The Dalkey Book Festival in Dublin closed on Sunday evening with a public interview with musician and activist Bob Geldof. In a wide-ranging discussion of topics including Brexit, Europe, Donald Trump, the Irish rebellion, Yeats, punk music, the Internet, and life growing up in nearby Dun Laoghaire in the 1960s, Geldof showed that at 64 the famously foul-mouthed, highly articulate frontman for The Boomtown Rats has lost none of his vigor.
Much of the discussion focused on the upcoming Brexit referendum. Geldof is passionately opposed to it, and fearful of dire consequences for Europe if the UK becomes “the loose strand on the European cardigan.” Last week’s murder of MP Jo Cox may have galvanized the Remain campaign, but the result is by no means certain. “Britain has an anarchic nature,” says Geldof, who fears that voters will choose to say “F*ck it, let’s just quit Europe.” Geldof also shared his opinions on several politicians. “Trump is a vulgar, thick, bombastic egomaniac,” he said. Vladimir Putin is “a political thug.” And as for Maggie Thatcher? Geldof sees her as something of a punk. “Maggie Thatcher was just Johnny Rotten in drag.”