Jeffrey or George? Meet the Osbornes

When Barack Obama kept calling our Chancellor ‘Jeffrey’ rather than ‘George’, Britain sniggered. For next time,  Barry, here’s how to tell the difference – and how to remember names in future

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The Independent Online

Meet enough people and you’ll realise that a high proportion will tell you that they are “bad” with names. Particularly those who tend to meet a lot of people.

There is plenty of advice for name amnesiacs, some have even written books on the subject like “memory coach” Benjamin Levy’s Remember Every Name Every Time, which suggests the intense-sounding FACE method: “focus, ask, comment and employ,”

Focusing when they tell you (rather than thinking about the next thing to say) and asking about their name seem sensible.

Others suggest you associate names with a rhyme or an association with their job. Picture Briony Bell in a church tower, or “Rula by the water cooler”.

One of the most frequently repeated pieces of advice, is, appropriately, repetition. Some suggest you do so in your head when a person tells you their name (“Raymondo, Raymondo, Raymondo, Raymondo. RAY-MON-DO!”). Others, out loud: “Cliff, that’s so funny, Cliff! I’m really glad that I met you Cliff.”

Of course, say it like that and it can leave you sounding either unhinged or a bit too keen. Neither is ideal in the work place or during small talk over canapés, unless Cliff is keen too, that is...

Jeffrey Osborne

Age: 65

Family: youngest of 12 children, son of trumpeter Clarence “Legs” Osborne and wife Wanita

Education: rhythm and  blues and the streets of Rhode Island

Style: cool as ice in a wide-lapelled suit

Best known for: being the smooth-as-treacle singer of 1982 smash “On the Wings  of Love”

Jeffrey says: “On the wings of love/ up and above the clouds/ the only way to fly/ is on the wings of love”

George Osborne

Age: 42

Family: son of Sir Peter Osborne, 17th Baronet of Ballentaylor, father of four, and Felicity Alexandra Loxton-Peacock

Education: St Pauls School and Magdalen College, Oxford

Style: sweaty in Bullingdon Club tails

Best known for: Really being called Gideon; being about as smooth as a crocodile’s back Chancellor Osborne says: “We will safeguard Britain’s credit rating with a credible plan to eliminate the bulk of the structural deficit”

Samuel Muston