Saturday 18 November 2017

Anna Nolan: 'Gender fluid' is a new one to me - you and I need to talk, Jonathan Rachel

Jonathan Clynch
Jonathan Clynch
Zoe Ball
Rita Ora
Stephen Cluxton

Imagine the reaction then when Jonathan Clynch, who works in RTE, revealed that he is 'gender fluid'. "What the hell is gender fluid?", I could hear some people ask. "What do those words even mean?"

I decided to read some of the reactions online. On one website a poster joked about the reaction in RTE - "Jazuz, What the flock… What's this condition, is it curable. Can Sharon Ni catch it? Quickly, Google it. The markets are fluid, the situation in Europe is fluid and now our staff are becoming fluid. Get Joe Duffy ready."

And another tweet cheekily stated: "Always check your gender fluid, my car failed the nct for having low gender fluid..."

Now, I have to say, I roared with laughter at these two reactions. They nailed how people around the country would be feeling about a man who will turn up to work sometimes as a man, and sometimes as a woman.

There were coarser, highly offensive reactions also, but you just ignore those.

Being gender fluid is new to most of us. It's new to me. So it's ok to be perplexed. And when we are perplexed we Irish make funny observations and that's ok too.

Jonathan Rachel Clynch sometimes feels like a man. And sometimes feels like a woman.

I find this really challenging as I don't really know what that means.

Now, lucky for me as a woman I can wear jeans. I can wear a shirt. I can wear clothes that men wear. I can also wear a dress, if the mood takes me. I can wear trainers, but I can also wear sexy high heel shoes.

I can go to work with my hair simply brushed and no make-up. But I can also head out on a Friday night and wear killer heels, smoky eyes and lip gloss.

Men can't do that. But I'm not sure that gender fluid means doing it.

I have been fascinated by the Caitlyn Jenner story. The Olympic male athlete transtioned into a woman this year. He says he has always felt like one.

But I don't know what it is to feel like a woman. Is it the way we walk? The way we talk? Is it on the outside - clothes, make up, bras and shoes? Or is it on the inside? But if I don't know what it's like to feel like a woman - how can a man?


I watched the Caitlyn Jenner's series I Am Cait and I found out little about the issue. I saw a man who changed his body and his wardrobe. But I still saw the same language, humour and emotions come from Caitlyn as came from Bruce.

I definitely grapple with gender identity, not because I have any issue with it, but because I would have thought that in the 21st century you can be whoever you want to be without needing to specifically identify as anything.

Transgender men never become ordinary jeans-wearing, make-up free, casual Converse-shoed women, because I imagine that's not how they see women as being. But I am a woman! And that's what I wear.

Oh dear, its all so confusing. Jonathan Rachel Clynch, we need to talk.


Zoe Ball will be great on new Top Gear - and she won't punch anyone either

Zoe Ball

I HATED Top Gear at the end. I thought the concept was great and James May was sweet. 

But I really hated it when it developed into a show in which the presenters took themselves way too seriously. Eventually the power went to Jeremy Clarkson's head and he thumped a producer because there wasn't a hot meal ready for him after a day's shoot. Really smart. I hope Amazon's production team have portable cookers to knock up some steaks when the lads make their new show.

I was delighted to see that Chris Evans may now be joined by Zoe Ball on the new Top Gear series.

Chris and Zoe, who both lost their way a little after their days of being at the top of their game in the 90s, will be perfect.

I'm going to gloat now and name drop - sorry.

Zoe Ball and her husband Norman Cooke had me over for dinner in their house in Brighton after I came out of the Big Brother House.


I had bangers and mash, washed down by vodka and orange. It was sort of strange (the gathering as well as the drink and food combo), but we had a lovely night. Norman and I were interviewed for a piece in NME. After one more vodka, I got the train from Brighton back home.

Their house was huge - unbelievably huge. It was right on the beach. She had just had their son Woody and was exhausted when she came down for dinner. But she was kind and funny and even took me on a tour of the house.

Zoe has a reputation as very hard worker. A TV producer friend of mine, who has worked with her, said that she is so sweet to her team. At the beginning of any production she will take everyone bowling and buy pressies for them at the end. All of which makes a change from punching people over a lack of hot grub.

Zoe Ball will bring a funny, self-deprecating approach to Top Gear. After what's gone before it's exactly what is needed.


Rita's the only one with the X Factor

Rita Ora

The X Factor is just rotten. I can't say it any other way. Or maybe I could - it's rotting.

I normally am reluctant at first to watch the show but usually you will see me, after half an hour, trying not to giggle at Louis or tearing up at some down-on-their-luck backing singer.

But this year's show is atrocious. Check out the reactions from the judges, including Nick Grimshaw (inset). Next time you watch, imagine a director shouting into their ears "Cheryl, look surprised", "Simon, slowly look up from your note pad and smile", "Nick, say anything!".

As for Rita Ora (left) - she's good - the only good thing in the show, in fact.


Here's a tip to make a few bob this weekend

Stephen Cluxton

I CANNOT tell you how excited I am about this weekend. On Saturday we have Ireland in their opening World Cup rugby match against Canada. Then Dublin (with Stephen Cluxton - inset) play Kerry in the All-Ireland final on Sunday.

So you can take the recent brutal weather and you can drop kick that into the stratosphere. It's sports galore in four days time and I feel sick with the excitement.

I'd like to make a prediction. I have a feeling about these games and I love predictions.

So here you go. For the rugby, Ireland 28 Canada 9. For the All-Ireland, Kerry 2-07, Dublin 3-08. Want to make a few bob? Take that to the bookies!

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