Alice Jones: Being outlandish is the name of the game

Outlandish names are no longer confined to the celebrity sphere

Share
Related Topics

These are high times for silly names. Peaches Geldof has given
birth to a son – Astala Dylan Willow Cohen-Geldof. Her father, Bob,
has been quick to poke fun, admitting on television this week that
he doesn't know how to pronounce his grandson's name. "I haven't
said it yet – I can't bring myself to," he said. This follows his
thoughtful comments last week where he branded Astala a "girl's
name", adding, "Yuck! What's he going to be called in school? Ass?
Stella?" He will be now. Thanks, Grandpa Bob!

It's a bit rich coming from Geldof, who famously named his children Fifi Trixibelle, Little Pixie and, deep breath, Peaches Honeyblossom Michelle Charlotte Angel Vanessa. For her part, Peaches has previously claimed: "My weird name has haunted me all my life." When it came to her own bundle of joy, though, genetics kicked in and Geldof Jr found herself repeating the sins of the father.

You can't blame Geldof for wanting to give her son a name as unique as her own, to distinguish him in a world of Apples, Brooklyns and Blue Ivys. Except, does it really work like that? If you call your daughter Belle, will she grow up to be beautiful? It's nonsense to assume that you can shape someone's character or future with a label but plenty of people do.

Outlandish names are no longer confined to the celebrity sphere. According to the Office of National Statistics, the number of new names has gone up by nearly 50 per cent in 15 years. With hundreds of Brooklyns and Roccos scampering around, the search for "uniqueness" has become ever more febrile. Nevaeh – or heaven, backwards – is now one of the fastest-rising girl's names.

What, though, of those cursed with unwieldy, lumpen names? Take Benedict Cumberbatch, a man whose name, by his own admission, "sounds like a fart in a bath". At the start of his career, he acted under the name Ben Carlton, following the lead of his actor father, Timothy. Last week, in a report about the US viewing figures for Sherlock, The Washington Post referred to the actor as "Bandersnatch Cummerbund". The typo caused much hilarity before the newspaper responded saying that it had been a deliberate snark. Intentional or not, America is talking about Benedict Cumberbatch. Which, let's face it, would never have happened to Ben Carlton.

* High Priestess. Now there's a job title that looks good on a business card. There she was – resplendent in white pleats like an Ionic pillar, raising the "Archaic Pot" to the heavens, kneeling reverently before the sun-kindled flame and wafting a gnarled olive branch as she lit the Olympic torch. It was been disappointing to discover that this celestial conduit is in fact a jobbing actress from Athens called Ino Menegaki, pictured. According to her online CV, Menegaki is a specialist in Ancient Tragedy, who has been cast in the torch ceremonies since 1996, climbing the ranks to cauldron-bearer in Beijing and Vancouver and now, hallelujah, High Priestess. She also turns out to be a qualified sporting bureaucrat, holding a Masters in "Olympic Studies, Olympic Education, Organisation and Management of Olympic events."

* I've often wondered who the strange types who "drink in" at Starbucks are. Now I know. Working out of the office for two days in Brighton, I found myself drawn by promises of caffeine and free wi-fi. It seems there is a name for people like me – "coffee shop conquerors", who set up shop in the window seat, trailing laptop wires and trying not to swipe skinny soy foam across their iPads while making one cappuccino last for as long as it takes to write the next Pulitzer/ Booker/Oscar winner.

A new report has now branded such behaviour antisocial, claiming that it discourages other customers who are simply looking to relax over a hot drink. This is unnecessary meddling. High street cafes and office-less workers have reached a perfect agreement. They give us free internet. In return, we have to drink their appalling coffee.

React Now

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

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Cancer Research UK: Corporate Partnerships Volunteer Events Coordinator – London

Voluntary: Cancer Research UK: We’re looking for someone to support our award ...

Ashdown Group: Head of IT - Hertfordshire - £90,000

£70000 - £90000 per annum + bonus + car allowance + benefits: Ashdown Group: H...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Errors & Omissions: Outgunned by a lack of military knowledge

Guy Keleny
Ukip leader Nigel Farage in Tiny Tim’s tea shop while canvassing in Rochester this week  

General Election 2015: What on earth happened to Ukip?

Matthew Norman
Major medical journal Lancet under attack for 'extremist hate propaganda' over its coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Lancet accused of 'anti-Israel hate propaganda' over coverage of Gaza conflict

Threat to free speech as publishers of renowned medical journal are accused of inciting hatred and violence
General Election 2015: Tories and Lib Dems throw their star names west to grab votes

All noisy on the Lib Dems' western front

The party has deployed its big guns in Cornwall to save its seats there. Simon Usborne heads to the heart of the battle
How Etsy became a crafty little earner: The online market has been floated for £1.2bn, but can craft and capitalism coexist?

How Etsy became a crafty little earner

The online market has been floated for £1.2bn, but can craft and capitalism coexist?
Guy Ritchie is the latest filmmaker to tackle King Arthur - one of our most versatile heroes

King Arthur is inspiring Guy Ritchie

Raluca Radulescu explains why his many permutations - from folk hero to chick-lit hunk - never cease to fascinate
Apple Watch: Will it live up to expectations for the man or woman on the street?

Apple Watch: Will it live up to expectations?

The Apple Watch has apparently sold millions even before its launch tomorrow
Don't fear the artichoke: it's a good cook's staple, with more choice than you'd think

Don't fear the artichoke

Artichokes are scary - they've got spikes and hairy bits, and British cooks tend to give them a wide berth. But they're an essential and delicious part of Italian cuisine
11 best men's socks

11 best men's socks

Make a statement with your accessories, starting from the bottom up
Paul Scholes column: Eden Hazard would be my Player of the Year – but I wonder if he has that appetite for goals of Messi or Ronaldo

Paul Scholes column

Hazard would be my Player of the Year – but I wonder if he has that appetite for goals of Messi or Ronaldo
Frank Warren: Tyson Fury will be closely watching Wladimir Klitschko... when he wins it'll be time to do a deal

Frank Warren's Ringside

Tyson Fury will be closely watching Wladimir Klitschko... when he wins it'll be time to do a deal
London Marathon 2015: Kenya's brothers in arms Wilson Kipsang and Dennis Kimetto ready to take on world

Kenya's brothers in arms take on world

Last year Wilson Kipsang had his marathon record taken off him by training partner and friend Dennis Kimetto. They talk about facing off in the London Marathon
Natalie Bennett interview: I've lost track of the last time I saw my Dad but it's not because I refuse to fly

Natalie Bennett interview: I've lost track of the last time I saw my Dad

Green leader prefers to stay clear of her 'painful' family memories but is more open about 'utterly unreasonable' personal attacks
Syria conflict: Khorasan return with a fresh influx of fighters awaiting the order to start 'shooting the birds'

Khorasan is back in Syria

America said these al-Qaeda militants were bombed out of the country last year - but Kim Sengupta hears a different story
General Election 2015: Is William Cash the man to woo Warwickshire North for Ukip?

On the campaign trail with Ukip

Is William Cash the man to woo Warwickshire North?
Four rival Robin Hood movies get Hollywood go-head - and Friar Tuck will become a superhero

Expect a rush on men's tights

Studios line up four Robin Hoods productions
Peter Kay's Car Share: BBC show is the comedian's first TV sitcom in a decade

In the driving seat: Peter Kay

Car Share is the comedian's first TV sitcom in a decade. The programme's co-creator Paul Coleman reveals the challenges of getting the show on the road