By Eileen Murphy
He’s not just a good-looking, divorced Irish father — he also plays one on TV.
Hunky actor Gabriel Byrne found that life was imitating art a little too closely the other night when his ex-wife, Ellen Barkin, brought the couple’s kids to a taping of "Madigan Men" in Queens.
The Daily News reports that the entire studio audience was "tense," since the plot centered on Madigan’s adjustment to life as a newly divorced father. But apparently, Ellen and the kids enjoyed the show, since sources say she "laughed a lot." Well — duh! — it’s a comedy. Of course, if we were married to a billionaire (in her case, Ron Perelman), we’d spend a lot of time laughing, too.
Blight on Blighty
No one has to tell Sinead O’Connor (or whatever her name is these days) that England’s not the mythical land of Madame George and roses. The singer/priest is in an unholy rage over two recent muggings that have left her son, Jake, bruised and bikeless in London.
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The teenager lives with his father, musician John Reynolds. O’Connor, who had lived in London for years, recently moved back to Dublin to be near her other child, Roisin.
"London has turned into an awful, violent city," O’Connor fumed. "My son has been mugged twice. He was mugged again last week."
The attackers in the latest incident were older teenagers who demanded that Jake hand over his new BMX bicycle.
"He was standing on the bike and he wouldn’t get off it," O’Connor said. "They punched him on the face about 15 times and he still wouldn’t hand over the bike. One of them had a knife as well.
"Jake came home with a fat face," she said. "That is the second time that has happened."
O’Connor apparently thinks that Ireland is a better place for children.
"I am very grateful to be out of [London]," she told Pat Kenny on the "Late Late Show."
"Whatever about the violence in Dublin, it’s between grown-ups," she said. "Kids generally don’t beat each other up in this country. Kids are safe enough on the street here in Ireland."
Put your hands down — we’ll ask the obvious question for you. Hey, Sinead: wouldn’t it be better to get Jake a one way ticket across the Irish Sea?
Edge: not stuck in a moment
Being a fancy-pants rock legend or a catwalk queen is no guarantee that you’ll make the final cut on a U2 song track. Just ask Mick Jagger and his daughter, Elizabeth.
It seems that the Jaggers were invited to do backing vocals on one of the songs from the new U2 album, "All That You Can’t Leave Behind." So far, so good. But when the band sat down to do the final mix, the ballad "took a different direction" – a direction which didn’t include the Rolling Stone or his photogenic progeny.
But just so the recording session wasn’t a total loss, the lads sent the Jaggers a copy of the song with their vocals on it. Amusingly, the track is titled, "Stuck in a Moment You Can’t Get Out Of."
In more U2 news, Bono says that the new album is led more by songs than by ideas.
Back in the 1990s, the band was busy "working with DJs, deconstructing the eighties with ‘Achtung Baby’ and ‘Zooropa’ – chopping down the Joshua Tree," he said. Hence the sunglasses, MacPhisto and The Fly.
"They were all idea-led, and the songs came out of that," he explained.
The new album "was songs-led," he said.
"It felt that the year 2000 was no time to be smart-arsed, no time to wear sunglasses . . . I feel it’s time for an honest conversation. It’s time to talk in a way that rings true."
Though he rejects the idea of the sunglasses, Bono concedes that he hasn’t abandoned them completely.
"I am wearing them in the ‘Beautiful Day’ video," he admits.
Hey, Jagger has his trademark lips, Springsteen’s got his jeans — even Jimmy Buffet has his margarita. And no less an authority than the pope thought Bono’s glasses were cool. But really, it’s not vanity that makes Bono don the shades. Really.
"My eyes get red," he revealed.
Westlife ‘Steps’ into the gutter
There comes a time in every teen pop sensation’s life when he or she learns that the world can be a cold, cruel place. And, unfortunately, that time has come for our favoritest boy band, Westlife.
Sligo’s favorite hip-swingin’ sons were stunned to hear that a fellow pop band, Steps, has been saying mean things about them. Things like: Westlife only releases singles when there’s not much competition, and that’s why they’ve gone to No. 1. (Is it just us, or do those grapes taste sour?)
The Westies, bless their stout country hearts, are taking the high road in this little spat, which they can well afford to do. After all, they’ve earned six platinum singles and sold 7.5 million albums, so what have they got to prove?
But still, as Shakespeare observed, sharper than a serpent’s tooth is the carping of a fellow teen band.
Kian summed up the band’s feelings in Westlife’s weekly Sunday World column.
"Steps can kiss my arse in Brown Thomas’s window!" he huffed.
Oh, only kidding. What he really said was:
"If Steps feel like that, I feel sorry for them. I think they are a great band.
"I suppose if they want to slag us off they have the freedom to do it. But . . . we’re very surprised here in Westlife."
Awww. Isn’t that nice?
‘Finbar Lebowitz’ premieres on Cinemax
Dubliner Ronnie Drew makes his premium cable TV debut this week when the film "Finbar Lebowitz" airs on Sunday, Oct. 29, at 6:05 p.m. and again at 9:05 (ET). This is a small, sweet film about a young Dubliner (no, not a member of the band) who falls in love with a Jewish girl and decides to convert. Drew plays an orthodox rabbi. We’ve seen it, and we loved it. Don’t miss it.
Irish Rocker Jack Lukeman and his band will finish up their phenomenally successful American tour with shows on Oct. 28 and 29 at Mercury Lounge, 217 E. Houston St. For information, call (212) 260-4700.
Our favorite local band, The Prodigals, will also play Mercury Lounge on Sunday, Oct. 29, at 9 p.m. For information, call (212) 260-4700. The band, who are putting the finishing touches on their new album, which is set for release early next year, will be playing some new songs as well as favorites from their last album, "Go."
A sort of homecoming
Just as the swallows inevitably return to Capistrano, and even ex-Beatle Paul McCartney made a pilgrimage to the Cavern Club in Liverpool, another legend returns to its roots next month.
The biggest news in New York Irish music circles this week is the return of powerhouse Celtic rockers Black 47 to the place where it all started: Paddy Reilly’s Music Bar in New York City. The big blow-out party takes place on Wednesday, Nov. 8, at 10 p.m.
Tickets are $10 in advance, and those in the know will pick ’em up early — Black 47 attracts fans the way a magnet attracts metal shavings. We plan on getting down to Paddy Reilly’s early on the night, and maybe even sampling some of the wares in the world’s only all-Guinness pub (and no, that’s not a shameless plug for our sponsor – it’s the truth!).
We love Mel Gibson as much as the next red-blooded woman, but sometimes the irascible heartthrob speaks before his brain is fully awake. The New York Post reports that Gibson, who heads up a movie production company named Icon, says that the studio "has been responsible for some terrible [rhymes with spit] that’s been put out there."
One movie that Gibson mentions as an example of Icon’s poor judgment is "Million Dollar Hotel," which was written by Bono and directed by Wim Wenders. Gibson, known for his blunt language, says that the film is "as boring as a dog’s ass."
We couldn’t help thinking that not only is this a rather rude thing to say — it also doesn’t say much about Gibson’s acting choices. As we mentioned a few months ago, Gibson has a prominent role in the film. But maybe his part is exciting.
Win tix to the Irish Arts Center
It’s that blah time of year — summer’s over, the holidays are looming, and, as we’ve just been informed, we’re too old to go trick or treating, which means that Powder Puff Girl costume had better be returnable or we’re wearing it to the office Christmas party. Who couldn’t use a little excitement in their life?
Well, we’ve got 10 pairs of tickets to give away for the Irish Arts Center’s hot (no pun intended) new show,