John - It's out of fashion, but that suits me fine

That my first name has fallen out of the 100 most popular comes as little surprise

Share
Related Topics

The top 100 baby names is a low bar to clear, I know, but I had thought “John” had dropped out of it long ago, some time soon after the 1950s. Being called John is like sending emails: does not apply to any teenager. Being called John is like not having a first name. My surname people remember. What goes in front of it is like a blank space. From an early age anyone with the slightest doubt about my first name has plumped for “David”. I wouldn't mind being called David: it's almost as anonymous as John, but at least I know children who are called David. It would reunite me with what Margaret Thatcher used to call the Judaeo-Christian tradition, which is not a phrase with which anyone in the post-John era is familiar. 

When I was a child I toyed with what I would do if I should find myself in Euan Blair's situation. Not that I envisaged being face down in Leicester Square after celebrating my GCSEs. I think I celebrated my O levels with a single pint of Banks's Mild. But I did wonder what I would do if I were arrested by the authorities and needed to give a false name. Euan went for his middle name - John as it happens - as his surname and hoped to avoid prime ministerial embarrassment that way. It didn't work. I was planning to call myself Gifford. Gifford Shrun. Don't ask me why. It wouldn't have worked either. In the 1970s, long before the internet and Big Brother Watch and Ed Snowden I knew with an adult certainty that any ordinary John trying to pass themselves off as a Gifford or as someone without the same surname as the Prime Minister would last a maximum of a few hours before he was forced to acknowledge his parents. 

So I'm fine thank you. John works for me. I don't mind being reliably dated to my fifties. I don't mind being spelt Jhon. I gently discourage Jon or Johnny or "Johnny John Jonathan", but at least I have never experienced that humiliation endured by female people of people saying, "What a lovely name!"

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Data Analyst/Planning and Performance – Surrey – Up to £35k

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...

Cover Supervisor

£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education have cover su...

Teaching Assistant

£50 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Teaching Assistants/LSAAre you a T...

Female PE Teacher

£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Female PE Teacher Required - Hum...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis  

Russell Brand's incoherent and scattergun approach to politics is Revolution as play

James Bloodworth
Tory whips have warned the Prime Minister that he could face a Tory revolt over the European arrest warrant  

A bizarre front for the Tories’ campaign against Europe

Nigel Morris
Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker