Lifestyle

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Nudge, nudge, Twink, Twink

Kim Bielenberg unzips the entertainer's new autobiography

Twink

Adele King, commonly known as Twink, once described herself as a "hermit, a female Howard Hughes". That may not be the overwhelming impression of readers after sampling her autobiography, Twink Unzipped.

Certainly, if her phone messages are anything to go by, she is hardly the shy and retiring type.

The book's title comes from the legendary voice message that she left on her husband David's phone in 2006 after the couple had split – and he appeared in a glossy magazine with his new partner.

As Twink herself puts it: "I told him a few home truths before concluding with the point that it was high time that he zipped up his mickey."

One imagines a few listeners found it hard to hold down their breakfast when a tape of this message was played on the Ian Dempsey Breakfast Show on Today FM.

Twink says in her book: "I can honestly say, with hand on heart, that if I had to make that phone call again I would – happily."

Her only regret was that she did not capitalise on the "Zip Up Your Mickey" merchandise that was sold by a quick-thinking entrepreneur.

Bizarrely, Twink tells how she herself ordered many of these products, including a Zip Up Your Mickey clock, which hangs on her wall at home, a G-string, a mug, pens and key rings – all with the distinctive branding.

Far from being a hermit, Twink has been in the spotlight since she was a six-year-old girl and stepped on to the stage in the Gaiety panto, Sinbad the Sailor.

Once described as a "dazzling fish in a murky, small pond", she has been a dancer, musician, showband singer, actress, TV host, panto queen and star of advertisements for toilet rolls.

In 1970, she was second to Dana in the National Song Contest in the year that the young Derry woman's song 'All Kinds of Everything' won the Eurovision.

Although her frequently glittering career brought her to Las Vegas, she abhorred the showband scene back home.

She has said that she finally decided to give up on the showbands after a gig in Cavan when she had to change in a cowshed in the back of a marquee in the perishing cold with rats running around.

On another night at a festival gig, the entire carnival committee came into her dressing room with bottles of stout and sat down as she was about to undress. When she protested, they said: "Ah ha, sure we're all married men."

Twink's career went on to prosper on stage and on TV. Inevitably, much attention has already focused on the revelations in the book about her stormy marriage to David Agnew.

According to Twink's account, the relationship hit an absolute low point when she made a startling discovery in a shed at her home on May 3, 1993.

She said the date is detested in her family as "S**t in the Shed Day".

Twink was clearing out drawers in the shed when she came across one that was locked. When she found the key to open it, she found that it was full of greeting cards.

In among them was a recent card with the message from a child with the message: 'Happy St Patrick's Day, Daddy."

Not only did she have to face the news that her husband had had a seven-year affair with another woman, he also had a secret child.

She said the effect was "mind-numbing". "In a way, it was like an out-of-body sensation, I couldn't quite fully believe it was happening," she says in the book.

That night he left the house and, as soon as he was gone, she emptied every piece of clothing he owned into black bin bags.

The next morning, she drove around to the video shop he was running at the time and threw all his possessions onto the pavement outside with the message: 'I believe these are yours, dear!'

Fortunately, she was not fined for littering.

Twink allowed her husband to return home, but says in the book that the revelation of his infidelity made her feel suicidal. She even considered taking the lives of herself and her two daughters by driving off a pier, but thought better of it because she was a strong swimmer.

She somehow pulled back from such drastic action and tells how she sought comfort in the arms of a "gorgeous" ski instructor called Willie on a holiday in Austria.

As she notes in the book: "I was in very good shape at the time, and immediately Willie took a shine to me." The entertainer was getting private skiing tuition and says: "Now girls, I won't lie, there was some off-piste action as well . . . let's just say that while the snow may have been cold, the passion was sweltering hot."

Twink's marriage ended after 21 years in 2004. In the book, she tells how she is now in love with an Egyptian doctor, Ahmed.

The entertainer has not always seen eye-to-eye with all of her co-stars, and since 2010 has had a public spat with Linda Martin. The pair fell out in spectacular fashion when they were touring the country with Menopause the Musical.

"Even though Linda and I were quite good friends in our 20s, I think even she will agree that we had a similar relationship to that of Bette and Joan ( Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, two Hollywood stars who had a stormy friendship)."

According to Twink's account, the row stemmed from an incident in Castlebar when some of the cast of Menopause the Musical were enjoying drinks. Twink referred to Linda in a highly derogatory manner without realising that her former friend was nearby and could hear the conversation.

She says of the falling out: "I don't love Linda – and Linda definitely doesn't love me."

She may have enjoyed success as a versatile entertainer, but Twink has one other long-harboured ambition – she has always wanted to be a doctor.

She has said that medicine is her first love, and if she could take it all back, she'd throw in showbusiness for a career as a neurosurgeon.

Who knows? There is still time. If Adele King ever succeeds in her ambition and becomes Dr Twink, the brain surgeon, the second volume of her autobiography will be even more momentous than the first.

• Twink Unzipped is published by Blackwater Press

Indo Review

Also in this Section

Classifieds

CarsIreland

Findajob

Apps

Now available on

Top Stories

Most Read

Independent Gallery

Your photos

Send us your weather photos promo

Celebrity News