Friday, 28 October 2016

Names and songs and football fans.

The other day I found a list of names that are 'in danger of extinction". Well, I can think of quite a few names that were around when I was a child that you never come across nowadays, except for amongst people of my age: Barbara, Maureen, Margaret, even Susan. But the "official" list included the following:

Alpha (not so much a name as a category)
Barbra (surely a mis-spelling of Barbara)
Claudine (I wonder of they still use it in France)
Nanette (A variation on Anne, which has also become scarce)
Sheba (Isn't that an ancient country? The queen of Sheba and all that? Otherwise, a name for a lion in a cute cartoon film.)
Sondra (Another mis-spelling, this time for Sandra, diminutive of Alexandra, both now rare)
Thisbe (Were there ever girls called Thisbe outside of ancient myths and stories)
Zelma (The commentator on the list said that this name had been edged out by names like Selma and Thelma. The latter is another name from my childhood which has disappeared.)

And the boys names listed were:

Elmo (I have never met an Elmo but I have heard of St. Elmo's fire. Here's a little note about: it is a weather phenomenon in which luminous plasma sometimes appeared on ships at sea. It could be quite frightening but sailors in olden times regarded it as a good omen as St. Elmo was the patron saint of sailors.)
Icarus (Surely nobody ever named their son Icarus after what happened to the original!)
Inigo (??)
Llewellyn (Surely you only ever found these in Wales. Maybe you still do.) Sherwood (No! Not a name for a person!)
Remus (Well, I know a dog with that name)
Waldo (No comment)

Personally, I want to know what has happened to all the boys called Norman, Brian and Kevin. They have not made the kind of comeback that names like Fred, Wilfrid and Rupert have been making recently.

Our granddaughter has a boyfriend called Darryl. Whenever she types his name in a text on her phone, autocorrect changes it to Beryl (another disappearing name), causing great hilarity and not a little confusion. I met them them after they finished work in Manchester early the other evening and went for a meal with them. Good food and good company. Afterwards I hopped on a tram to cross Manchester city centre as I was going on to meet friends in a reading group.

The tram was moderately full when Ingot on at Victoria. At the next stop, Shudehill, masses of football fans got on. Manchester Untied were playing Manchester City. I should have remembered and avoided the tram but it was too late. When we got to the Market Street stop even more fans piled on, cramming into the already crowded space. We almost needed those transport employees you hear about in some countries, the ones who push the passengers into the commuter trains at rush hour. As we set the football fans began to sing, a range of good-natured songs saying rude things about the opposing team. So there was an element of competition as to which group could sing loudest.

Claustrophobia was setting in. Fortunately I was getting off the tram at St. peter's Square, the next stop on the line. Getting off was difficult! I had to push my way through a crowd of people, mostly men, mostly taller than I am. But I managed it. And as the tram continued into the evening dark, I could still here them singing.

Thank heavens the pub where I was meeting my friends did not have a TV or we might have continued with the football songs.

I understand that Manchester United won!

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