Thursday, 25 August 2011

On having one of those names

My mother was reminiscing yesterday about her childhood and the people who lived in the other houses in the cul-de-sac where she grew up. It was only a matter of time before she mentioned Sid Nutt.

Sid Nutt is One Of Those Names. Just calling him Sid, or Mr. Nutt, would be insufficient. Sid Nutt is a name of such magnificent perfection that you have to say the whole thing, every time. Sid Nutt. Sid Nutt. Alright Sid Nutt?

It's not just punchy names that fall into this category either. Although I went to school with a Matt Gunn - another perfect example of one of those names being short and monosyllabic - I have also been lucky enough to meet Geoff Parrott. Geoff Parrott is a name which just keeps giving. You can't help but smile. And actually, that's the sort of person that Geoff Parrott is as well.

My mother was telling me that Sid Nutt, too, was an extraordinary character. Tall and thin with a big baggy suit for his successful legal career. Full of quips and eccentricities. She need not have bothered telling me this. There's no way that a man called Sid Nutt would -or could - be anything other than completely exceptional. His name is Sid Nutt!

My pet theory on names runs that the name you are given has a great bearing on the person you become. My name is Edward, and I simply could not occupy any other title. My circle of friends includes a baffling array of Edwards. They are all very Edwardy, too, but of course, something had to be done to avoid confusion. One of my friends started calling me Edmund, which stuck. And I like it. I love it. It's personal to me and the people that I care about, and has many fond memories attached. But if anyone from outside of that group calls me it I dislike it enormously. It feels like a violation. Because, above all else, I'd not be the same person that I am had I actually been called Edmund. I truly believe that.

When I see some of the daft made-up names children are given now I worry. They are an unknown. You know where you are with a Gary or a Derek or a Tabitha. What sort of person will a Jayden grow to become? I can only imagine they'll be like a character from Mortal Kombat.

When I am king, my first order of business will be to establish firm policies on responsible naming for children. Giving a fellow human being a stupid name is wrong wrong wrong. That is what dogs and cats are for.

(Mind you, there's nothing which delights me more than a dog or cat with a very, very, human name. The best name I've ever heard suggested for a cat: John.)

9 comments:

Mr. Fatuous said...

I once spent an enjoyable train journey eavesdropping on a group of guys discussing their mate's cat called Dave. Who doesn't want to hear about a cat called Dave?
I think Barry would make an excellent name for a labrador or a corgi called Steve.

Betsy said...

I had this very conversation with a colleague, just this morning. We were discussing the difference between a Charlotte and a Jakki. These people are hypothetical, of course.

Needless to say, I agree with you on the cat name thing. To which Margot and Jerry can attest.

Merry Mary said...

I work with a Matt Gunn. He's downstairs.

Merry Mary said...

Though unless you went to school in Stockport or Doncaster, it's probably a different Matt Gunn

dotmund said...

Tell him he has one of those names!

I believe the Matt Gunn I was at school with was related to Martha Gunn, my all-time favourite Brighton celebrity and inventor of chucking things in the sea.

linda said...

Oh! I was just going to say I know a cat called Dave... I wonder if it is the same Dave.

Also, I know a Matt Gunn... I wonder if it is the same Matt Gunn.

Martha Gunn is my second favorite Brighton celebrity. My first favorite is Phoebe Hessel.

Also, I was thinking about this yesterday. The ONLY person that ever calls me Lin is my sister. I don't think anyone else has ever tried it out... except that someone on Twitter has just started to- and I find it sort of strange (which is why I was thinking about this yesterday).
I think of Lin as Lynne (unless if my sister says it)- and she is a really different person to me.
Most of my friends change my name to Linds- which I like. Because it isn't an actual name.

alicestronaut said...

I got a 10/10 on my school project in which I made a poster of Martha Gunn. Therefore she is my favourite Brighton celebrity.

People do call me different names and I think it does make a difference. My favourite nickname is Mallet but I do associate Mallet with the version of me that tells terrible jokes and is a bit loud and annoying.

Also I think Jacqui is a perfect name for a cat.

Jessica said...

Never trust a Cindy.

Amerella said...

I know someone with a cat called Janit, which I like both for the misspelling, and the mundanity of the name.

I also know someone who's obsessed with calling his dog Warren. Only he doesn't have a dog.

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