Hit & Run: Love you, Bunnikins

To find that Carla Bruni calls President Sarkozy by the nickname chouchou ("little cauliflower") is endearing, if only because it's hard to imagine Sarah Brown doing the same – no matter how much of a legume we may think her husband. Nicknames perform a humanising function: they give grim, unsmiling public figures a cute counter-identity, just as stern teachers in junior school are given nicknames to subvert their awful authority.

It's good to know that Michelle Obama refers to her husband as "Pumpski" though nobody has a clue what it means. Maybe it's something rude, as with "Rosebud", William Randolph Hearst's nickname for his mistress Marion Davis, or, more precisely, for her clitoris. It's nice to know Winston Churchill was "Pug" to Clemmie, while she was his "Cat." How odd to find the sainted Lady Churchill shares a nom d'amour with Lillian "Pusscat" Crawford in The Archers. Celebrities seem more approachable when we know they have names bestowed by their spouses. We think better of Sting after being told that his wife Trudi calls him "Pookie," after the pathetic winged rabbit in the 1945 children's book (I recall that he gets less pathetic, and his wings grow huge, ahem, when he meets Belinda the woodcutter's daughter.) Guy Ritchie used to call Madonna "Madge" when they were together; now it's more likely to be "It..." And did you know the Duke of Edinburgh has a name for the Queen? Apparently, it's "Cabbage." Nom d'un chien! So that's where Carla got the idea.

John Walsh

Do aviators wear Aviators?

Uniforms are rarely on-trend. A Co-op fleece or a policeman's helmet will never be a fashion staple, but what about the lucky few with groovy workwear? "Do aviators wear Aviators?" Slate.com asked recently and the answer is yes, they do. And the classic Ray-Ban (named because they banish sunlight for squinty pilots) has become a seasonless classic, even for those without their wings. Then there are Barbours, whose democratisation from Lord of the Manor to Lily Allen has helped towards ending Britain's feudal system. What next, hi-vis jackets and hard hats? Possibly – Prada sent waders down the catwalk while Miu Miu showed tabard-like aprons. Trout farmers and dinner ladies will be mollified, at least.

harriet walker

Shove affair gone sour

It ranks alongside a 147 at snooker or 180 at darts as the pinnacle of sporting achievement. But the thrill of scoring a perfect five at shove ha'penny could be lost to future generations after the last remaining league called it a day because young people prefer pool. The object of the game, which has been played in pubs since the 15th century, is to propel a pre-decimal ha'penny so it lands between the lines of nine oblongs etched onto the board. Opponents take turns to despatch their five ha'pennies using outstretched palms in a bid to become the winner by landing three separate coins in each zone. The enduring appeal of the game lies both in its simplicity and its skill, and, of course, the fact it can be played while drunk.

jonathan brown

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: One of the world's leading suppliers and manuf...

Recruitment Genius: Multiple Apprentices Required

£6240 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Apprentices are required to join a privat...

Sauce Recruitment: HR Manager

£40000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: This is an exciting opportunity for a HR...

Ashdown Group: Interim HR Manager - 3 Month FTC - Henley-on-Thames

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established organisation oper...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee