Do you actually like your oldest friends or is it too late to change now?

DO you have mates that you presume you must like because you’ve known them since secondary school? Here’s how to tell if there’s nothing there apart from longevity.

You see them twice a year

You spent every day after school and all your weekends together until you went your separate ways for uni. Now you see them for an awkward, obligatory weekend away together each summer and when you go back to your home town for Christmas. And even that feels a bit too much. 

You’ve got nothing to talk about apart from the old days

You’ve got plenty to talk about with newer friends, because you met them via similar interests. Of your old friends, one’s a raging Brexiter, one turns every conversation round to his kids, and one keeps bringing up Joe Rogan bollocks. The only safe topic of conversation is the distant past. Despite your many faults, you’ve definitely not still carrying a pathetic torch for Natalie Hughes who you did technical drawing with in 1986.

You endlessly rehash your teenage arguments

You’re a 45-year-old parent with a mortgage and a sensible car, and yet you’re still arguing with your friends about whether The Bends is better than OK Computer. The fact is that none of you has listened to a Radiohead album since 2004, and would wince at the horrible noise like your own dad listening to dubstep.

There’s no chance you’d ring them in an emergency

If you needed a friend to come and help in an emergency, or a shoulder to cry on, the last people you’d call would be these twats. They’d rip the piss and then point out how you similarly wrote off your car or got horribly dumped back in 1998, which would only compound your misery as you’d like to think you’ve developed as a human in the last 25 years.

You’ll be at each other’s funerals

Other friends will come and go but you’re stuck with these stupid bastards for life. You’ll totter along to each other’s funerals, telling anyone who’ll listen you’ve been friends for 80 years, then get pissed at the pub afterwards, make a tit of yourself and throw up. Just like the ‘good’ old days.

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'God prays to me for advice': Excerpts from Bono's new autobiography

BONO is promoting Surrender, his autobiography describing his life via the songs of U2. Might it be the tiniest bit self-important? Read these selected excerpts and decide for yourself.

Meeting Barack Obama

I had cocktails at the White House with Obama, or Bazza, as he insists on me calling him. ‘Bono, you would make a great president. I’m shit at it compared to you,’ he said. I considered taking over, but a free spirit like me has to do things his own way. However I’ve said I’ll step in as POTUS if Earth needs saving from nuclear war, a massive meteorite or a godzilla.

Talking to God

Sometimes I hear a tiny voice pleading for help, saying things like ‘Almighty Bono, how can I be a better omnipotent deity?’ It’s clearly God asking for my advice. I always set him straight on world peace, ending poverty and how to give Jesus his own space. I know he appreciates it because I won 20 Euros on the Irish lotto the other day. He works in mysterious ways.

The creative process

How do you explain genius? Here’s my humble attempt. First I write some words. It’s good if they rhyme a bit, and are about a big subject, eg. the entire history and culture of America. Some artists say they channel a higher creative power, but I find it’s more worthwhile to channel me. Then I instruct the others how to do the song: ‘play the guitar fast, Dave’, ‘sad’, or ‘quieter so you can hear my vocals’. And hey presto – another unforgettable U2 mega-hit like Love Rescue Me.

The secret of a perfect marriage

I’ve been with my wife Ali for 40 blissful years. My advice? Always put your partner first. Every birthday without fail I present her with a poem by me, or a tape of me on acoustic guitar. Or I might get her some ear plugs. Ali absolutely loves ear plugs and has a massive collection, as well as AirPods and industrial ear muffs. She suffers from overly sensitive hearing, she says.

Being a Writer

Obviously I’ve written lots of U2 lyrics, but this is my first book. I shouldn’t be surprised, but I found it piss-easy. I could write a great novel like Dostoyevsky or Frederick Forsyth, but it’s more important to set out my own life and thoughts for future generations. And aliens, who, if they’re not here already, will want to spread my message across the universe. 

Evolving into a being of pure energy

I sometimes feel myself moving onto a higher plane of consciousness where I become one with the eternal song of the cosmos and its infinite wisdom, usually after about eight pints of Guinness. Don’t worry though – I’ll be back to do gigs and write books like this, recommended retail price £12.50 at all good bookshops. If they haven’t got it, ask them to order it and put it somewhere prominent, not behind the Nigella Christmas cookbooks.