By Eileen Murphy
Really, we should have seen this coming. Following in the footsteps of her former friend The Artist Formerly Known as Prince, aka TAFKAP (but we like to call him Taffy), eccentric singer Sinead O’Connor has also decided to ditch her given name. In the future, the shaven-headed singer will be known as Bernadette Mary O’Connor. Make that, Mother Bernadette Mary O’Connor.
Yes, in the future, Sine — whoops! Bernadette Mary — will be busy ripping sinners from the bosom of Satan rather than ripping up pictures of His Holiness, the pope. That’s because Sine . . . Bernie has been ordained as a bishop by Bishop Michael Cox, a member of Palmar de Troya, a Catholic splinter group.
Bernie was ordained during a visit to the shrine at Lourdes, which followed a recent suicide attempt and a nasty custody battle with Irish journalist John Waters over their daughter Rosin. She credits the shrine, and her conversion by Bishop Cox, with helping her saving her life.
"If I had not come here, I would have killed myself," she told reporters.
Bernie says that her new duties will include performing baptisms and administering the Last Rites. But, she says, "I intend to continue working as a singer." The only difference is "I won’t be known as Sinead O’Connor." Whatever.
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Of course it’s nice to note, in these secular times, that Mother O’Connor’s record labels, Atlantic Records and East-West Records, are "100 million per cent behind" her. In fact, says O’Connor, fans wishing to receive the sacraments from her can write to either company, making sure to mark the envelopes with a cross:
Mother Bernadette Mary O’Connor
c/o Atlantic Records
1290 Ave. of the Americas
New York, NY 10104
And just in case you were wondering about fasting for an hour before one of her concerts, you’ll be happy to know that while she says that she can say Mass, she won’t do it while she’s onstage. Whew.
‘Teen’ idols can carry a tune
— but they can’t carry the 1
Admitting to advanced age is only beneficial to fine wines, smelly cheeses and uncomfortable furniture – just ask any female entertainer. But even so, we were surprised to hear that the new crop of dewy-faced Irish and English pop stars have been busily shaving years off their birth certs.
Now brace yourselves: you know those nice girls in B*Witched? Well, not one looks old enough to go to an R-rated movie without a parent, but appearances can be deceiving. The record company says that twins Edele and Keavy Lynch are only 18 years old, but official records show that they’re actually 21. And bandmate Sinead, who admits to 19, is actually a relatively ancient 26. In fact, the only one of these teen sensations who’s actually still a teen is Lindsay, who’s barely 17.
Last year’s pop phenomenon Kerri Ann Keogh, from Tallaght in Dublin, says she’s only 18, but she was born in December 1977, which means she’s 21. Similarly, British popster Britney Spears admits to 17, but she’s actually 22.
One might wonder why these young singers felt compelled to lie about their ages, but really, it’s no big mystery. Their music is targeted at teen audiences, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that teens identify with other teens — not old geezers of 22. It’s this harsh reality that prompter Boyzone manager and pop impresario Louis Walsh to hint that his band – whose members will soon qualify for old-age pensions — will soon call it quits.
Of course, the most shocking revelation here is that former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell – long rumored to be well past her sell-by date — is actually just 26 years old. Like she’s said all along. Geez — who’da thunk it?
Meryl and Gaybo: dancing the last dance?
Believe it or not, Irish TV personality Gay Byrne drools over actress Meryl Streep the way we do over Brad, Liam and Bono. (Yeesh! Ain’t there no dignity left?)
Anyway, we hear that Gay’s most cherished wish is to have Meryl as a guest on his "Late Late Show." And now that he’s retiring from the weekly grind, he’s hoping to have Streep on the couch for the last show, which airs May 21.
Streep, who met Gaybo at the premiere of her film, "Dancing at Lughnasa," has said that she would love to be on the show — it all depends on her hectic Hollywood schedule. She’s also putting it to a family vote, so if we can bribe the housekeeper, we’ll let you know.
Tenors of the times
The last vestiges of green paint have been worn away from the center of Fifth Avenue, the "Kiss Me I’m Irish" buttons have been packed away for another year, and St. Patrick’s Day has receded to just a dim and pleasant memory. But happily, "The Irish Tenors," which was the surprise hit of the 1999 Irish programming schedule on PBS, will return to croon love’s old sweet song – as well as a few others.
The show is slated for a repeat airing on PBS stations in June, and, according to insiders, there’s a 96 percent chance that the three singers — John McDermott, Ronan Tynan and Anthony Kearns — will get together for a U.S. tour, accompanied by the London Philharmonic. We also hear that there’s an "Irish Tenors 2" in the works — both video and CD.
But of course, what would a cultural phenomenon be without a spot of controversy? We hear, from a reliable source, that there’s going to be a change in the tenor lineup. Nothing’s definite yet, and everyone’s officially denying everything, so we can’t tell you more than that, but here’s a hint: the new voice could take things to a higher plane . . .
There was a satisfyingly large turnout for Charlie Comer’s memorial service at St. Agnes’ Church last weekend. Mary Ryan, of American Celtic Television, spoke briefly, and then invited Comer’s friends to get up and share their memories of the legendary publicist.
The funniest memory was offered by a journalist and photographer, who recalled meeting Charlie in the mid-1970s. She had been invited backstage by regg’ artist Peter Tosh – a Comer client – but, unfortunately, Tosh had neglected to tell Comer.
"When I opened the stage door, Charlie was standing there and he asked what I was doing there," she recalled.
"I explained that Peter had invited me, and that I was a photographer and a writer. Charlie looked at me for a minute, then scowled and said, ‘I don’t care who you are!’" she continued. "Then he slammed the door in my face."
She went home in a rage. "I just hated him," she laughed. "It wasn’t until years later that we met up again, and laughed about it. And we became really good friends."
The crowd then adjourned for brunch at Charlie’s favorite haunt, Eamonn Doran’s on Second Avenue. It was nice to catch up with Comer’s diverse group of friends, like Joe Ruane, Patricia O’Reilly, Claire Doran and Sive Walsh. As someone said, it was the kind of party Charles would have enjoyed – and you can’t ask for more than that.
They came out tops in the rock/pop category of our St. Patrick’s Day readers’ poll, they pack the crowds into Paddy Reilly’s, and they’re really nice, to boot. We refer, of course, to one of our favorite bands, the Prodigals.
The group has recently released a new album, "Go On," which is terrific — but, hey, you don’t have to take our word for it. Those of you in the New York City area can hear them perform live this Thursday, April 29, at 1 p.m. at HMV in Herald Square, 34th Street and Sixth Avenue. Later on, the party continues at Paddy Reilly’s Music Bar, at 29th Street and Second Avenue, beginning at 6:30 p.m.
On Saturday, May 1, the band is off to Atlanta to perform at the Music Midtown. The boys will be in good company; other performers include the Goo Goo Dolls, Peter Frampton and Willie Nelson. For information, you can call (404) 249-6400.
If you can’t make it to any of the shows, or if you just can’t get enough of the Prodigals, you can enter to win a copy of the band’s new album. We have 10 copies of "Go On" to give away. To enter, just send us a postcard (and we mean POSTCARD – no letters, please!) and give us four (only four!) words can you make from the letters in "Prodigals." The rules: words must contain at least four letters, and you use letters only once in each word. So put your thinking caps on, get out the pencils, and send your postcards to: I Want a Prodigals CD! c/o Irish Echo Newspaper, 309 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10016
Include your name, address and daytime phone number. You can also enter online at email@example.com. The subject line MUST contain "Prodigals, [your last name], [first initial]" and must include your name, address and phone number. All entries are due by Monday, May 10, at noon.