Wednesday 20 November 2019

People are talking... Let them on to entertain us

Laura Whitmore
Laura Whitmore
Stephanie Roche turned heads at the Ballon D'Or in Zurich.
Amal Clooney

Sarah Caden

In the rush to cancel this year's Iftas, what has been overlooked is the joy we get from giving out. Sure, we've grown overly fond of carping about wastes of taxpayers' money, but we still like nothing better than sitting down together and giving out. Particularly about other people who appear to be having too good a time for our liking.

There's no denying that last year's Iftas, hosted by Simon Delaney and Laura Whitmore - the latter of whom seemed poised to bolt at any minute back to British TV - was one of the most cringe-making TV shows we've seen in a long time.

But the mileage the country got out of the show was second to none. Oh, it was awful, from the poor man's Oscar selfie to the luvvie huffing about not being heard over the din of their seemingly drunken peers, but there's no denying that it entertained us.

Last week, not long after RTE's announcement that they don't plan to show this year's Iftas, the Irish Film Board contradicted the Iftas's claims that they were still in talks with them to stage the event.

The Film Board said that they "would like to see awards which do successfully promote film", but what about an event that gives us a chance to gripe? Now that's entertainment.

Icy survey deserves the cold shoulder

How a thing's described says more about the one doing the describing than it does about the object of the description. How's that for profound?

There was a prime example of it last week with the publication of a new survey which found that women are more "nervous" when driving in icy conditions. Nervous, is it? How about just plain, old-fashioned "careful"? Or "sensible"? Even "not wanting to have an accident"?

Which, when you think about it, isn't unreasonable when you wake up in the morning to find that the place where you live has suddenly turned into the North Pole.

What's interesting about that Road Safety Authority study is the reasons women give for being so timid/neurotic/highly strung (just some of the more common synonyms for that cheeky word "nervous"). Turns out what we're really worried about behind the wheel is "other motorists".

Yeah, male ones.

Men appear to believe their virility is threatened if they're asked to drive according to the prevailing weather conditions. Though maybe that bravado is encouraged by the unfortunate habit of giving storms such sissy names. The latest one to hit Irish shores was called … Rachel. No offence, but having the same name as a character from Friends doesn't exactly do justice to the ferocity of this week's battering, does it? What next? Hurricane Phoebe?

To be fair, though, men do have their uses. Put it this way, girls. There weren't many feminists out mending broken power lines brought down by the high winds, were there?

Eilis O'Hanlon

Stephanie stunning, Messi messy

It was  all eyes on Ireland's Stephanie Roche at the Ballon D'Or gala in Zurich during the week. The few women in attendance couldn't get enough of her Helen Cody designed dress. The men were transfixed by her legs. The paparazzi grabbed shots that went all over the world. Leading Spanish sports newspaper, Marca,  went so far as to say it was the first time superstars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo saw eye to eye.

Everybody steered clear of the sartorial elephant in the room. The best thing about Stephanie is that she distracted our attention from Messi's suit. And that's a very good thing indeed.

We're not sure where he got the suit. But one guess is that he googled "second hand suit from Irish showband era". And then re-ordered the results to show the cheapest one first. It's that purple and that shiny. And not the dog's dinner you'd expect to see on a guy who earns €20 million a year, before endorsements are taken into account.

Ronaldo, sitting next to him in a tux, was rocking a fairly lame James Bond Stunt Double look. But at least it was better than Messi's Wizard of Oz. Here's the problem. A lot of men already think that wearing the Man Utd away jersey is some sort of fashion statement. If they decide to adopt football superstars as fashion role-models, they could end up looking like an extra in the Christmas panto. That would be Messi.

Here's our tip. The next time an Irish woman goes to one of these galas, try and bring a few up-and-coming designers with you.

Because these footballers need help.

Pat Fitzpatrick

Raging against the machine

No one was more surprised than People Are Talking when the pocket-sized, baggy-panted heartthrob of its youth, Brian Harvey from East 17, re-invented himself as a campaigner.

First there he was, sporting a Fila beanie, standing outside Westminster with the Occupy Group and giving interviews on their behalf. Next, he rocked up at David Cameron's doorstep on Downing street like The Ghost of Popstars past, demanding the Prime Minister return to him the money he claimed the government had stolen.

And now, he's declared war on his own industry. Last week he took his rage online, posting a video in which he was seen smashing up his platinum discs to demonstrate his disillusionment with the music business and its "paedophile world". "One million sales and this is what it fucking means," he raged, flailing the object which might once have been his proudest possession against a bin.

And after shattering the discs, he then carefully picked up all the broken pieces and disposed of them responsibly. "I can be angry and fucking tidy," he said. A lesson to us all.

Julia Molony

Noone no match for Hogan and McGregor

Fine Gael politicians aren't that great at gauging the public mood right now. The water charge debacle has made Fine Gael, and Phil Hogan in particular, about as popular as a kissing booth manned by an old man with visible eczema.  But there's another Fine Gaeler vying with Hogan in the unpopularity stakes. Senator Catherine Noone totally misjudged the public mood when she said that a potential world championship fight at Croke Park, featuring Conor McGregor, should be banned.

Now mixed-martial arts may not be Catherine's cup of tea, but Conor 'The Notorious' McGregor isn't just the flavour of the month for a lot of Dubliners, he's far more than that. McGregor's an icon, a king even. Trying to deny Dubliners the chance to see their new king (apologies to Brian O'Driscoll) fight for a world championship is like trying to deny Shane McGowan the way to the bar when it's last orders - it's not going to work, and you'll regret trying, which Noone soon discovered after some choice words were Tweeted her way.

Unfortunately for Phil Hogan, Noone was never really much of a contender, showing about as much spine as a washed-up jellyfish, as she quickly backed-down, apologising to McGregor fans, leaving Hogan still Ireland's most unpopular politician.

Christopher Jackson

Among the Golden Glitterati, but Amal is 'Je Suis Fatiguee'

Amal Clooney (nee Alamuddin) had the absolute cheek to look bored at the Golden Globe Awards, which has astonished, outraged and offended a lot of people.  The cry of 'just who does she think she is'  went out among commentators and Twitterati.

The general consensus was that Mrs. Clooney should be thrilled to be mingling in Tinseltown. Are these people for real? Hollywood is basically a factory town, beneath the glitter and glitz it's crammed with self-obsessed and vacuous people. (Want proof, have a quick gander at the current series of Celebrity Big Brother.) Small wonder that Amal, an intelligent woman, has stuck with the day job of human rights lawyer.

Similarly, the Clooneys have chosen to make their home in the quaint English Midsomer Murders-style town of Sonning because, in all fairness, who ever equated LA with intellectual stimulation? It's one thing going to bed with Gorgeous George but quite another having to endure the company of movie folk at their preening worst. At the Globes, Amal had a 'Je Suis Charlie' badge on her clutch bag, but you can bet that many of the other guests thought she was sporting a new design by Karl Lagerfeld.

Instead of dissing Amal we should probably be congratulating her for getting through the night without lapsing into a boredom-induced coma.

Anne Marie Scanlon

Sunday Indo Living

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