Saturday 17 March 2018

People are talking: Should Saoirse change name?

What's in a name: Saoirse Ronan with Ryan Gosling at the Hollywood Film Awards
What's in a name: Saoirse Ronan with Ryan Gosling at the Hollywood Film Awards
Suffering: Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho
Khloe Kardashian
Harry Styles

Pat Fitzpatrick

Things are so bad now that Ryan Gosling is trying to help.

While presenting a gong to Saoirse Ronan at the Holly- wood Film Awards, he decided to tell people how to pronounce her first name.

Never mind that his tip was to rhyme it with inertia. (Really, it was.) The point is, Saoirse has the kind of name that some people can't pronounce at an awards ceremony. This will probably result in her missing out on some awards she deserves. Like Best Actress with an Unpronounceable First Name.

Channel 4 comedy Catas- trophe had a running joke about a baby called Muireann. Its writer and star, Sharon Horgan (a grand pronounce- able name for an Irish woman), nailed the truth about calling little people Iseult and Fiachra. It's not just funny. It's a disadvantage.

Here's the reality for anyone called Aoife. Not everyone is comfortable trying to get their head around a five- letter name with four vowels, particularly since three of them come together, at the start. That's not a good thing if you're asking your Chinese boss for a promotion. By the time he has figured out how to say your name, he will have given the gig to Kevin from accounts.

Here's a tip if you're the parent of a newborn girl. Step away from the Caoimhe. She'll thank you for it later.

What's left if the Left fights over who's right?

There are more painful splits in Irish politics than there are in the average gymnastics display. The latest is between the Anti-Austerity Alliance on one side and  People Before Profit, the Communist Party of Ireland, and the rest of the left wing candidates on the other, who've managed to fall out over, well, Lord knows, but it all must have seemed frightfully important to the comrades.

The plan was simple. There's a general election coming up, so parties with ideas in common were supposed to bury their differences and come together in the hope that they'd bag enough seats between them in Dail Eireann to kick out the fat cats and establish a workers' paradise.

Now it's all broken down, with the AAA and the Workers' Party (yup, there is still one) refusing to sign on the dotted line.

Er, seriously, lads?

After 10 years of recession, and 10 more maybe on the way, capitalism ought to be on its last legs. Instead, it's socialism that's in trouble, because its opponents still can't agree if the revolution should start at 2.30pm on Wednesday or 10.30am on Thursday and they're prepared to fight to the death over who's right.

It would almost be funny if - no, wait, it is funny. Now that the Rugby World Cup's over, watching the left eat itself is the last great Irish spectator sport. They should sell tickets. But not at a profit, obviously, because that would be against their principles.

Eilis O'Hanlon

Wonderfulness of Mourinho's woes

You shouldn't flog a dead horse or kick a man when he's down.  I once regarded those two maxims as pretty good sayings, but now I'm more inclined to treat them as general rules of thumb, particularly after watching Chelsea and the 'not so Special One' Jose Mourinho these past few weeks.

Now, as an Irishman, a Tottenham fan and a resident of the Champagne Socialist heartland of north London, there are few things I dislike more than Chelsea FC. I despise them as much as dogs do vacuum cleaners, flies car windscreens and supermodels carbs.

Schadenfreude doesn't quite capture my delight in knowing the excruciating pain felt by the blue-blooded Tory boys, bald-headed UKIP voters and the xenophobia-inclined hooligans of west London as they watch their beloved Blues get smashed week in, week out. If a failing Chelsea is my heroin, I'm beyond strung out. And what makes the high all the better is how Jose Mourinho has dealt with such disaster.

Jose isn't quite the captain of the Titanic, proudly going down with the ship, his hands gripped to the wheel as water fills the bridge. He's more the last Japanese soldier, hiding in the jungle, taking pot-shots at fat tourists and refusing utterly to accept that the Allies won, even if it is 1975.

Alas, as much as I'd like the once 'Special One' to become the 'Unemployed One', I fear he's still more like the former than the latter. He'll invariably get it right and this high I'm now experiencing will, like all highs, eventually fade and leave me a quivering wreck, pining for when Chelsea were getting tonked by Crystal Palace. Still, I'll enjoy it while it lasts.

Christopher Jackson

Cowell's love drug

Simon Cowell, as we all know, is not a man to gush. So when the X Factor's most mealy-mouthed judge recently started making extravagant expressions of passionate devotion at a music industry awards bash, observers naturally wondered just what, or who, had managed to so completely capture the man's heart.

Perhaps a new act? It seemed likely when he declared, beaming with affection: "You've no idea how much money you've made me." Or could it be one of his nearest and dearest, this person who he insisted "deserved a special mention" before shouting from the rafters: "I love you wherever you are!"

It was neither. Simon's ardour and gratitude were reserved for someone he has a very special affection for - the inventor of Botox. True, by his own admission, he's never met the person who invented Botox. But nonetheless, as his loyalty to the anti-ageing treatment demonstrates, he remains entirely devoted.

His devotion, it must be pointed out, was not demonstrated by the use of either his forehead or his eyes, both of which remained fixed and neutral as he made his speech, though his mouth grinned.

"I can't even look surprised," he said, sounding plainly thrilled about that fact. So now you know. One of the faster ways to Cowell's heart, apparently, is via a dermatological syringe.

Julia Molony

Breaking up is hard to do 

Paddy Cosgrave likened it to a break-up, but it's not often you see one where everyone involved seems to behave badly.

Usually, there's an 'injured' party and an 'injuring'. The injured gets to rant and make wild allegations, sobbing over large glasses of wine, while the injuring retains a stoic almost-silence, apart from the odd dark hint that "it wasn't exactly like that".

However, with the Web Summit and Government parting of the ways, Paddy Cosgrave, despite playing the injured party, has also stolen a march on the Government by being first to the dark hints. "The way it's played out, and the way it's being spun, and the lies that have been told by the Government," he said, meant that the Web Summit was being used as a "useful and practical distraction" from more "serious" issues.

No sooner were the words out of Paddy's mouth than they served as a practical distraction from the 'serious' business of the Web Summit. Who cares that robotics experts have warned that we are losing our humanity? Or that Ford is moving into driverless cars? Even Dan Brown, king of conspiracy theories, was overshadowed. There's only one way out now, Paddy - exit, pursued by Gloria Gaynor's I Will Survive at full volume.

Emily Hourican

OJ joins the Kardashian Kast? Oh boy

It hasn't been an easy few years for the supporting cast of Karda- shian men. Rob got too fat for TV. Bruce became Caitlyn. Scott Disick's lord of the manor act got old fast. And that's before we even get to Kim's various husbands.

All of which means that when the incredible rumours swirled that OJ Simpson might have had an affair with Kris Jenner, the wife of his deceased best friend, and fathered Khloe Kardashian, everyone's ears perked up.

If anyone could redress the gender balance in the family franchise it would surely be someone with OJ's infamy. And if anyone deserves the life sentence of being downgraded to mere Kardashian associate and having TV cameras follow him around while playing second fiddle to a group of image-obsessed girls, it's also OJ. He's since denied that he ever "tapped" Kris, but that didn't stop us continuing with the flight of fantasy.

Robert Kardashian, the now-deceased father of the dynasty (being played by David Schwimmer - Ross from Friends - in a new OJ mini series), defended Simpson during his trial when he was acquitted of murdering his wife and her friend. This detail gives us yet another reason why OJ and the Kardashian sirens are a match made in heaven.

He's famous because of a couple of murders and they're famous because of a sex tape. If it weren't for OJ, their dad might never have been the big deal he was. So in a way he owes it to everyone to get involved. It's the circle of life renewing itself, with a tacky twist.

Donal Lynch

Born star Harry's Got Moves Like Jagger

Even though One Direction have played their final gig, the band are still insisting that the split is only a temporary hiatus to let the individual members pursue their solo projects. 

Right. We hate to break this to diehard Directioners, but don't put those black armbands into storage just yet.

What's most likely to happen with the proposed solo careers is this. Louis, already showing signs of being 'troubled', will, in a few years, if he's very lucky, be offered a chance to appear in Celebrity Big Brother. (If his luck doesn't hold it will be The Jump.)

Niall, after a few singles that do well in Ireland, will start investing his money wisely and living off the interest. The 'other one' (every boy band has an 'other one') will most likely continue in the music industry, beavering away anonymously just as he already does.

Which brings us to Harry. At this point there is little Harry could do to derail the stellar career ahead of him as he was born to be a pop star. Even when he wears those dodgy hairbands that should make him an object of derision, he still oozes raw sex - which is the basic qualification for music superstardom.

Harry has the look and swagger of a young Mick Jagger and no doubt his life will follow a similar path. There may even be a point in his future when one of his exes starts dating a media billionaire. Hopefully by that point Harry will be sensible enough to know that he's no longer Studio 54 and coke but News at Ten and cocoa, because even hairband-defying sexiness is going to fade away.

Anne Marie Scanlon

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