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A singing Bono launches pirate radio novel

The U2 singer was in 37 Dawson Street to support his friend, first-time novelist Helen Seymour.

The Hot Press Newsdesk, 06 Feb 2013

The launch of Helen Seymour's first book Beautiful Noise was the hottest ticket in town last night as the great and good of Dublin gathered in 37 Dawson Street to celebrate the Howth writer's self-published work.

Chief among them was one Paul Hewson, with Bono giving a funny, touching speech about Beautiful Noise and its author, his friend Helen Seymour.

He began by reading a particularly sombre passage from the novel, the sentiment of which was "death is on call, death does its rounds, checking up, taking notes, taking lives."

He then broke from his reading to quip: "this is a very funny book", eliciting a big laugh from an illustrious audience that included The Works' John Kelly, comedian Barry Murphy, Hot Press editor Niall Stokes and Bill Cullen.

Bono continued: "This is not one of the funniest passages, but it is truly great writing."

He went on to speak highly of his friend and note the struggle she had to finish the book, which deals with Dublin pirate radio in the 1980s.

"Of course the novel's not really about pirate radio," he noted. "If anything this novel is about the inability of people to communicate with each other even as they're talking to the whole city... The book is a labour of love and the sound her baby made on entry to the world was indeed a beautiful noise."

He concluded, as is his wont, by singing Neil Diamond's 'Beautiful Noise' a capella ("bear with me as I invoke the spirit of de Diamond!") before Seymour herself thanks Bono, her friends, family, and read a passage from her book.

The 44-year-old author had moved in with her mother and started minimum wage work during the six years it took to pen Beautiful Noise. She turned down a substantial HarperCollins deal to maintain creative control.

It seems to have paid off, as Dundalk director John Moore (Behind Enemy Lines, A Good Day To Die Hard) has optioned the book for a big screen adaptation.

Bono became friends with Seymour through his wife, Ali Hewson, who worked with her on the Shut Sellafield Campaign.

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