Wednesday, 11 August 2010


Today I overheard a mother call her 3 year old boy 'Dennis'. Dennis. Really. Child naming fashions operate like all other fashions - in cycles. On each new cycle a couple of new names are added and a couple are discarded. I imagine the name's Keith and Bernard, for example won't come back. "I'll be with you in a minute, I just need to change Bernard's nappy". Recently, turn of the century before last (that's what we have to call it now) names have been very popular. Nowhere is this more noticeable than where I live - Stoke Newington, the liberal North London family's cultural epicentre.

Living on it's main street I wake up every Saturday morning to mother's shouting "Archie! Stay away from Olive's croissant!". Dennis was not a name I saw coming back. Actually, the more I write it the more I like it. "We bought Dennis a clarinet but he gave up after grade 2". Maybe not. That sounds a little more like you're speaking about an elderly relative with Alzheimer's rather than an 8 year old boy.

Unusual names are far more popular now than when I was growing up in the 1980s. Back then having the name Fergus was like having bellend written on your forehead. Unfortunately I had both. Now, I like having a fairly unique name. The only serious irritant is that people ALWAYS just assume that my name is in fact 'Craig Fergus'. Every time someone sees a form filled in by me I can picture them saying "Look at this Beryl. Another twat who doesn't know what 'surname' means!". There's another one - Beryl. Could that ever come back? Cast your votes now.

As a child it felt like there were 8 Johns in my class, 4 Christophers, 3 Roberts and me... Fergus. And of course the girls. I didn't go to prep school dickheads! If I did would I be able to do this? *attempts roundhouse kick, unintentionally breaks vase*. Quick question - did I use those *s correctly just then? I mean, I know it was hilarious (that goes without saying) but was it grammatically correct?

The name Fergus spawned the following nicknames; Fungus, Fungus the Bogeyman, Fungi, Fungal, Fergil and most creatively... Fungibell. Though that last one probably had a lot to do with the fact that I would often wear the girls' hairbands. I've thought about that a lot since and have concluded that I just did it for laughs and not because of any gender/sexuality curiosity. I'm as straight as they come mate. Now pass me another bevvy and stick the blaaaaady footy on.

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