Court orders stylist to return Bono's hat

CBC News, November 15, 2006

Irish rock group U2 has won a legal battle in a Dublin courtroom over a cowboy hat and other memorabilia held by the band's former stylist.

Lola Cashman will be required to hand over a cowboy hat worn by Bono, a pair of metal hoop earrings, a green sweatshirt and other items.

She had claimed the band gave her the items and appealed a lower court ruling that she must give them back. Cashman was responsible for the transport of all wardrobe items during her nine months with U2. Bono, lead singer of U2, said she took the items without permission during the band's Joshua Tree tour in 1987.

In testimony in the high court appeals case, Bono said it was important to the band to keep the memorabilia so it could either be archived or donated. Bono was particularly interested in reclaiming a Stetson that became his trademark during the tour. The singer said he'd chosen the image himself because of its connections with American iconography.

Cashman claimed Bono gave her the cowboy hat when she asked for it backstage after a concert. However, in a 38-page judgment released Wednesday, High Court Justice Michael Peart ordered almost all the items to be returned to U2.

Pens at the ready

Reporters, report!

The news just came in

From the Dublin High Court –

The case of the stylist with no leg to stand on

Who brought such a case with such ruthless abandon

A case she could never have hoped to have won

Has been lost.

But of course.

Now it’s over and done.

Let’s start at the start, where most tales often do

With a baby, a boy who like most babies – grew

But whose growing was out of proportion, you see,

For his body:head ratio was at least 1:3

Like a weeble he wobbled but sometimes fell down

For his legs couldn’t carry his noggin around.

And his eyes, look, see! Far too big for their sockets

Like snooker balls heading for opposite pockets.


But big heads, small bodies, while strange in a boy

Are common in rock stars. So imagine his joy

When he found his strange shape had some use, after all:

And this way they’d love him.

Though bug-eyed.

Though small.

So the first thing he did was come up with a name

That would dovetail just so with his imminent fame.

“My real name – Paul – just won’t do. Oh no.

From now on (such trumpets will sound!) I am Bono.

In truth, Bono Vox. Let the minions rejoice!”

(Translated, it means in bad Latin, ‘good voice’.)

Then he gathered around him a tight little band:

A bassist so drunk he could just about stand

A good-looking drummer who couldn’t quite play

And a balding guitarist with a pedal delay

With a pedal delay with a pedal delay.

They named the band U2.

With a pedal delay.

So. We’ve come this far

But we know very little.

Enough of beginning –

Now on to the middle.

There are various ways to get noticed. Some think

You can shout very loudly. Make a big stink.

Kill someone famous. Go on Big Brother.

Marry a film star. Then marry another.

“There are easier ways of skinning a cat,”

Thought Bono – who went and acquired a big hat.

Just that. A hat. A stetson, in fact

Which gave him the status his empty head lacked.

I say “he acquired,” as opposed to “he bought” –

For when you’re a millionaire rock star of note

You don’t do the shopping. There are people for that.

“Fresh underpants, master. New socks. And a hat.”

Well he wore the hat here

And he wore the hat there

And it sat on the mullet

That passed for his hair.

He sang in the hat and he read in the hat.

(Some said they wished he was dead in the hat).

But no. That was it: Bono, hat.

The two went together like spoilt and brat

Inseparable, married, three marvelous years

Of man and chapeau sharing one pair of ears –






Rock’s own Lone Ranger without Silver, his horse.

And out with the bathwater went baby by chance –

The waistcoats, cowboy boots, black leather pants.

“From now on,” said Bono, “I’ll have tailored suits made

I’ll grow dignified stubble and always wear shades

No stetson or leather to suit my fresh start;

For a man, newly sanctified, needs to look smart.”

(Which he did, for a while, though the specs were just daft

Especially in very dark rooms. How we laughed

When he got himself stuck in a lemon one night

As he fumbled around for the switch to the light.)

So the ego went hatless and took to the streets –

So many African babies to meet!

They popped up whenever a camera was pointing

Catching him unawares – see him anointing

Their little black faces with stigmata’d hands?

(It was dark with the glasses. He thought they were fans).

Lunch with George W, tea with John Paul

Such heights for a man who was really quite small.

On top of the world with a Boomtown Rat,

Adieu to the past! (The trousers. The hat.)

So that was the middle,

And now it’s all gone

No time to hang round

For the end has begun…

In a passed-over shop in a passed-over street

Of the town where you live, all alone and discreet

On a shelf at the back where the sign says, Sale

Is a book, and that book is the cause of this tale.

Inside the Zoo with U2. That’s its name.

The book’s badly-written and dire. That’s a shame

Because here is the book that made Bono see red

Oh the tears that he shed! The crusade that he led

In defence of the twenty-six people who bought it!

“I’ll get even,” he hissed, “with the woman who wrote it!”

He stepped to the plate.

A swing of the bat.

Crying “This is for justice!

(And some pants, and a hat).”

Oh what a palaver! What a to-do!

As the chip on his shoulder it grew and it grew

With Bono declaring himself stabbed in the back –

“My honour and ego are under attack!

Crucified, scorned, like that time in the lemon

(Me and our Lord, we’ve got plenty in common)

Oh Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani!”

(Christ calls his Dad. Bono talks blarney.)

So for justice, then. For doing what’s right

Bono determined to fight the good fight.

Now the author (named Lola) had toured with U2

As the buyer of sunspecs and T-shirts and shoes

And undies and socks for the band. And trousers.

Vests for the drummer. A few frilly blouses.

And a hat. That hat. That stetson, size 10.

Need I remind you – apologies! – again?

How he wore the hat here

And he wore the hat there

And it sat on the mullet

That passed for his hair?

(Some say that Lola should’ve earlier been charged

By the style police. Stiff sentence, very large

Fine, thirty-five licks of the cat

For giving the world – what a rat! – the hat.)

But there was our man, the last day of that tour

Our backstage Messiah, pop’s entrepreneur

Sallying forth from the shower’s apt cloud

Half-naked, sweating, addressing the crowd –

Which was Lola. The singular Lola remained.

“Everyone had to… rush off,” she explained

And our hero, bereft in the valley of plenty

The rockstar whose stadium is suddenly empty

Cried “Lola! Nobody loves me! It’s true!”

And Lola replied, “Er… I’ve got to go, too.”

So down on one knee, torso bared, croaky voice

The Man Who Would Save All The World made a choice,

Pleading “Lola. Friend. Soulmate. Amigo.

Don’t leave me alone with this oversized ego!

This demonic bloodsucking vampire bat

Has outgrown me. Now it won’t fit in my hat.”

And grabbing said hat from off his said head

Pleaded “Here, take this gift!”

So she did.

Then she fled.

A backward glance, a stolen look –

Then off home to write it all up in a book.

Which brings us back neatly to Dublin’s High Court

Nineteen years on as reporters report

And Lola, accused, holds her head in her hands

‘Til the Judge bangs his gavel and loudly demands

That she take to the stand. “Take to the stand!”

In the case of herself versus U2, the band.

The case of the singer who took home his bat

Who roared like a lion and cried like a rat

Who hired the best lawyers to beat on the brat

And whose unhatted head, like his wallet, grew fat.

The Judge gave B. Vox such obsequious respect

As to remind one of The OJ Simpson effect

To wit: Judge, though in charge, is quite clearly in awe

And for a couple of autographs will sell out the law.

“Here you go, Your Honour – from Bono, with love.

Free tickets? No problem. Here Sir, hold my gloves –”

So the hat and the pants were thus placed on display

And paraded and prodded then taken away

While the Judge and Sir Bono slapped each other’s backs

And made jokes about wigs, about pants, about hats.

At some point in proceedings – in no sense ironic –

Bono described the old hat as “iconic”

As if he’d invented it, made it OK

To be clueless and copyist. Cowboy as cliché.

Ten-gallon Gump with his one-gallon brain

Amateur ham ends up playing The Dane

King of the sandcastle, Lord of the Prance

Reunited with hat, at last. (And pants.)

So. Pens at the ready

Reporters, report!

The news just came in

From the Dublin High Court –

This case – which should never have even begun –

Is concluded. Finished. Bono has won.

But let it be known that in lieu of this act

(This crusade to obtain both the hat and pants back)

That Bono, resplendent in stetson and leather,

Shall be known as the Twat in the Hat. Forever.

Dr Sue Us


“A village renowned for its pottery is the venue of the British National Party's summer gathering. Residents of Denby in Derbyshire fear violent clashes as the police try to prevent anti-fascists stopping the Red, White and Blue Festival. They say that last year's inaugural event involved skinheads with vicious dogs descending on the Derbyshire countryside playing tapes of martial tunes from the Third Reich.”

Every year in August, rain or shine,

the neo-nazis pack their family cars

with tents and tins of beans and German wine,

pj’s, suncream, tambourines, guitars,

and head off to a field in Derbyshire.

Mugs of hot tea brewed on open fires;

dozing under canvas, breakfast rashers,

a good sing-song before the kiddies tire.

The last thing you’d expect in such a camp

would be funny business. A bit of an upset.

But this year, more than sunburnt heads or damp,

A strange to-do the campers won’t forget –

for on the Sunday morning, rising early,

a family of nazis from Broadstairs

(Baz, his young son Hermann and wife Shirley)

find their trousers missing. All three pairs.

And stumbling from their tent into the sunlight

they see people everywhere in boots and vests,

searching dewy corners of the campsite

without their trousers on. Half-undressed.

Some troublemaker (probably a red!)’s

obviously snuck in after dark

and with the master race tucked up in bed

has half-inched all their trousers for a lark.

Of course, the organisers are displeased

as strideless they stride forth (or hide in tents)

for stormtroopers look daft with knobbly knees

and their naked lowers sour the whole event.

Some disgruntled campers go home early;

but crying ‘no surrender!’ some do not –

they stay for Sunday’s barn dance and rally,

do their goosepimpled goosestep sans-culotte.

And later, pantaloonless bottom-feeders

applaud Herr Kommandant’s half-hearted rant –

but for all his stirring speech, their party leader

doesn’t look the part without his pants.


In a garden up behind the village houses

war veteran and pensioner Freddy Miles

tends his fire of rubbish, leaves and trousers

then looks away, salutes the past, and smiles.

"I don't think I've ever read poetry, ever." (Eminem)