David Worboys – To name just a few

Evander Holyfield has an unusual Christian name. Photocredit sportscasting.com

When quite young, I became fascinated by people’s names. Some were funny while others just seemed inappropriate. I remember a wholesome, fragrant-looking girl with the slightly alliterative name of Sally Smellie. I think I would rather be called Stench or Stinker. At least it might raise a laugh every time I announced it!

And I recall two contemporaries of mine at school. Tubby East and Jack Weston were poles apart, (horizontally, rather than vertically). As his name might suggest to some our more astute readers, Tubby East was overweight. He had a pallid complexion and closely cropped dark hair. Jack West, on the other hand, was fit, ruddy-faced and wore his blond, wavy hair at shoulder length.

Among the married couples I know about, there are two coincidences. In one case, a man and his wife in Sydney were both born on Christmas Day 1960 . In the other one the couple shared the same surname before marriage (and, of course, continued to so afterwards). Had that name been Sanchez, Williams or Mueller, this would not have raised my eyebrows, But Martin Stallard married Jenny Stallard. He was born in Scotland, she in Canada and they met in Oxford.

My comments on names such as Ramsbottom are well-documented and, no doubt, read by millions. My favourite interpretations relate to a former England rugby international and a Sky News journalist respectively. Danny Grewcock (was getting excited) and Dominic Waghorn (was pleased to see her).

Other odd names I have encountered may not be greeted with howls of laughter but do strike me as odd. Johnny Granny, Killingham (first name forgotten) and Pance (pronounced “pants”) come to mind. When I have nothing more productive to do, I try to visualise the numerous and varied reactions that greet the bearers of such names from their schooldays onwards.

There are many people saddled with the name of a celebrity. But, imagine the reaction to a 6’5″ sandy-haired Australian announcing his name every time he checks in at a hotel. Yes, it’s Louis Armstrong.

I was told that a Canadian family with the amusing name of Pogey had a son christened Hoagy (as in Carmichael) but I have no confirmation of this. If it is true this can only mean a lifetime of potential embarrassment was bestowed just for a quick cackle at the font.

Deviating from names of people, I noticed a house in Oxfordshire called Crown Court and there is a gay bar in San Francisco called the Golden Gate. Naughty!

But back to people’s names, Gwyneth Paltrow’s children are named Apple (girl) and Moses (yes, boy). This is the new norm. Not everybody should be called Antonio, John, Susan or Maria. In the past we had unusual ones such as Evander Holyfield and Marlon Brando. These are unusual first names but not bizarre, like so many nowadays.

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Written by

David Worboys

Offering a unique insight into everything from politics to food to sport, David is one of the Euro Weekly News´ most popular columnists.


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