Category: Archive

New & Noteworthy: Contestant ‘Miss’-es the boat

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Eileen Murphy

Well, don’t look for Gerry Adams, David Trimble or anyone else squabbling over the tattered remains of the Good Friday Agreement to win any prizes for congeniality. The delays in setting up an independent governing body in the North are causing a ripple effect that has extended even to the rarefied world of beauty pageants.

Now, we’ll avoid the president’s unfortunate foot-in-mouth comparison of the opposing sides to a couple of drunks in a bar — really, they’re more like schoolkids arguing over one of those "rare" Pokemon cards. But the ugly truth is that all the to-ing and fro-ing has cost Zoe Salmon, Miss Northern Ireland, one of her chances to compete for the title of Miss World. The loss to humanity is, we’re sure you’ll agree, incalculable.

It seems that, in these days of shifting national borders and a worldwide move toward self-government, the Miss World organizers have decided to move with the times. Among the 99 contestants in this year’s contest will be the Misses England, Scotland and Wales, as well as an all-around Miss UK. But poor Miss N.I. doesn’t qualify for the international finals, because there is no sitting parliament in Belfast.

This is rather a slap in the face to the lovely Zoe, who was eligible only to compete in the Miss UK contest. In effect, the other regional winners have gotten a second chance, while she’s had only the one poke at the piñata.

Alison Campbell, organizer of the Miss Northern Ireland contest, was upset by the ruling.

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"It is devastating that politics has to be brought into the competition," she told the Guardian newspaper.

Chew on this

Years before she started bringing home the bacon as a Spice Girl, ginger-haired Geri Halliwell was reduced to pilfering meat to feed her Irish boyfriend.

The Sunday World reports that when she was 18, Ginger — oops! make that Geri — supplemented her sparse modeling wages by working as a barmaid in a London pub that was managed by "an Irishman with a pot belly and terrible taste in nylon shirts." At the time, Geri was living with another Irishman — her boyfriend Sean, a "rave-organizer."

Apparently, neither bar-maiding, modeling nor rave-organizing were particularly lucrative, so the couple didn’t have much money. And Geri, being a nice, homey type of girl, wanted to cook something nice for her man.

"Before leaving one night, I crept upstairs to the restaurant and maneuvered around tables in the darkness until I reached the kitchen," she recounts in her new autobiography, "If Only."

"I wanted to cook Sean a nice dinner, but I wasn’t due to be paid until the following Thursday," she explained.

Geri stuck a frozen steak under her jacket and made her way toward the door. But the pot-bellied manager, who had been robbed before, lived across the street from the pub, noticed the refrigerator light and called the police. He arrived and caught Geri red-handed, but let her go when she produced the steak and pleaded hunger.

Alas, despite her cooking skills, Geri’s relationship with Sean soon hit the rocks. When she was 21, she packed up and left for good.

"I went out every day doing various jobs and going to auditions, trying to make something of myself," she wrote. "He lay in front of the television, unemployed and uninspired." It seems that they didn’t — no, we can’t resist — hunger for the same things.


Just in case you were worried about Frank McCourt after he was ambushed by a rival author on the "Late Late Show" last week, relax. The writer caused quite a sensation when he arrived in Limerick City for a book signing gig a few days ago.

Frank O’Mahoney, whose bookstore sold hundreds of copies of "Tis" during the visit, told reporters, "Frank McCourt and ‘Angela’s Ashes’ are great for business."

Fifteen years after his death, the legendary Luke Kelly will be the subject of a 90-minute TV documentary produced by RTE.

"Luke," which was produced by Noel Pearson, features an impressive lineup of celebrities, including Bono, Shane MacGowan and Christy Moore, plus politicians John Hume and Gerry Adams, sharing their memories of the late folk singer who rose to fame with the Dubliners.

Kelly, who died of a brain tumor in 1984, was, arguably, one of the greatest folk singers of all time. Said Moore, "He sang songs with so much passion. Songs were his message. He used his voice to get his message across about people and politics."

Speaking of great singers, our absolute favorite will be in town for a special one-night gig to celebrate the opening of a new midtown watering hole. Best of all, tickets are free — but you’d better get ready to hit the phones!

The inimitable Ronnie Drew will fly in to New York next week to celebrate the opening of the Irish Treasury, the new bar and restaurant at 325 Fifth Ave., across from the Empire State Building. Tickets are free, but space is limited, so if, like us, you’d crawl on broken glass to see Ronnie in concert, call (212) 685-5049 for details.

Kenneth Branagh is back on the singles scene after breaking up with his British girlfriend, Helena Bonham Carter. No surprise there — after all, having a partner with three names almost always signals a difficult relationship. Just ask Hillary Rodham Clinton, Donna Hanover Giuliani, Camilla Parker Bowles . . . you get the idea.

Anyway, Ken says that Americans are shocked — shocked! — to find that he sometimes swears like a stevedore.

"Americans are intoxicated by the accent," he told the Sunday World. "They associate it with intelligence, sophistication and class. But [soon] they realize that I’m a foul-mouth." How romantic.

Those of you who can’t get enough details of the Charles Haughey-Terry Keane scandal will want to high-tail it to the Grafton Gift Shop in NYC for the official U.S. launch of "Sweetie," the book which chronicles the affair with all the tawdry details.

Radio host Adrian Flannelly will preside over the festivities, which take place this Monday, Nov. 1, at 5:30 p.m. in the shop, which is located at 830 Third Avenue at 51st Street.

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