- 04 May 18
Featuring contributions from the likes of Bono, Noel Gallagher, Edna O’Brien and Van Morrison, Bob Geldof’s new documentary, WB Yeats: A Fanatic Heart offers a fascinating insight into the life and work of the iconic poet. Geldof here in his own words discusses his love of Yeats’ work, and also offers his view on the Repeal referendum and the Pope’s upcoming visit to Ireland.
Elsewhere, I needed to do the Bob Geldof On Fathers documentary for Channel 4, because that bothered me at the time, although I don’t think that was successful. I think Geldof In Africa kind of worked, but I think with the Channel 4 project I missed the target slightly. Perhaps it was effective to a point.
Anyway, with WB Yeats, there was an element of him being the original Irish punk. What he was saying to the Irish public was, “You are not defeated, you are this great people of Homeric legend.” He was telling them, “You are not bereft, you are this great people with creation heroes as grand as the Arthurian legends or the Wagnerian Cycles. This is who you are, there’s no defeat in that.”
I first developed an interest in Yeats when I was in school. I was around 15 or 16 in 1966 when the 50th anniversary of the Rising took place, and I was dismayed by it. I was into the Rolling Stones and The Who, and I was getting politically engaged. There was a war in Vietnam that I was against, there was all the anti-apartheid stuff that my mates and I were a part of.