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The Top 10: Entries in the Dictionary of Notional Biography

From Sortie de Camions, the French 17th-century mystic, to Helvetica Bold, purveyor of discreet adult services to the gentry

John Rentoul
Thursday 30 June 2016 18:45 BST

A fine idea suggested by Peter Metcalfe, who offered the first three.

1. Sortie de Camions, French 17th-century mystic

2. Tetanus Booster, Southern US Senator

3. Hertz Van Rental, 17th-century Dutch painter

4. ‏Hong Kong, younger brother of the misunderstood oversized gorilla playboy (nominated by James)

5. Morden Via Bank, South African actor. Mainly played aristocrats in German horror films of the 1920s (according to Jim Parr)

6. ‏Ambre Solaire, glamorous 1930s French film actress (James again)

7. Helvetica Bold, purveyor of discreet adult services to the gentry (Thanks to Tom Doran)

8. Stella Artois, Brummy gal who married into the French aristocracy in exile in the late 18th century (A third contribution from James)

9. Chilcot Tribunal, star quarterback for Ohio State Buckeyes football team (James’s fourth)

10. Cédez le Passage. “I always expect to see a burlesque dancer when I approach a roundabout in France,” says Anne Giegerich. ‏

An honourable mention for John Peters, who nominated Arafwch Nawr, Welsh tenor (It is a common road sign in Wales, meaning “reduce speed now”.)

Next week: Conspiracy theories, after some Jeremy Corbyn supporters claimed the attempt to unseat him was timed to prevent his responding to the Chilcot report next week

Coming soon: Modern proverbs, such as “truth is stranger than Photoshop”

Your suggestions, and ideas for future Top 10s, in the comments please, or to me on Twitter, or by email to Listellany: A Miscellany of Very British Top Tens, From Politics to Pop, is available as an e-book for £3.79.

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