Dear Paula Yates

Your three children labour under bizarre names: how about playing it straight with number four?
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The Independent Online
Now you are poised to play the name-game again, for it is reported that you and Michael Hutchence - the rock-star lover for whom you traded in Bob Geldof - are expecting your first child.

I hope you won't mind me offering a few cautionary words in these very early and hormonally sensitive months. You've always been generous with advice yourself, even if Paula's Gospel of Perfect Family Life is a little tattered now that you've separated from Bob and the kids' "magic" childhood has been slightly blighted by their dad moving out and your new man arriving.

But let's not quibble. When it comes to names I still understand, though it is possible that your children will not. We Marys and Margarets know what drives you; we too have suffered the frustration of bearing names so dull that even as children our plainness was determined and careers as librarians assured.

You've written ad nauseam about your attempts to emulate the impossible glamour and sophistication of your own mother. As a child you told your peers all you wanted to be was famous. I suspect that, like most Marys and Margarets, you too believe that another name might have added spark and mystery; it would surely have heightened cheekbones, guaranteed natural blonde or even red hair and, joy of joys, ensured, without surgery, bigger boobs. How much smoother might have been the path to fame, or notoriety.

Fourth time round I am sure that again you won't waste time with the Boots book of baby names. Not for this child Mike or Paula (names designed for the windscreen of a Ford Cortina) or even Bob (that would be a nice - and headline-grabbing - touch). No, once again you will want the exotic, arresting and breathlessly glamorous.

But perhaps (especially if triplets are on the way, as some tabloids report) the time has come for a change of tack. Confound them all, Paula. Scupper the Sunday Telegraph's sniffy competition to name the trio. Rest the imagination, for your kids won't thank you. Ask yourself what self- respecting teenager or woman is seriously going to want to be known as Peaches. The truth is that their names create greater obstacles than Paula ever did. Already you have almost certainly barred them from science, brain surgery and politics. Only the silly and frivolous world of celebrity parties, and a life of being famous for being famous - or worse, being famous for your mother being famous for being famous - beckons.

So if it's another girl, call her something strong and versatile, such as Catherine. You can stop short of Mary. I know, I know - you are a woman of excess. You are already thinking of Hilda or Agnes, but no need for the other extreme. Get it right this time and the first three girls can change by deed poll. Here's hoping you see sense.

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