It really must be tons of fun being a rock star, especially if you like to go around head-butting perfect strangers for no good reason. At least, that’s what we’ve gathered from a recent news item in the Sun.
The paper reports that frolicsome Oasis singer Liam Gallagher was forced to cough up a pile of dough to assuage the hurt feeling of British fan — or, perhaps more accurately, former fan — Ben Jones. The hapless Jones made the mistake of including the Oasis boys — or, at least, their hotel — in his jolly holiday snaps. Not, in retrospect, such a good idea.
Liam exploded like — dare we say it? — a champagne supernova when the flashbulbs started to pop. Apparently camera shy, he bumped brows with the amateur photog. A court in Australia, which is where the incident took place, ruled that this was very, very rude, and awarded Jones $100,000 in damages.
In more Oasis news, we hear that the boys have been banned from flying on Cathay Pacific Airways due to obnoxious behavior on their flight from Hong Kong to Australia. Reportedly, the boys abused airline personnel and fellow passengers and smoked during the flight. Sounds to us like someone needs a good kick in the Wonderwall . . .
Nothing compares 2 . . . John
We’re happy to report that Sinead O’Connor’s lives — both professional and personal — are in a definite upswing. The incomparably talented singer, known for her angelic voice and usual lack of hair, has signed a recording deal with Atlantic Records and is working on an album, which is due out next year. More important, the divorced mother of two has found love with a British music publisher and composer, John Robertson.
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The couple met at a party last year, and have been inseparable since. According to the Sunday World, they share a house in London and are regularly spotted strolling hand in hand.
Sinead has told friends, “I’ve been going out with John longer than I’ve gone out with anyone.” She added: “I’m not quite married, but I may as well be. It’s only a matter of time.”
O’Connor, whose previous relationships have included a marriage to drummer John Reynolds and a highly publicized liaison with Irish Times journalist John Waters, jokes that the name “John” has special significance for her.
“I only go out with guys called John, so I don’t have to change the his and her bathrobes,” she giggled. “Or the tattoos.” You go, girl.
Books we love . . .
Well, we won’t criticize Modern Library/Harvard University list of the 100 Greatest Novels of the 20th Century. After all, everyone’s entitled to their opinion, right? But we must point out that any such list — whether it be compiled by Harvard scholars or high school dropouts — is highly suspect if it doesn’t contain at least one Jackie Collins novel. Like, what do those Harvard people read at the beach, anyway? “Death Come for the Archbishop” (No. 61)? “Of Human Bondage” (No. 66)? Sheesh.
We will, however, take a few minutes to crow about the fact that Irish writer James Joyce came in at No. 1 with his brilliant, if impenetrable “Ulysses,” and at No. 3 with the more accessible “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.” The Dublin genius also took the No. 77 slot with “Finnegans Wake.”
Among the notable Irish or Irish American authors on the list are F. Scott Fitzgerald, Carson McCullers, John O’Hara, James T. Farrell, William Kennedy and J.P. Dunleavy. Fitzgerald’s masterwork, “The Great Gatsby,” came in at No. 2, while “Tender is the Night” came in at No. 28. McCullers’s “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter” came in at No. 17, while Farrell’s “The Studs Lonigan Trilogy” came in at No. 29. O’Hara took the No. 22 spot with “Appointment in Samarra”; Kennedy came in at No. 92 with “Ironweed.” Rounding off the list was Dunleavy’s “Gingerbread Man,” which squeaked in at No. 99.
One note, though, before the Modern Library people get too uppity about all this publicity. In a previous life — that is, before we started keeping you up to date on important stuff like BoyZone and U2 — we majored in English Literature. And the one thing that sets English majors apart — other than the ability to tell dirty Shakespearean jokes — is the scorn we are taught to feel toward perfectly good publishing houses.
We can remember, years ago, taking a seminar on literary criticism. Each week, someone would present a critical survey of a chosen work plus an annotated bibliography. I can still remember the professor’s grating, incredulous, sarcastic laugh when he saw a Modern Library edition cited as the standard text.
Hey, to us, a book is a book is a book. We did learn a lesson, though: Modern Library books are easy on the budget, but don’t put ’em in your bibliography. And laugh pityingly at anyone who does. Or something like that.
Back to the CDs in ships . . .
Those of you who just can’t get enough of “Titanic,” and who go to see it time and time again — apparently in hopes that next time, the boat won’t sink — should be a little happier this week. Strong sales of the original “Titanic” soundtrack have inspired the producers to release another collection of music from the movie. “Back to Titanic” should make a splash (sorry) in record stores on Aug. 25.
The new album will feature more music from Sissel, the radio edit of the Celine Dion hit “My Heart Will Go On,” and a big dollop of Irish music from the band Gaelic Storm. (You will remember them as the Irish band who provided the music for the party in steerage.) Eileen Ivers also makes an appearance on the album, playing original work by Academy Award-winning composer James Horner.
Judging by sales of the first soundtrack, this one should just sail out of stores. (Nope, couldn’t resist.)