“I can’t believe the news today…”
The news came down like an atomic bomb on Friday afternoon. Impact at 4:48 PM Swedish time. Our American colleagues at @U2 will say goodbye. In a little while.
The site was founded on October 23, 1995 by Matt McGee. Fans came from all over the world to the message boards. We got the latest news and rumours via the front page – or new album page about the next U2 album. After 25 years, the time has come to end all that. I had expected them to stay around until after U2 finished. Alas, that’s not happening now.
Matt left the site some time ago. On his personal blog, he details how he has experienced the last few years with U2 and with @U2. He returned last Friday, as the domain owner, to deliver the news. “This has been an extremely difficult year for @U2 and the fans who run this website” he writes. A major cause has been the corona pandemic in the United States. He also briefly mentions a legal and personal situation. Simply; the team got stuck in a moment they can’t get out of.
u2.se has for many years used atu2.com as a news source. I’m sure that when u2.se occasionally was the first with a news item, it also ended up with @U2. Our reader survey in early 2020 revealed a desire that u2.se should be more like atu2.com. Our reader’s perceive that @U2 is often first with the latest news and rumours. That will forever be the site’s legacy.
“The words you cannot say…”
Over the years, I have been acquainted with many of the staffers of @U2, and I have even contributed in small ways. When I visited Dublin in 2008, I met Aaron Govern outside Hanover Quay Studios. Aaron passed away this summer after being ill for a while. Following the postponement and the gunman in Stockholm 2015 I joined Matt and the gang to talk about what had happened at the Ericsson Globe Arena. A few years back, the @U2 Podcast was resurrected, hosted by Chris Enns. The theme song that I composed have been the start of 80 episodes, since episode 28. In my living room, there is a a print of a painting by Kelly Eddington, usually in charge of “Achtoon Baby”. (Bookmark achtoonbaby.com for more, says Kelly).
With the news last Friday, I officially expressed our thanks, via Twitter. Afterwards, I exchanged a few words with Matt in private. He was grateful that I had reached out, and we had a nice chat about life in general.
“A star that’s dying in the night”
Running a website like atu2.com is certainly like navigating an entire cosmos. In the microcosm that is u2.se, I have gained some insight and experience of what it can be like. It’s a challenge sometimes. There are contrasts. You always have to prioritize. I think that as a staffer at @U2, the workload, responsibility, expectations and so on is tenfold. It is unfortunate to hear how it has been. It makes me angry, to some extent.
Let it be said that those who run these kind of projects are human. Not celebrities. Not superheroes. Just ordinary people with a burning passion. When that light has burned out, it is difficult to continue. It is easy to forget that sometimes.
“Love is not the easy thing…”
There will obviously be a large crater left after this impact. How do you dismantle a news bomb, of this magnitude? I would say as with any atomic bomb; with love. In conclusion, I would like to urge our readers not to engage in speculation. Former staff have already gone out with the same appeal.
Let us instead show respect, care and love to all those who have selflessly shared their passion for over 25 years.
Please, take time and write something nice to Matt or one of the other staffers whose contributions have touched you. They need you now. We are all humans. We are all part of the same U2 family. There is a light. Don’t let it go out.
Love is not the easy thing
The only baggage you can bring
Is all that you can’t leave behind…
October 26th 2020, Stockholm