By Eileen Murphy
Pretty soon, anyone who’s ever played a flower in a third grade pageant will have been rumored as the most likely candidate for the title role in the film version of “Angela’s Ashes.” Hot on the heels of reports that American comedian Rosie O’Donnell and British actress Emily Watson were being considered, we hear that director Alan Parker is wooing Oscar-winning actress Brenda Fricker for the role of the McCourt matriarch.
Fricker, who won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in “My Left Foot,” has not made any public comments about these reports.
Obviously, what she needs is a bit of encouragement, which we’re happy to give: Brenda, sweetie, you’re perfect, the book’s brilliant, Parker’s a genius. And from a purely home decorating point of view, sure, couldn’t you use another of those little gold statues on the mantelpiece? For balance?
Popsters — in packs
We’ve often dreamed about pop stardom, the same way other girls dream about no-cal pizza and chip-proof, smudge-resistant nail polish in fashion colors. Sure, writing a gossip column brings its own rewards — widespread fame, devoted fans and a gold medal in air (yes, that’s air) kissing — but really, we find it a rather solitary life. It seems much more fun to be an Irish pop star. In these post-Spice Girl, days, solo singers are sort of like leftover socks: nice to have, but where are their mates?
We’ve been studying the Irish/UK pop scene closely over the past few years, and have noticed that the new breed of singer travels in a pack. Less concerned with gender parity than your average wolf posse, these groups are strictly all-girl: B*Witched, Back Alley, All Saints — or all-guy: BoyZone, Take That, etc. They’re also extremely successful: B*Witched recently saw their first single, “C’est La Vie,” go platinum in Ireland and the UK, while the Boyz have the number one single, “No Matter What.”
We suppose that, since most bands are traditionally all-male like U2, Oasis and Culture Club (well, maybe not Culture Club), it’s a sign of progress to see women banding together, even if they do have to wear belly-baring tops and act like they couldn’t figure out the recipe for boiled potatoes.
One special note: we hear that up-and-coming Dublin girl group Back Alley (who insist that their name has no raunchy connotations whatever) are annoyed that punters at their performances in Ireland think of them as “slappers.” We’re not sure what a “slapper” is, but obviously it’s not something one could call the queen.
The band’s lead singer, Sandra Bagnall, has no patience for those who would slag them.
“It’s like a running joke,” she told the Sunday World. “I’m just like, ‘Shut up, ye thick ye.’ Jaysus!”
Bob’s li’l princess
We always say, name your kid after a poodle, and you can’t predict how they’re gonna turn out. Bob Geldof learned this painful lesson a while back when his eldest daughter, Fifi Trixiebelle, was nominated to present a bouquet of flowers to the late Princess Diana at a Live Aid fund-raiser.
The child was a bit shy, and presumably awed at the prospect of meeting the princess. Bob had to bribe the child to make the presentation, promising her . . . but let’s allow Bob to tell it.
“One of Fifi’s favorite things at the time was smoked salmon,” recalled Sir Bob, “and she was told that if she [presented the bouquet] properly, she would have more smoked salmon.
“So she came forward and thrust the bouquet at Diana. And Diana bent down and was chatting to her, and said, ‘What’s your name?’
“Fifi said, ‘More fish, please.’ ”
C’mon Bob — did you actually expect her to answer ‘Fifi”? After all, it’s not like she has a normal name like her sisters, Peaches and Tiger.
On the anniversary of the princess’s tragic death, Bob also recalls his meeting with her, saying she was “very flirty.”
“You’d get the old under-the-eyes looking up, which is, of course, very flattering and so was probably a technique,” he said. “And then you’d see her being flirty to someone else who was even more hideous looking than you, and you’d think, ‘oh, well . . .’ “Briefings
Not that fame and fortune have changed her, but Caroline Corr, of the brilliant singing sibs The Corrs, has developed a taste for fine champagne. While her peers are downing Ritz, pints of Guinness or what have you, the singer cautiously admits to a liking for the bubbly.
“I don’t know if I should say that, because it sounds too obnoxious,” she told a reporter. “But I do drink champagne. I don’t drink it all the time, because it’s quite expensive, but it is my favorite taste.”
Northern Ireland Secretary Mo Mowlam certainly has cutting edge taste in music. She traveled to Slane Castle in Meath to join 80,000 young rock fans for a concert featuring British band Verve, Manic Street Preachers, The Seahorses, Finlay Quaye and former Take That frontman, Robbie Williams. We’d have assumed that she’d be more a fan of vintage rockers The BeeGees, who were playing the RDS in Dublin on the same night.
Bronx-born writer Gerard McNamee, like the rest of the world, was stunned and horrified by the bombing in Omagh, Co. Tyrone, two weeks ago. He channeled his emotions into a creative exercise, and wrote a song titled “A Moment of Silence” in honor of the victims. His friend Bill Campion, lead singer of “The Bogmen,” composed the music, and within five days, the two had produced a single.
All proceeds from sales of “A Moment of Silence” will go to charities that bring relief to the Omagh victims and their families. For more information, call Gerard McNamee at (212) 768-4031.