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New & Noteworthy Sinead reads verse with [papal] blessing

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Eileen Murphy

One thing you can say about the pope: he certainly practices what he preaches. Specifically, the Holy Father has forgiven fiery Irish singer Sinead O’Connor for ripping into him — or, at least, his picture — on NBC’s "Saturday Night Live" six years ago. We hear that the singer has been selected to read the pontiff’s poetry on an album being planned by an Italian record label.

It seems hard to believe, in these days of X-rated congressional reports and "South Park" vulgarity, that O’Connor caused an international incident with a simple gesture. In fact, O’Connor’s anger and painful sincerity seem rather quaint — she seems sort of like everyone’s oddball cousin who gets waaaay too upset watching the debates on C-Span . . .

It was in October 1992 that O’Connor appeared on NBC’s late night comedy show as a musical guest (Sinead was far too serious to be a host). In the middle of her performance of the Bob Marley classic "War," the bald-as-a-coot singer pulled an 8-by-10-inch glossy of the pope from under her diaphanous white robe. Staring directly into the camera, she shouted, "Fight the real enemy!" and she tore the photo into pieces.

As might well be expected, NBC’s switchboards lit up like Christmas trees, as viewers reacted to O’Connor’s unscripted, unrehearsed political statement. Newspapers called for her head as the singer tried to explain that she was making a statement against the influence of the Catholic Church in Ireland, and what she perceived as the church’s damaging effect on her own family, and on women in general.

Of course, O’Connor’s explanations fell on deaf ears. At around the same time, Sinead infuriated the American public when she refused to perform a concert at New Jersey’s Garden State Arts Center if the national anthem were played. Organizers, faced with a sellout crowd and no viable options, agreed to deep six the anthem. When the papers got hold of this news the next day, there were calls for her deportation. Even Frank Sinatra got into the fray, gallantly offering to "kick her ass."

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O’Connor apologized for her actions last year, characterizing them as the anger of a "prodigal daughter." Though many still hold a grudge, His Holiness — appropriately — does not.

One interesting sidenote: we hear that Sinead was not quite the first choice to read John Paul II’s work. The New York Post reports that Robert DeNiro was originally slated for the role. Plans were changed when the actor was questioned by French investigators in connection with a vice ring last year. The actor — who was completely exonerated — was passed over by the record label. Perhaps if he found a picture of the pope . . .

Lookin’ for love

Well, we knew it was bound to happen. We knew it was just a matter of time before some smart cookies realized that rural Ireland is just brimming with single, eligible farmers looking for that special someone to help them slop (or is that slap?) the hogs. The whole situation cried out for recognition . . . publicity . . . a pin-up calendar!

New Yorkers Patricia Cahill Jones, 29, and Jennifer Lucas, 32 have come up with the "Bachelor Farmers of Ireland" calendar for 1999. The farmers, who range in age from 20 to 89 years old, hail from the Kingdom — or Kerry, as it’s called by the rest of the world. The poses are natural rather than au naturel — "It’s not like we got the men topless and greased up," declared Lucas. The farmers pose outdoors on their property. Mr. May holds a rooster, Mr. July stands next to a tractor, and Mr. February stands amid his flock of sheep.

Single female readers who dig these rugged Kerry he-men will run to their nearest Irish gift shop to get their copy of this veritable feast for the senses. Lucas and Cahill Jones also have a website, http://www.irishfarmers.com, which offers previews and processes orders. The long-term goal of the calendar, according to the pair, is to lure women back to rural Kerry, where single men outnumber available women by a ratio of 4:1. Hey, girls — shop early, and avoid the rush.

Tours what [Saw] Doctors ordered

Speaking of cute guys — everybody’s favorite rock and roll band from Galway is baaaack! The Saw Doctors have a new album — "Songs from Sun Street" — and a fall tour on the horizon. The CD hits stores next week, and the Doctors will be making their rounds at a venue near you:

Thursday, Nov. 5: Cleveland

The Odeon , 1295 Old River Rd. € (888) 633-6688

Friday, Nov. 6/ Nov. 7: Chicago

Metro, 3730 North Clark € (773) 549-0203

Tuesday, Nov. 10: Buffalo

The Tralfamadore, 622 Main St. € (716) 851-8725

Wednesday, Nov. 11: Norwalk, Conn.

The Globe , 71 Wall St. € (203) 852-0088

Friday, Nov. 13: Boston

Paradise, 967 Commonwealth Ave. € (617) 562-8800

Saturday, Nov. 14: Philadelphia

TLA, 334 South St. € (215) 922-1011

Tuesday, Nov. 17: Alexandria, Va.

The Birchmere, 3701 Mt. Vernon Ave. € (703) 549-7500

Wednesday, Nov. 18: Northampton, Mass.

Pearl Street, 10 Pearl St. € (413) 586-8686

Friday, Nov. 20 / Nov. 21: New York City

Irving Plaza, 17 Irving Plaza € (212) 777-6800

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