Monday, 14 May 2012

Boris - he only needs one name...

It is often said that the height of fame is when you’re known by just one name. You can say the name and immediately everybody will know who you’re referring to, even if it’s not actually unique to that person.

Think Rhianna. Think Beyonce. Think Adele. Or think of Pele (and think what would have happened if he didn’t use that name as his real name is actually Edson Arantes do Nascimento – and imagine that written on the back of his shirt.

The Material Girl - she only needs one name  
Of course you may argue that it’s easy to adopt such a monicker if you’re in sport or entertainment but surely nobody in public or civic life would be so well known that just one name (particularly if it’s a Christian name) is enough to identify them.

But you’d be wrong. For last week while most of the country went to the polls to vote for relatively anonymous figures Londoners were able to choose their favourite from the exciting ‘Boris v Ken’ show.

For yes, the battle to become London Mayor pitted the blonde haired bumbling Boris Johnson against the hardbitten genial Ken Livingstone in a battle that seemed to have far more glamour and personality than any of the equally important political battles in, say, Rotherham or Romford.

What's in a name?
The fact that Boris won the vote – which went against the tide of Conservative failures elsewhere – is because he has managed to cross the divide of party politics and actually engage people who just have an opinion of him rather than what he believes in. I mentioned his name casually to a die-hard Labour supporter relative on Monday for instance and he burst into laughter and said how much he liked Boris. It’s the first time I’ve ever heard him say he liked anybody from the Conservative Party and that’s because Boris has done that rare thing that all politicians dream of – he has become a bigger figure than the party he represents.

Of course politics is a serious business and the defeated Ken said, ruefully, that the vote wasn’t about who would be the best presenter for Have I Got News For You (which even he agreed Boris would be) but for a serious political office. But what Ken and others must realise is that in a political landscape where only 30 per cent of people even bothered to get out to vote in those aforementioned elections, the desperate lack of personality amongst most politicians is something which is a turn off to people who live in the sort of entertainment and celebrity-led world inhabited by some of the other one-name-only folk such as Cher, Bono and Sting.

Of course not everybody who can get away with just one name uses their Christian one. They may be as far apart musically as it’s possible to be but both Liberace and Morrissey both presumably have Christian names but you’d have to be in a musical section of a quiz to be able to find out what they may be.

So, clearly the way to get yourself noticed and to get your ‘name’ out there is to make that name as short as possible. So this is Sam signing off. Or should that be Holliday. Or should that even be James (which is my real name but that’s a totally different story. . .)

Liberace - and his first name is???

No comments: