(c) Corp. By Eileen Murphy
The times, they are a-changing, particularly in Holy Mother Ireland.
Celebrating its launch this week is the country’s first gay lifestyle magazine, Gi (Gay Ireland). Heralding this cultural milestone is an ad campaign plastered on billboards throughout the country. The artwork in the ads features male models, posing as GAA players, in passionate clinches. The pictures are accompanied by the tag line, “Relax. It’s a gay thing.”
Gi magazine (the “i” is small, presumably to avoid confusion with military titles) is the brainchild of Irish publisher John Ryan, whose last major project was the successful VIP magazine. The title is aimed primarily at the gay male community, and will feature lifestyle issues, celebrity interviews, fashion news and politics.
Ryan told the Irish Star that his reasons for launching the publication were twofold: it was commercially viable, and it’s a “reasonably important magazine” for its target audience.
And what’s with the GAA ad theme?
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“We wanted to capture the epitome of Irish masculinity,” said Ryan.
“The GAA footballer and hurler are the last word in Irish manhood.”
Surprisingly, the ads – which feature kissy-faced men in the GAA uniforms of Dublin, Meath, Tipperary, Galway and Kerry – are not causing as much controversy as Ryan expected. The Sunday Independent ran a poll indicating that 24 percent of city folk and 36 percent of their country cousins found the posters offensive. In related news, we hear that 10 percent plan to sign up immediately with their local GAA clubs.
“Actually, I thought there would be a lot more opposition to it,” said Ryan wryly.
The GAA says that it’s reserving official comment until its top officials have a chance to review the ad campaign. But one insider told the Star, “There are GAA players who are gay, too.”
The Corrs: Pretty in punk
We’ve always been of the opinion that you could pour motor oil over the Corrs siblings, roll them in dirt and dress them in Hefty bags, and they’d still look fabulous. Unfortunately, this opinion was confirmed this week, when the debonair darlings of Dundalk ditched their designer duds (Look, Ma! Alliteration!) to punk it up in a new video.
The group’s new look will be seen in the video for their new single, “Would You Be Happier?” The girls sport quasi-mohawks, while Jim tips his flowing locks to Adam Ant with his studded belt and pirate mask.
The band’s manager, John Hughes, explains the concept behind the outlandish look.
“It’s the Corrs having a laugh at themselves,” said Hughes. “But it’s also the philosophy behind the song: would you be happier as someone else?”
Someone like Andrea, perhaps? Talented, gorgeous and filthy rich? Perish the thought.
In related news, we see that Jim Corr’s on-again, off-again girlfriend, former Miss Ireland Andrea Roche, has discovered the importance of underwear.
To a model’s portfolio, that is.
“It’s good for a model to have good bikini or underwear shots in her book,” said the Tipperary temptress. To that end, she’s spent the last six months working out in the gym.
There is much competition in London,” she said. “I have no other alternative but to get in better shape.”
Roche won’t confirm whether she and Jimbo are on or off at the moment, but does admit to being flattered when people say she looks like one of the Corrs girls.
“There’s been comparisons made, alright,” she confirmed. “They’re beautiful girls. I couldn’t be offended in any way by being likened to any of them.”
So will Andrea Roche become the next Andrea Corr? Only time will tell. But the Sunday World reports that she responded to the question with “a large smirk.”
Westlife finishes new CD
The Westlife boys have been keeping a low profile for the last few months, working in a world of their own. Actually, make that working on a “World of Our Own,” – the hotly anticipated new album from the Irish quintet.
Recent events, including promotional tours and the birth of Bryan McFadden’s daughter Molly had forced them to shelve the project for a while, but Westie Shane Filan says that the lads were determined to give it a good dose of TLC.
“Even though the last album, “Coast to Coast,” was good, it was a bit rushed,” he said.
“We took our time with this one, which is the reason we’ve been out of the spotlight for so long.”
So, our inner teenybopper wants to know, what’s on the album?
“There are still a lot of ballads on the album but a few up-tempo tunes as well,” said Shane. “We didn’t see any reason to change the formula.”
By the way, just in case you were wondering about the secret to the band’s success, Shane’s got it all figured out.
“I think we have a knack of always coming up with the right single at the right time,” he said.
Speaking of new daddy Bryan, we hear that he and fiancTe Kerry Katona have set a January 2002 wedding date. (Ah, young love.)
In more Westlife news, we hear that the boys’ former rivals, the short-lived stubble band Five, have been forced by an Irish court to cough up some do-re-mi. The reason? Two of the Fives (does that make them a Ten?) got into a scuffle in a Dublin pub last year, when patrons started comparing them unfavorably to Westlife.
Jason Brown, or “J,” as he’s known to thousands . . . well, make that hundreds . . . actually, make that dozens . . . of devoted fans, was forced to pay _5,000 to charity for his role in the fracas. Fellow Fiver Richard Dobson – shall we assume that he was known as “R”? – was fined _3,000.
Jason, obviously not one to beat around the bush, was both apologetic and refreshingly candid when the hearing was over.
“Of course I’m sorry,” he told London’s Star newspaper.”I whacked him.”
Porker nearly buys the farm
We told you recently that “Bridget Jones” star Renee Zellweger has taken hunky George Clooney off the single shelf – pending the approval of his beloved pot-bellied pig, Max. This week, we hear that the portly porker has met with an unfortunate accident – nothing life-threatening, you understand, just a few scrapes and bruises – when one of George’s buddies ran over him with a car.
The shaken pal, Tommy Hinkley, explained to a British magazine, “Max is a black pig and it was dark. It seems kind of funny now, but at the time it certainly wasn’t.”
Hinkley is on record as saying that he hopes George and Renee tie the knot, though we’ve yet to hear from Max on the matter. But don’t be surprised if the little swine (Max, that is) starts sucking up to the actress. Before she develops a hankering for bacon, that is.
In more Clooney news, we’re hearing rumors that he’ll return to the hit NBC drama “ER” for three episodes this season. (Note to self: buy blank videotapes).
Paddy at Paddy’s
Here’s your chance to do a good deed while enjoying a performance by one of Ireland’s legendary entertainers. On Thursday, Oct. 18, Paddy Reilly will perform at his namesake pub, Paddy Reilly’s Music Bar, 519 Second Ave., NYC. The show is a benefit for the firefighters of Engine 16-Ladder 7 in Manhattan. The show starts at 9 p.m., and tickets are $15 – and just hearing Reilly sing “Dublin in the Rare Old Times” is worth the price of admission, in our opinion. For more information, call (212) 686-1210. Tickets are available at the bar.
They won our “Best Irish Band” readers poll a couple of years ago, and since then, it’s been nothing but blue sky for The Prodigals. The band, which recently released their terrific new CD, “Dreaming in Hell’s Kitchen,” is off on tour again. Fans up and down the eastern seaboard can catch them during the following pit stops: 10/19: NYC, at Paddy Reilly’s; 10/20: Philly, at Finnigan’s Wake; 10/25: Atlanta, at Smith’s Olde Bar; 10/26: Chattanooga, Tenn., at The Bay; 10/28: Hilton Head at Blue Nite; 11/02: NYC, at Paddy Reilly’s; 11/03: Quincy, Mass., at Beachcomber; 11/09.
No, you’re No. 1!
Don’t invite Irish singers Bono and Christy Dignan to the same dinner party any time soon. Years ago, the Aslan front man scheduled a meeting with U2’s shining star at a Dublin pub. Things didn’t go too well, and Christy is still nursing a super-size grudge against his famous rival.
Dignan says that he was looking for a little career advice, maybe a boost from the biggest name in Irish music (since Daniel O’Donnell, anyway). What he got was – well, let him tell it.
“Bono was two and a half hours late,” huffed Dignan.
“When he finally arrived in the pub and listened to our song, he said, ‘That’s a bag of $#^&!’ Basically, he wouldn’t help us.”
Needless to say, that was not the sort of thing Dignan wanted to hear. But, he says, he and the band had the last laugh. The single, “This Is,” was nominated for a Hot Pres music award that year, as was Bono’s single, “In a Lifetime.” Aslan won.
“You’d want to see Bono’s face,” snickered Dignan.
“I gave him the finger signal as we went to the stage.” Talk about being a gracious winner.
Of course, U2 had the longer laugh. Fast forward 10 years to 2001, and the band is completing the third leg of their sold-out Elevation Tour, and Bono’s trading glasses with the pope. But Dignab says he’s not terribly impressed.
“Aslan can play live to thousands or to 200 in a small club,” he said. “It makes no difference to us.”
“We’re not into the fame game,” he sniffed. Hey, thank goodness.
Unrepentant Fenian, well…
Had our best night out in a long time this past Monday night, when Chris Byrne (formerly of Black 47, currently fronting Seanchai and the Unity Squad) threw a party to celebrate his legal victory over the BBC.
Rocky Sullivan’s was packed with well-wishers as Seanchai rocked the house with its distinctive mix of hip-hop, regg’ and trad. Byrne introduced a beautiful new song, “Gates of Hell,” about the cops and firemen who died at Ground Zero, and performed standards like “Neon Beacon,” “It’s Time to Go,” and our favorite, “Walk All the Days.”
Lawyer Eamon Dornan wound up dancing in front of the stage by the end of the night. Later, we complimented him on his moves.
“Was it all right?” he asked. “Be honest!”
We couldn’t fool a sharp legal mind.
“Your finger snaps were a bit off,” we whispered. “But on the whole, you were great.”
The best line of the night was when Byrne told the crowd that “This is NOT an official part of the UkwithNY week!” This was a reference to the celebration of British culture taking place around New York this week. It was also a pointed barb, since the BBC had just lost a lawsuit filed by Byrne after they used his music without permission.
Byrne ended the music at around 8:30 p.m., “So you Yankee fans can watch the game,” he said.
“Though I don’t know what you’re so worried about,” he growled, in that grumpy tone that Mets fans have mastered. “You guys know you’re gonna win, anyway. You always do.”
So true, so true.
Oy, U! Ronan has feelings 2
Children of Lir, hear this: like Rodney Dangerfield, Ronan Keating says he gets no respect.
The former Boyzone boyo – now a successful solo artist with the requisite model wife, two kids and a mouthful of shiny white teeth – says that his Irish fans don’t treat him with the same reverence they reserve for U2. And that makes him mad as hell.
“It’s hard going from being the golden boy and everybody wanting a piece of you to people taking the p*** and slagging you,” Ronan told MTV Asia.
See, for all his fame, the blond crooner just wants to snuggle up to the bosom of his countryfolk. Figuratively speaking.
“I’d love to come home to this country, like U2 do, and have people shake [my] hand and say, ‘Fair play to you,’ ” he said.
We couldn’t help thinking that this was a nice sentiment, but probably wouldn’t work on a practical level. Can you imagine how thrilled Ro’s bodyguards would be if every Tom, Dick and Mary came running up to congratulate him? But whatever.
“We’re all ambassadors for our country,” said Ro. “People forget that.” Got it? By the way, like all ambassadors, Ro is putting the finishing touches on his second solo effort, due out early next year.
Since Ronan’s feelings are a bit raw at the moment, we wouldn’t want to be the one to tell him that Paul Marazzi, a member of British boy band a1, has called him “the least talented person I’ve ever met in the industry – ever.”
In a recent interview with MTV Asia – doesn’t anyone talk to MTV USA anymore? – Marazzi meowed, “He’s been through a lot of hard times, our Ronan, but he still shouldn’t sing.”
Robbie to Robbie: pass the pasta
Irish soccer hero Robbie Keane confesses that he was really excited to meet another famous Robbie. We refer, of course, to Brit hottie Robbie Williams, whose picture stares out at us from our computer desktop. But we’re getting off the subject.
Keane – no slouch himself in the looks department – was invited backstage before a recent Williams concert. And he admits to being a bit gobsmacked in the singer’s presence.
“I was completely speechless when I saw him,” Keane told the Sunday World.
“In my book, he’s the top man,” said the footie star. “But he was genuinely [excited] to meet me, which was quite weird.”
As the two stars made awkward small talk, the singer asked the footballer an odd question.
“I was mumbling some rubbish when he asked me what he should eat before the gig.
“My mind went blank, and all I could say was, ‘Er, chicken and pasta.’ ”
As if we weren’t impatient enough, we hear that Martin Scorsese’s long-delayed hunkfest, “Gangs of New York” (starring Daniel Day Lewis, Liam Neeson and some guy named DiCaprio), will feature a theme song penned by U2. There’s some talk about opening the film in limited release during the Christmas season to qualify for next year’s Oscars. (Hurry up, Marty! Yes, we’re talking to you.)
Angelic Derry actress Roma Downey has reportedly made some important life decisions in the wake of the WTC attack. We hear that the “Touched By An Angel” star has ended her relationship with actor Michael Nouri, sending the (legally separated) actor back to his wife. Roma is currently promoting her new children’s book, “Love Is a Family.”