By Eileen Murphy
You know, it wasn’t so long ago that the boys of Westlife were buying their woolly jumpers and no-brand jeans in Dunnes stores. But now that they’re fully fledged pop stars with facial hair and fat bank accounts, the Westies have become dedicated followers of fashion.
The Sligo band recently performed at Italy’s San Remo music festival kitted out in _250,000 worth of clothes designed by Italian designers Dolce & Gabbana. Now that seemed a fairly reasonable price tag to us — after all, there are FIVE members of the band — especially since one of the shirts cost _30,000. We hear that the guys liked the clothes so much, they’ve decided to adopt a sort of Latin chic look for their future appearances. Think Ricky Martin meets Enrique Inglesias meets Jennifer Lopez, with a little Hal Roach thrown in for street cred.
Of course, like most celebrities, the band didn’t actually have to pay for their fancy duds. D&G were only too thrilled to lend out the threads, in the hopes of getting lots of press coverage. But we can’t help wondering: can anyone who’s not filthy with money afford a _30,000 shirt? And, more important, would they want one that’s slightly used?
Anyway, the boys feel that getting free designer clothes means that they have finally made it to the big leagues. Or, in the words of Westie Kian Egan, “The things that make a band successful are songs, singing and getting clothes from Dolce & Gabbana.” Not necessarily in that order.
In more Westlife news, the boys performed at last week’s Brit Awards 2001, where they walked off with the award for best Pop Act. The boys sang their current hit, a cover of Billy Joel’s “Uptown Girl,” as 50 models strutted around the boys as they sang. No, original “Uptown Girl” Christie Brinkley didn’t make an appearance, though that would have been funny, since she’s old enough to be the mother of any or all of those little whippersnappers.
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U2 gave the Westies the thrill of their lives when they performed a private concert — actually, a rehearsal — before the awards.
“It was like seeing them play in your living room,” gushed Shane Filan. Well, yes — assuming that your living room had 5,000 seats and an orchestra pit. But then, Shane did say that he’s building a fantastic house in Sligo for his parents, so maybe he’s just being realistic. U2, by the way, snagged the Brit award for Lifetime Achievement.
Stained glass and memories
Ever wonder what the inside of your favorite celebrity’s house looks like? Oh, ‘fess up: you know you’ve got at least one copy of Hello!, OK! or People stashed somewhere in the back of your closet. But for Sinead O’Connor fans, who will have to wait until hell freezes over before the firebrand singer/priest does one of those dopey magazine spreads, we’ve got the scoop on her most distinctive decorating secret: stained glass!
The general public in Ireland will have a chance to see Sinead’s home next week, when she appears on the RTE series “Would You Believe.” The interview was filmed in O’Connor’s home, which features lots of stained glass, religious statues and holy pictures. It sounds a little bit creepy to us, but then, we only just got rid of our Billy Bass sing-along fish (It’s art! It’s a novelty! It’s hours of entertainment!), so we wouldn’t exactly be an authority on home dTcor.
Trappings aside, O’Connor speaks frankly about her religious beliefs, the abuse she suffered at the hands of her late mother, and her opinion of the Big Man Upstairs.
“Terrible things do happen to people,” she said.
“And, sometimes, God is a *******. And I don’t think he minds you saying that, either.”
(Sorry, Sinead, but unless we get that in writing, the asterisks stay.)
Shane’s press relations
We can’t wait for Shane MacGowan to get to town for the Irish Expo 2001 on St. Patrick’s Day weekend. The singer, known for his hard-partying ways and no-B.S. approach to life, has apparently lost none of his edge. That famous temper is alive and well, at least according to a story in this week’s Sunday World.
It seems that MacGowan was not enjoying himself during an interview in a Dublin pub recently. When British journalist Eddie Hardin asked him about working with the Dubliners back in the ’90s, MacGowan let loose a stream of unquotable invective.
Hardin asked what the problem was. Shane replied, “You’re an English bastard.”
Hardin soldiered on with another question, which inspired MacGowan to grab the reporter’s tape recorder and fling it at him.
“He threw it from point-blank range,” fumed Hardin. “It hit me right between the eyes.”
A scuffle ensued.
“I found myself rolling around the floor with my hero in a headlock,” said Hardin. “I gave him a good clunk in the face, and he went straight down.”
Brawl or no brawl, the indestructible MacGowan performed as scheduled in Dublin’s Temple Bar. He and his band, the Popes, will headline the Viper Ball on Saturday, March 17, and the Bartenders Ball on Monday, March 19, both at Webster Hall. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster at (212) 307-7171, at Webster Hall at (212) 604-4804 or through the Expo’s website, www.irishexpo2001.com.