I hereby name you ‘film star’

Dakota Blue RichardsFollowing on from Clair’s “stupid kids’ names” post earlier this week, I spotted a billboard poster for the new Philip Pullman adaptation The Golden Compass*

Walking past this billboard, I was looking at the star names appearing in the movie. And one name in particular stood out: ‘Dakota Blue Richards’.

Yup, this is the girl who plays Lyra Belacqua in the film and, contrary to my original assumption that she was American, actually comes from deepest, darkest, err, Brighton.

Her British origin aside, she surely joins the list of people who were born to be famous. I mean, if you’re born with first names ‘Dakota’ and ‘Blue’, you’re going to look pretty silly, if you end up working in a solicitor’s.

With a name like that, she was destined to be a movie star. Other stars who fall into the same camp include Haley Joel Osment and Dakota Fanning – names that are impossible to forget, either by the general cinema-going public, or casting directors.

Then there’s the Phoenix family. All five of the siblings were given a great start: River, Joaquin, Summer, Rain and (the forgotten) Liberty.

In their case, they were onto a winner with a surname like that, but how different it would have been, if they’d try to get somewhere with their birth name: Joaquin Bottom doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, does it?

Anyway, with genetic testing moving forward apace, surely there’s something to be said for having in mind the career you want your child to take, when it comes to naming them.

* I could Google it, but why has this been changed from the original novel’s title ‘The Amber Spyglass’? Surely, it’s not to do with the American market again, is it?

You must be Henry!

Henry VIIII’ve never actually tried this to someone’s face, but I’ve often thought it must be possible to guess a person’s name by simple observing them for a few minutes. I experienced just such a moment on holiday.

We were staying in a relatively posh country hotel that was obviously not going to be occupied by the likes of your Shazzers and Dazzes, and a chap wandered into breakfast, who had the classic posho thing going on.

He was wearing a beige-coloured checked shirt, tucked into a pair of brown cords and wore a pair of brown brogues. He even talked with what sounded like an entire plum pudding in his mouth.

I instantly thought to myself, god you are the archetypal Henry. Not Hugo, or James, but Henry. And, blow me down if 5 minutes later his wife didn’t call him exactly that.

I actually wanted to stand up in the breakfast room (actually called The Orangery, to give you the idea of the hotel we were staying in) and punch the air, shouting ‘Yesss!’, but I held myself in.

Is Facebook homophobic?

According to Mashable, Facebook is under attack for being anti-gay, after it was revealed that anyone whose surname is “Gay”, a relatively common Anglo-Saxon name, is barred from joining the social networking site.

Admittedly, you can apply to their customer support team, if you desperately want to join Facebook, but that’s not really the point, is it?

I have a friend whose name is “High” and she had a similar problem. After weeks of us moaning, because she wasn’t on Facebook, she contacted customer support and they relented and allowed her to join.

OK, so they’re not completely discriminating, but what’s the big deal with people having these surnames? Are they seriously worried that people will start to make a mockery of the site? With more than 31 million registered members, I’m not sure that the odd “Gay”, joke or not, is going to bring down the Facebook empire?

Does this mean they would stop former German professional footballer Stefan Kuntz from joining, because his surname is potentially dodgy?

Considering how silly some of the Facebook groups are, it seems that they’re being excessively protective.

If people want to subvert the site, they will. I have a friend who has created a profile for her pet rabbit Stella. Loads of us are now connected to her and it’s just a little in-joke. Do you think the whole fabric of Facebook will crash around its ears, because of it?