1. Every month we put an U2 fan in the spotlights, the fan of the month November 2009 is user sonia_lastrega. Sonia is from Australia and attended some recent shows in the US. Besides that she works as a researched and tells us more about that. Read along!

    Tell us something about yourself, who are you and what do you do for a living?
    Who am I? Now there's a question for the existentialists and philosophers. What I do know is, I'm Australian, which is sometimes a peculiar thing to be, living as i do in a jewel green strip wedged between the desert and the sea, in a country without much sense of history, where 'old' is either unimaginably old or laughably young in terms of the rest of the world. It gives me an odd world view, I think, especially as someone who travels a fair bit. Australia chafes me a little at times, Brisbane quite a bit more, and my feet itch to get away, but I'm always pleased to come home again.

    Telling the whole story of my life would take way too long, so the condensed version goes something like: I was born, I grew up (though not too much or too well), I ran away and had adventures, spent some time without a home, did some highly dubious jobs, I had a daughter, an ill-advised and short-lived teenage marriage, twin sons, I grew up some more, fell in love with a woman, lost her, went to university, became a nurse, went to university again, moved into research, went to university again where I'm currently doing the MSc that's kicking my arse.

    I like black coffee, Chinese food and single malt scotch (not all at once), tattoos and piercings, sci-fi but not fantasy, crime not romance, cats not dogs, Manchester not London, and have a long-term crush on Susan Sarandon.

    How did you become a fan of U2, tell us how it happened?
    U2 kind of crept up on me, back in the early 80s. The last high school I was at had a student radio station and a friend and I had a regular slot where we'd play a lot of British import stuff, Joy Division, New Order, Happy Mondays, The Clash, Wham (lol), and U2. We used to have to order the vinyl singles from the only record shop in the city who would get them in for us, which usually required a bus trip after school to go pick them up. Where I grew up was notoriously backwards and corrupt in those days and rock music and politics were very closely tied, so the political passion in U2's music really appealed to me.

    Does anyone in your family or one of your friends like U2? If so, did they introduce you to U2, or did you "convert" them?
    My friends and I go see a lot of live music and go to festivals (so much so we have a shared Google calendar to manage our scheduling), but I'm pretty much the only U2 fan among them. My daughter, who's 24, is a big fan and came with me to the Vertigo gig in Brisbane. If they come back to Australia, no doubt she'll be with me again. My boys aren't really into them, but I can forgive them that lapse of taste because they're otherwise pretty cool.

    You attended some recent shows in the US, which one did you enjoy the most?
    They were all amazing in their own ways, but I think Chicago 2 was one of the best concerts I've ever seen by any band ever. It just all came together and blew me right away.

    What do you think of the recent broadcast of the Rose Bowl show on YouTube?
    Can I admit I haven't watched it yet? I was working during the stream and due to various kinds of computer fail haven't managed to see it all yet. The plan is to make time this weekend and do it. Full marks to the band for taking the risk and streaming the gig though. I often criticise U2 for not understanding the internet (they don’t) but this was an awesome thing for them to do. I really hope it works out the way they want.

    How does U2 compare with other concerts you've seen?
    I don't think there's an act in the world that gives you a show like they do. There are better musicians out there, lots of them, but as the full package of an experience, U2 are out there on their own. The first major gig I ever went to was David Bowie in 1983, which made a major impression on me, but I still think U2 goes deeper and says more.

    In a house fire, which one of your U2 items would you save?
    As much as I love the band, they're the last thing I'd be thinking of if my house burnt down. I have kids and cats who I'd be saving long before any material stuff. I've got some nice U2 stuff, don't get me wrong, but in the end it's just stuff. I went a long time without owning very much of anything and even now I find I can't get too attached to things.

    How did you hear about U2start?
    I think I saw it mentioned on another forum. I'm enjoying it a lot so far. The official forum does my head in with its mind-numbing stupidity and lack of usability so this has been a nice change.

    Can you tell us something more about your occupation as researcher?
    I research healthcare, largely in the way we deliver care to people and the things we do to look after them. I've been very fortunate in my career and have had a lot of opportunities to travel and do interesting things. I have a couple of different jobs, and I also do a little teaching and lecturing from time to time to keep things interesting.

    What are your hobbies and interests away from U2, musical or otherwise?
    Like I said up there somewhere in all that raving on, I go to a lot of gigs and festivals; though I've had to cut back with the workload I've had lately. Music is really important to me; I'd be totally lost without it. My other favourite thing, which I like to combine with my first favourite thing wherever possible, is travelling. I have a very long list of places I want to see. In the last few years I've started making a dent in the list, but it's still very long. I love everything about travelling, even flying. I was lucky enough to be able to go to Dublin last year (and stay at The Clarence) which was like several dreams come true all at once for me.

    I'm also quite politically active in various causes and it's quite possible that calling out/mocking bigots has become a hobby. If not a hobby then it's definitely a major pastime. Geekery is my other major passion and I've kind of embraced social networking as a lifestyle. I've been on Livejournal almost since it started (9 years?), and have branched out into Facebook and Twitter in recent years. I'm mostly about the communication and the socialising, so those fit right in.

    Thanks again, Remy and U2start, for inviting me to do this and if anyone's made it this far without their brain dribbling out their ears, thank you too.

    Thanks for this interview sonia_lastrega!

    Note: Our crew members randomly pick fans of the month, you can't sign up for it.
  2. Very nice interview. Good to have you on board
  3. bloody good read
  4. Sonya, you just came here on the boards but I'm glad we have you. Nice read, nice to get to know you.
  5. Great great read. Congratulations, Sonia, and very nice to have ou among us. Now that is an interesting answer of our usual 1st question...

  6. love your story
  7. What a great story
  8. Thanks, guys.
  9. I do feel almost famous knowing you! *bows down* I'm glad you were at TO with me, my best experience ever! I am actually heartened when I see how much you've done uni-wise, because I don't know, I think one day I want to go back and the thought always scares me, but you've done it and I guess I could do it too.

    I'll sum up by saying: I like knowing you.
  10. Originally posted by bonoffee:I do feel almost famous knowing you! *bows down* I'm glad you were at TO with me, my best experience ever! I am actually heartened when I see how much you've done uni-wise, because I don't know, I think one day I want to go back and the thought always scares me, but you've done it and I guess I could do it too.

    I'll sum up by saying: I like knowing you.

    Awww...bb... ditto
  11. Good to have you here mate. And a nice new perspective on all things U2!

    Another fellow Brisbanite?
  12. That was indeed a bloody good read
    I've also happened to notice quite some brilliant posts by this lady
    GOod to have you and congrats with the honourable election of Fan of the Month