO THE OTHER]

[Second man, presumably ADAM CLAYTON, drummer]: I know! That’s what’s needed. A common front. A total shut-out. Like the way nobody played his inauguration. Trump and this administration are getting the message that if they think they can shore themselves up and bask in the reflected glory of hobnobbing with famous faces, they’ve another thingcoming, right, lads? We’re together on this one, right?

[BUTTOCK SQUEAKING INTENSIFIES]

ADAM CLAYTON: We’re together on this one, aren’t we, Bono?

[CRACKLE AS BONO CLEARS VOICE LOUDLY]

BONO: I, er - see Vice President Pence is paying a visit to Munich. I was wondering . . .

THE EDGE: GAAHH! No! NO! [UNINTELLIGIBLE EXPLETIVE, POSSIBLY IRISH IN ORIGIN] I know where this is going!

BONO: Maybe a photo opportunity - er - highlight global issues? Issues that affect the globe?

THE EDGE: No! NO! NO! NO! I thought we’d talked about this! You realise this group is a laughing stock ever since you started getting delusions of Bob Marleyness and started hanging out with guys like George Bush? Just because you think it makes you look like some sort of statesman by osmosis! It doesn’t! It makes you look like a sycophantic, shortarsed [STRING OF EXPLETIVES, DISTORTED AS VOICE RISES] little tit!

[Third man, presumably drummer LARRY MULLEN]: Aye, and when he can’t even remember your name, that’s the worst! Remember when Bush described you as “Boner, lead singer of The YouTubes”? We never lived that down! The only way we could get our last album heard was by hacking into every smartphone on the planet!

BONO: But guys, you don’t understand! I’m the World Ambassador For Global Healing. Every time I fail to appear in a photo with a world leader, an African child dies.

[SOUND OF LARRY MULLEN HURLING DRUMSTICK ACROSS THE ROOM AND SWIFT RUSTLING AUDIBLE ANALYSIS ASSUMES THE EDGE MAKING VIGOROUS HAND SIGNAL, INTERNATIONAL LANGUAGE FOR MASTURBATION]

THE EDGE: Holy Seamus and all the Saints, the bollocks on it. Can you not for once keep that raging ego of your inside your stupid trousers? I’d quite like our next album to sell more than “Dumpy’s Rusty Nuts: The B-sides”, if at all possible!

BONO: Look, I tried to involve you in our philanthropic works but . . .

THE EDGE: Oh, sure you did! Opening up an account in my name and calling it The Edge Fund!

BONO: What’s wrong with that? [LENGTHY PAUSES. SOUND OF PENNY DROPPING. NB: METAPHORICAL PENNY] Oh - oh, yes. But look, lads, what’s the harm. It’s not like it’s Trump, it’s President Pence, and . .

ADAM CLAYTON: Yeah, he’s worse than Trump! Anti-abortion, anti-immigration, anti-LGBT, anti-immigration, anti-public schools, pro guns . . .

BONO: Well there you are, there’s one positive . . .

THE EDGE: [NOISE, SOMEWHERE BETWEEN EXHALATION OF MUCUS AND GAELIC EXPLETIVE] This is why you went to the hairdressers today, isn’t you? You wanted to look good for having a photo with this Pence feller.

BONO: No! No . . Anyway, look. [ALMOST INAUDIBLE MUTTER] I’ve heard he’s very good on AIDS. Helped fight AIDS.

ADAM CLAYTON: That’s right. When he was a congressman, he opposed federal funding for people suffering from HIV and AIDS, unless the government simultaneously invested in programmes discouraging people from engaging in same-sex relationships. Eat your heart out, wee Jimmy Somerville!

BONO: Look! Please, just one little meeting. I promise I’ll use it to turn the tables on him. Lay it on the line to him. Will you not think of the Third World, all those mothers whispering to their stricken children, ‘Don’t worry, child. All will be well when Mr Bono has a word with Mr Pence.’

[SHORT PAUSE. SOUND OF BONO’S HEART BEATING FRANTICALLY, AS IF THINKING ABOUT TIME HE SPENT HAVING HAIR DONE]

THE EDGE: Well . . . if you promise . . . remember, we told everyone we were delaying the release of our new album to really put one over on Trump. You’ll give this Pence an earful, right? Tear him a new one? No arselicking crap about him hitting the ground running?

BONO: No! You’re right. The fates of millions could hinge on this meeting. I’ll remember that.

THE EDGE: You won’t come over like some wee teenybopper meeting Donny Osmond, right? [NB: REFERENCE TO TEEN POP MANIA COMMONLY USED BY MEN WELL OVER 50] Collapse in a blushing heap of pathetic adoration, just ‘cos the feller’s flanked by armed federal agents and rides in a big plane?

BONO: I certainly won’t! I’ll - don’t worry, guys, leave this one with me.

[LOCATION 2: THE SIDELINES OF THE MUICH SECURITY CONFERENCE INCLUDES PREVIOUSLY REDACTED DIALOGUE BETWEEN VICE PRESIDENT AND BONO. NB: SOME DIALOGUE REDACTED FROM EVENTUAL, SOMEWHAT CURTAILED TELEVISED VERSION]

BONO [SHUFFLING INTO CAMERA VIEW]: Er . . . Mr Osmond - I mean, Mr Pence?

PENCE [TO SECURITY]: I thought I said no autographs!

BONO: No! I don’t want your autograph - I’m here on behalf of the world, sir. Although you could give me my autograph if you want.

PENCE: Oh! Sure, I recognise you. You’re Bono.

BONO: That’s - that’s “Boner”, sir.

PENCE: I thought “Bono”?

BONO: Oh! Gosh, no, sir, you were right. So sorry to correct you. I’m so flustered . . . wow!

PENCE: Was there something you wished to say to me, Bono?

BONO: Oh, just that you’re the second-busiest man in the world, sir. [DISTORTION, CAUSED BY SYCOPHANTIC NERVOUS GUFFAW] So we really appreciate it.

PENCE: “We”? Are you more than one person?

[TAPE DISTORTED AS BONO GUFFAWS LIKE MAN WATCHING BLAZING SADDLES FOR FIRST TIME]

Bono: No! Nothing so pretentious. I meant me and the ancestral spirits of the Bushmen who encourage my every action with the chant “Go, Bono, go.” For them, I must speak truth to you. So. So, er - you’ve really hit the ground running, haven’t you? [INAUDIBLE MUTTER, PROBABLY THE WORD “DAMN”].

PENCH HENCHMAN: You don’t have to answer probing questions like that, sir! Mr Bono, do you have a specific question you’d like to put to the Vice President?

BONO: Er - yes . . . [SOUND OF SCRABBLING IN POCKET OF MYSTERIOUSLY OVERSIZED OVERCOAT, THEN MUMBLING SOMETHING ABOUT AIDS]

PENCE: Well, that’s a historic subject and we’re doing what we can.

BONO: Thank you. [SOUND OF TONGUE MOISTENING] Those are such inspirational lines, Mr Pence. You’ve saved Africa, sir. Together, this day, we have saved Africa, yet again. I’m glad we delayed our album, I’ll use them on my new album, Mr Pence. With a credit, of course. So [BRINGS MOISTENED TONGUE TO VICE PRESIDENT’S EAR, WHISPERS] . . . these guys here, are their guns, all, like, loaded and everything?

PENCE: Yes, young man, they’re real guns. Now, maybe it’s time for you to run along.

BONO: I’ll do that, sir. I’ll run, now. With the wind of your words in my hair. Thank you so much, sir.

REPORTERS: Bono, Vice President Pence, we wondered if we could ask a few questions -

PENCE HENCHMAN: No questions! You are enemies of the people. What happened here was real, not the fake news you’ll report. Get out! Now! ‘Raus! ‘Raus!

[LOCATION III: BACK AT THE HAVEN, U2’S REHEARSAL SPACE]

THE EDGE: What the hell was that? And now we’re going to be writing pro-Pence songs on the album? You’ve done it again, haven’t you, you power-worshipping little runt!

BONO: I don’t understand. Children as yet unborn in the Third World will have cause to give thanks and praise to their Gods for what will surely be known as the Bono-Pence Pact, sealed verbally today, which will surely eradicate disease and -

THE EDGE: You were mumbling so much I’m not sure he even knew what you were on about! He probably thought you were talking about hearing aids.

BONO: . . All right! I messed up. I’m sorry, but as soon as the cameras start flashing and I’m with these big important people and the cameras start flashing . . . do you know the guys in sunglasses he has with him have real loaded guns?

[SOUND OF NUMEROUS EXPLETIVES AND SMALL MAN DISAPPEARING UNDER PILE OF LEATHER BOOTS THROWN IN HIS DIRECTION]

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