Monday, 30 May 2016

Dave, Daver, Davest

Enter my first name in a Google search engine and you'll be offered the choice of Walliams, Bowie, Beckham and Cameron - the four top Daves (although only our current Prime Minister seems comfortable with the matily familiar 'diminutive - the common touch typical of all Old Etonians).

Boys are less likely to be named David these days. They're all Jacks, Harrys, Oscars, Charlies, Bills (or Billys) and Dylans. Actually on looking me up on the website of the Office of National Statistics I was surprised to learn that David actually came fiftieth in the top 100 boys names chosen in Britain in 2015, one above Reuben and one below Matthew. So it looks as if we're hanging on in there.

But other once commonplace names are fading fast - will there ever be any more Kenneths? Kevins? Cyrils and Cuthberts? Barrys and Brians and Leonards? Gone, all gone. Vanished under the waves. Absolument disparu, my dear, like mater's mink (a phrase employed by Nigel Molesworth in Geoffrey Willans' unmatchable comic masterpiece Down with Skool). Geoffrey! Nigel!

Likewise girls' names - gone the Karens, the Sylvias, the Doreens and Barbaras, the Ivys and Maisies and  Jillys and Pams. The top ten girls' names today - Amelia (number one since 2013), Olivia, Isla, Emily, Poppy, Ava, Isabella, Jessica and Lily - all share a certain mid-century Kath Kidston whimsy-aura. Preferable at least to the ghastly hybrids such as Amber-Rose and the gormless (Brangela, Chardonnay, Tequila or, more likely, T'queela).

On a less grumpy note I've been thinking of some alternative names I'd quite like to be known by:

Tolly
Scobie
Langston
Douglas
Jolyon
Slim
Con
Dicky
Hunph
Biff
Ernie

They're all good, I think.



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