I HAVE never been happy with my given name but I had no choice in the matter. My mother decided I would be either Denis or Desmond even though I would have preferred, in retrospect, to have been a Harry or a John. So Denis I became.
But it could have been worse.
Family history website genesreunited analysed 35 million records from the 1911 Census and found some very strange first names among our ancestors. The top five were Fish, Plain, Fat, Bland and Pain.
Can you imagine being called Fish Duxbury? You would be pursued throughout childhood and beyond by jokes you had heard a thousand times before.
Plain or Pain aren’t too bad, considering, and Bland is, well, a bit bland. But Fat Wells must have had a hard time of it, growing up in Deeping St James in Lincolnshire.
It just goes to show that choosing strange names for your offspring is not the modern show business conceit that I had thought.
The late and legendary Frank Zappa started that trend when he named his children Moon Unit and Diva Thin Muffin. Posh and Becks named Brooklyn after the place he was conceived. Under the same guidelines I would have been Wakefield Kilcommons which has a certain Victorian ring to it.
Sylvester Stallone named his son Sage Moonblood but, let’s face it, who’s going to tell him that sounds pretentious? David Duchovny was making allowances for a bad memory when he called his Kyd. Trouble is, shout it out of the back door at teatime and half the neighbourhood might turn up.
Actor Rob Morrow named his child Tu, which really is a bad joke, but the worst has to be Jermain Jackson, who named one of his Jermajesty.