I'm on a plane flying into the heart of nowhere.
I'm on a plane flying into the heart of nowhere. Below me is an endless, lonely sea seemingly stretched out for ever until it makes land by smashing itself on to the shores of a barren, isolated outpost. No, I'm not going to the Isle of Wight for a weekend. I'm off to do some filming in Newfoundland, the frozen armpit of Canada. It's not the best of times to be far from home. My wife Stacey is about to give birth to our second child and there are many decisions to be made.
We know that it's a boy and we have already decided on a name. I'm not one of those people that lumber their child with an embarrassing set of names so that we can parade our "individuality" to other parents. No, our children will never have to stand up in class, their face beetroot red, with the rest of their class convulsed in giggles and pointing as they are forced to confess their name is John or Mary or Alexander or Susan. I would never, ever, put my kid in that situation. Our little boy, Wolfman Awesome Joly will have the privilege of expressing his individuality through his own sweet character, just like his elder sister Missy Missy Jamon Jamon.
Although Stacey and I are sorted for names we do have another predicament: where is he to be born? Missy Missy was born in London. Now we're in London the choice is less appealing. They boil down to three main contenders: Swindon, Cheltenham and Oxford. The very idea of Wolfman having to go through his life with Swindon in his passport as his place of birth is unthinkable. Cheltenham is a nice town but a bit twee, a mite too Tunbridge Wells for my liking. Oxford's quite cool but still has that slight feeling that if you could get there wouldn't it have been worth the extra 50-minute drive to get your wife to London where they have proper celebrity hospitals where nurses know who you are and treat you with the special care and attention that status deserves?
Stacey has now gone and thrown a real wild card into the mix. Stacey has decided to have one last "special moment" with Missy Missy and, in her infinite wisdom, has decided that this will be at EuroDisney, or Disney Resort Paris or Mickey Mouse Ville or whatever it changed its name to last week. The problem is that the trip is very near Stacey's due date and this raises several frightening scenarios. The first, and most obvious, is that Wolfman could be born in France. My son could be French. There is no way that I'm having an unwashed, loathsome Pernod-swigging yob hanging around my house smoking untipped cigarettes and waffling on about dark nights of the soul while snogging Stacey's girlfriends. Stacey finds it hard enough to deal with me so I'm afraid that two of us would be totally insupportable.
There is, however, an even more frightening scenario. What if Stacey was caught short in the Disney Kingdom itself? Only last week a woman gave birth on a Virgin Atlantic flight and called her daughter Virginia. The child was given free flights until the age of 21. What would I get? Would I have to call my kid Donald Duck because Wolfman wasn't a trademark character? Would I get free rides at off-peak times on hideous movie-tie-in rides? Maybe Donald Duck would love it so much that we could never holiday anywhere nice again? My son, Donald Duck Joly would spend the first 21 years of his life on a roller-coaster, his only friend a six-foot mouse. Then what if they offered him free education and he graduated from the University of Goofy and started talking in a high-pitched helium voice? What if he couldn't make friends with the other celebrity children who were all off to Mustique at the age of 13 to stay in their own houses and take heroin with people who could help them in later life? I'm in a real state, I don't know what to do. I'm on my way to my own little Elba where the average temperature is minus 20 Centigrade and the only things smiling are the polar bears, while my wife hops off to France to make my only future son a lifetime member of the Mickey Mouse Club. Come back Swindon, all is forgiven.Reuse content