Sunday, June 26, 2011

U2 at Glastonbury

Interesting times at the postponed headlining gig for U2 at Glastonbury Festival! A protest group were subdued [maybe heavy handedly] by Security after inflating a 6m balloon protesting U2's offshore tax arrangements in the face of their stance on campaigning against poverty and in light of the economic situation in Ireland. Read the story here
I love U2's music and the mystique around their fame, their stories and the pop culture phenomenon the band have become... having liked the sound of Larry Mullen's drums from the first time I ever heard them in the 1980's. I find their music, themes, ways of portraying life and it's multi-faceted nature quite stunning and meaningful. At the same time I have always understood how much they are just like the rest of us... fallible, especially when it come to image and all the hype [the sunnies, private jet, summer homes in southern France etc etc!! Isn't the tax story just a reminder that none of us is perfect?
The tax story has an interesting twist that prior to recent years the Irish had tax exemptions for artists, actors, musicians but introduced those [no doubt because of current struggles] and around that time U2 moved their tax centre off shore... like many athletes and musicians across the UK, a few notable Aussie tennis and golf stars etc... should they be paying the right amount of tax in Ireland... absolutely... does it devalue their anti-poverty work... sure does... does it mean some of their music no longer fosters my spirit and gives me space to explore who I am and what my hopes for the world might be... no way!! The weekend's media has all been about the protest, I wait with interest for the big silence or the half baked response from the bands 'machine'...
"U pay tax 2!!"

1 comment:

spirit2go team said...

It's a pretty old story.

For the band's response - "U2 is a global business + pays taxes globally. 95% of U2's business takes place outside of Ireland."

and for some perspective go here (