The calm and charm of poet, author, peacemaker Pádraig Ó Tuama shooting a gentle breeze with U2's guitarist Edge. What a beautiful conversation. That was my initial reaction to this unique podcast.
Let me confess something. Having spent two decades of my life, writing a book and talking about U2 all around the world, keeping up with all the songs and interviews. Every album or tour or whatever I am deluged with messages asking my opinion. I am a little U2 weary.
As a result I probably wouldn't have given this a listen if it hadn't been Pádraig or a Corrymeela podcast. But it is and I am glad. I enjoyed it very much.
Pádraig has a way with conversations and it is obvious from the outset that he has already worked up some trust with Edge. U2's guitarist sounds like a man at ease with the process and he is not always the first in his band to give himself away in public.
The human that Pádraig is, he doesn't abuse the trust. He draws out Edge's early years as a Welsh Presbyterian moving to Catholic Dublin. He almost shows Edge how music was his way to communicate as he found identity in a new space.
Faith and reconciliation are obvious subjects in a Corrymeela podcast and Edge speaks honestly about his questioning faith and how in reconciliation he sees compromise as a strong need week virtue.
The most interesting bit of all for me is the post interview chat which asks quick answers to Short Story Questions. In this we hear about his early love of The Jam, his love for American poet, former slave, Phillis Wheatley and what got me most excited of all naming Roger Casement as his very favourite Irishman.
My friend David Dark always suggests that if you meet a hero you should have a question ready so that you don't look stupid. If Edge ends up with me in a lift we'll be talking about an ex Ballymena Academy knight of the realm who was hanged for gun running for Irish revolution!
Maybe it is just me but having written extensively on U2 I have an ear to every article or interview wondering if they'll say something that proves my writings wrong. There is thankfully nothing here. What is here though are things I didn't know which is not always the case. My hard drive is so crammed with U2 that it is hard to hear anything I haven't heard.
Pádraig does draw out such insights. As I said earlier about that early identity checking in his move to Dublin. He also opens out the song Van Diemen's land which has me off researching John Boyle O'Reilly.
Most wonderful and intriguing of all is Edge's take on Irish Presbyterianism. In his youth he found it dull most interestingly compared to his Welsh Presbyterianism.
Later he was fascinated when his mother would go north with her Church to visit Northern Presbyterians. She and he were rather stunned that when Mrs Evans asked their thoughts on a united Ireland, as they found Dublin a wonderful place to live, that there was just blank faces and no response.
How interesting. As his the entire podcast. Top job Pádraig and Corrymeela.