Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Whatever happend to Margaret Powell?


A friend just had a baby and called it Atticus.

I don't know about you, but I think that's appalling. Whatever happened to ordinary names? Not that one should strive to be ordinary, but one shouldn't go out of one's way to be extraordinary either. You either is your ain't. You can't become it or it looks forced. Like those people who say: 'I'm an eccentric'. They're not of course, because a true eccentric has no idea they're eccentric. In fact, they probably think they're rather ordinary.

So back to names. When I was at school - and most of you were too - the class consisted of Susan, Peter, Richard, Stuart, Diane, Jonathan, Andrew, David, Alison, Caroline, Simon etc. The most unusual name was Sian. Now they're 10 a penny.

These names have all but died out. Can you imagine someone introducing their baby Paul? Or Raymond? Names like Derek, Clive, Norman, Rodney, Gordon and Tim are a thing of the past.

About 25 years ago it was Sophie, Emma, Jack and James mania. Now we've moved onto 'servants' names like Stanley, Alfie, Ruby, Lily, Maisie, Cuthburt, etc. It's like living in Upstairs Downstairs.

So once this revival dies out, what next? Can we see a return to fashion of names like Sharon or Tracey, Perry or Warren? Actually, I think they're quite groovy Sixties names and one day will return.

But I doubt we'll ever see another Myra.

13 comments:

Helen said...

Oh no, I remember your previous blog about this. I like the name Atticus and love 'To Kill a Mockingbird' so very nearly named our son Atticus. Similarly, I'm a huge fan of Tallulah Bankhead and so chose to name our daughter that, long before all and sundry started. I think the naming of children is a very personal thing and I remember being appalled that I was the talk of the workplace after naming my daughter Tallulah. I mean, haven't people got anything better to talk about?!

Chris Hughes said...

I'm with you, although I remain to be convinced that parents have started naming their children Cuthburt. There's certainly overkill on Ruby, Lily, Maisie et al, though.

The rule of thumb is surely, will it sound ridiculous when you're shouting at them in Tesco? Atticus fails all ends up.

Five-Centres said...

You nearly did, Hels, but you didn't. I think Tallulah is nice, as it's not made up. You have to think about the playground, so Atticus was justly avoided.

Red Squirrel said...

It is a tough decision – poor buggers are lumbered with it, after all. As you know, F-C, I've been there twice, and it's the balance between "different" (ie, not in the top 20 most popular that year – cos really, you don't want that, do you?) and "fucking ridiculous" that's so tricky. Obviously, I think we did brilliantly well, but my mum would disagree. As would one or two of my mates (it's VERY insulting when people slag off your name choice – more than I thought it would be, so keep schtum in front of mater Atticus!).
And really, what kind of a name is Five-Centres?! You must have got some stick at school...

Cocktails said...

If I had kids I'd call them Chevrolet, Sauvignon and Araldite. Lovely names and unlike me, they'd always be able to buy 'product' with their names on them.

Ishouldbeworking said...

Atticus is in the same vein as the brothers called Cyrus and Cassius, who I used to regularly hear getting taunted on the train in the mornings. You'd have thought the novelty would have eventually worn off with their friends, but the taunts just got more and more sophisticated as they got older.

The 'Servants' Quarters' names grate on me more in a way, though, as they always seem to be the choice of people who have spent their whole lives desperately fleeing their working-class roots, only to then bestow a faux-nostalgic working-class name on their kids. Gah!

I'm with Cocktails myself. Call your kids Domestos and Activia.and they'll grow up to rule the world..

Cocktails said...

Activia! I like it ISBW!

Mondo said...

On a similar theme, whatever happened to names that had secondary names? It was years before I found my Auntie Peg's birth name was actually Margret - others were..

Cyril=Nobby
John=Jack

PS I always to be called Danny as a child, because of Danny Wilde from The Persuaders and him from The Bash St Kids

Five-Centres said...

I had an Uncle Tony, whose real name was Jack. I had a grandma called Babs whose real name was Dorothy. My dad is called by his second name as was my father in law. No idea why. No one does that now.

It's quite a Scottish thing, I hear. I had friend who's mother was called Mary but everyone called her Myra. Her own mother was called Mary too, but everyone called her Rae.

Very odd.

Clair said...

I met two young boys called Ace and Zoom. How very Crouch End. Bleugh,

I notice the journalist Lucy Cavendish has a son of about ten called Raymond, which I always think sounds really awful for a boy his age. Does this mean a renaissance of Colins, Terrys, Tonys, Douglases and Geralds?

Five-Centres said...

It's the next wave, Clair. I feel it.

Simon said...

Presumably Gordon won't be getting used more now he's gone though...

As for alternative names, my Dad had an Uncle Bob. Christened Frank Arthur but so named because he used to bob up and down in his pram. His wife called him Robert as Bob was too common for her.

BPP said...

I vote for Radnock, Rudyard, Titus, Barnabas, Octavius, Enoch, Granville, Uriah and Meriwether for boys, and Fanny, Parthena, Theodosia, Henrietta and Gertrude for girls.

AND THEN A SOUND THRASHING FOR THE WHOLE STINKIN' LOT OF 'EM!

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