Tuesday, 28 September 2010

The Name Game

I had intended to write a piece decrying Jamie Oliver for calling his unfortunate son Buddy Bear Maurice.  But I actually quite like Jamie Oliver – he seems to be a what-you-see-is-what-you-get type of guy, few airs and graces and is clearly passionate about what he does.  And he produces nice books and recipes that work.

So I thought I would let him off – which was big of me, I’m sure you will agree.  Besides, if I’m going to write a(nother) really narky piece, I’d rather concentrate on the real irritants of the world – Bob Geldof or  Bono or George Michael, for example but Bob’s choice of names for his daughters is just silly, I have no idea what Bono’s kids are called, assuming he even has some and George Michael, well, ahem, he is unlikely ever to have any.

And anyway, if you just Google “stupid celebrity baby names” the search engine, in its majesty, presents you with 166,000 results which is slightly worrying.   And when you start to browse through some of those names, you come up with “Pilot Inspektor” (son of Jason Lee and Beth Riesgraf, whoever they may be), and “Reign Beau” (daughter of Ving Rhames –er, who?), not to mention “Speck Wildhorse” and “Moxie Crimefighter” – yes, both real and belonging to the son of John Mellencamp (80’s singer) and the daughter of Penn Gillette (the talking one out of Penn & Teller) respectively.  What the hell is wrong with these people?  What’s wrong with a good old fashioned Mary or James?

It gets better worse.  Imagine having to live with the moniker “Jermajesty”.  You would if your dad was Jermaine Jackson.  Or try “Audio Science” or “Diva Muffin” (which sounds vaguely obscene).  Some bloke called Robert Rodriguez was either fixated with the letter R or simply devoid of all imagination when he chose Rocket, Racer, Rebel, Rogue and Rhiannon for his kids’ names.  So what next?  If his wife has a tough pregnancy he could go for “Reflux” or maybe “Regurge”.

And then there is the celeb who went for O’shun for her presumably longed-for baby.  If she ever gets pregnant by accident, she could always try O’shitt for its sibling.

But perhaps the names “Whizdom” and “Bow-Ty” take the bis-kit?  Or maybe the prize should go to a guy called Rob Morrow who eschewed all fancy nomenclature and simply called his kid “Tu”.  I'm guessing he's American because why else would you name your child after a line of clothing in a supermarket?  It's the equivalent of having twins and naming them Florence & Fred 

 Let’s hope the poor mite never auditions for a part in Annie...

You're calling me WHAT??

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Cat woman...

I came across this today...it made me laugh and it's just so true.  Any of us can be in the foulest mood, in the midst of a rancid argument with any one of our parents/children/siblings and as soon as a cat enters the equation, we are reduced to soppy, dribbling creatures.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Daddy Dearest...

In contrast to the mummies so frequently seen on the school run, or clustered around the gates anytime after 3pm, the school run Dad is a much rarer animal.  Not possessed of the soft heart of the Mummy, he can cheerfully dump and run, leaving little Cameron/Lexi sobbing into the voluminous skirts of the teacher on duty and scarper for the 8.15 to Waterloo without so much as a backward glance.

Dads don’t have a great deal of patience with the school run and the delicate nuances of female competition.  They prefer to bulldoze their way up the pavement, yanking a near-hysterical child behind them and tough tits if you’ve forgotten your show and tell for today and left your lunchbox at home.  If you're lucky, he might stop off at the newsagent and buy you a packet of crisps and a family sized bar of fruit and nut to keep you going.  As soon as you crack that open at lunchtime, half the class reaches for an Epipen and the dinner ladies become hysterical.

Even worse is the Dad who is late and decides to try and drive right up as close to the school as possible.  One such got caught behind a friend of mine who was trying (pretty unsuccessfully) to reverse her car into quite a tight spot.  It took her two or three goes and, once he was able to get past, he stopped his car alongside hers, lowered the window and yelled “you stupid f*cking woman” at her for precisely no reason at all, other than he reckoned himself because he was a newsreader on some feckin’ dismal little satellite channel that nobody watched and a giant tosser into the bargain.  So, naturally, he was far too important to wait for someone else to park.  We consoled ourselves by reassuring each other that his wife was thick and his children were fugly.

We have already encountered competitive dad who, on the school run as on Sports Day, is inclined to turn up in a tracksuit and the very latest Nike trainers.  He jogs on the spot whilst waiting for the gates to open and insists that Ben and Ella run home, even though it's pouring with rain and Ella turned an ankle in Gym earlier on today.  He hares off through the puddles, splashing anyone too slow to get out of his way with a cry of "It's only rain - you won't melt!" as Ben and Ella trail miserably behind, trying not to look at their school friends steaming past in the Mercedes 4x4, making big L's with their thumb and forefingers and mouthing LOSERS! through the window at them.

Weekend Wally is the divorced Dad who picks up from school on a Friday night.  With no idea at all what to do with his offspring while their mother is re-enacting scenes from ‘Cougarville’  in All Bar One, he relies on forced jollity to get him through.  He is inclined to greet Joshua with a hearty “Hey BUDDY!” and Lottie with “how’s my little Princess today?!” which makes both children cringe and blush.  Minutes later in the car, Josh receives a text from the class bully, Troy.  It reads “Ur dad is a spaz and a gaylord”.

At one time, my kids attended the same school as a certain now-famous TV chef.  Of course, he wasn’t famous in those days and he never once roared “school doesn’t get any tougher than this” as he let his kids out of the BMW on the double yellows in the morning. 

Dads also have little regard for the rules.  Viz the Shah who, at our kids’ first school, took on the role of Santa at the Christmas Fair with great gusto.  Needless to say, he was totally politically incorrect and allowed, nay encouraged, children to sit on his knee and/or give him a hug.  I was living in fear of his being branded a Plastic Paedo* but he was having none of it. 

It was probably just as well that it was deemed to be too onerous (ie sweaty in that beard) for one person to do the whole shift, so there would be an interval in the proceedings and someone else would take over.  Who should volunteer but the Shah’s mate Jim?  Nothing funny about that until you find out that Jim is actually Jewish.  So (as he delightedly recounted to a Board meeting the following week) there was him (Jewish) and the Shah (Hindu) sharing the Father Christmas robes at the very Christian school’s Winter Fair.  The Headmaster didn’t seem too bothered, not a single child commented on the fact that the morning shift Santa had acquired a deep tan from somewhere and, in case you're wondering, a Plastic Paedo* is a sorry excuse for a real one.  Sorry Shah!

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Back to skool...

Ah, it’s that time of year again, when we head back onto the school run with death in our collective hearts.

Believe me, those of you who are either male or child-free, there is no arena so competitive as the school gate and it has been the downfall of many a knackered mummy who has (ahem, like my good self on occasion) turned up to drop off or collect, still in her pyjamas.  In fact, the school gate is positively tribal.  One practised glance at your fellow mummies and you can tell precisely which tribe they belong to.  They come broadly as follows:-

Cashmere Kate
The Cashmere Kates are usually tiny in every sense of the word, blonde and pretty in a cream-and-pink sort of a way.  Kate is always immaculately turned out and her clothes are expensive and classic, if not particularly trendy.  Kate never swears or uses vulgar language.  She is inclined to brush her hair and renew her lipstick before hubby arrives home. She drinks Earl Grey out of a china cup and saucer (never a mug!) and usually wears pearls.  She never raises her voice to her children or on any other occasion.  There is generally a vapid little smile on her lips.  She has an O level in Home Economics and another in Art.  She married well.  She is oblivious to the existence of...

Ballbreaker Belinda
Belinda has a job in the City, a massive mortgage and an Architect husband who can’t keep it in his trousers.  She is convinced he is shagging his latest PA.  Added to this, Joshua keeps calling the bloody Australian Nanny (what’s her name again – Charlene?  Raelene?) “Mummy”.   She strides down the road towards school, dragging Joshua behind her, ignoring his wails whilst clicking away on her CrackBerry with her free hand.  The sodding nanny should be doing this but the cow is hungover again.  She has no idea how it all ended up like this.   She has no time at all for Cashmere Kate but secretly envies...

Earthmother Ellen
Ellen has long, curly hair and freshly-scrubbed features.  She wears lacy layers or vintage nighties as dresses with wellingtons with a strawberry print all over them.  She cycles to school on her old fashioned ‘sit up and beg’ bike with a large pannier on the front, containing a Jack Russell puppy.  The children (Gaia, Atticus and Tertia) are hauled along behind in a three man buggy.  On very rainy days, she grudgingly drives a Toyota Pious, sorry Prius.  She always has dirt under her fingernails from the Organic Allotment.  She never shaves her armpits and is inclined to publicly haul one massive, leaking boob from the depths of her vintage lace layers and plug it into a beatific baby, quite unabashed.  Circling fathers find her either gross and slightly unwashed-looking or thrillingly sexy.  She has absolutely nothing in common with...

Susan the Social Experimenter
There is normally only one of these in any school and that is generally considered to be one too many.  Her children are given old-fashioned names, but not trendy ones, just bloody awful ones like Prudence and Gwendoline.  Her 11 year old daughter is still made to wear Doodles and Jelly shoes and Susan frowns upon little girls who wear jeans and shorts as they’re so unladylike.  They do have a television, but it’s just a little black and white portable and they only use it on special occasions like the Proms or a royal wedding because the picture's quite fuzzy really and the only way to get it clear is for Keith to stand and hold the aerial all the time.  Instead of watching TV, they play Grandmother’s Footsteps and What’s the time Mr Wolf?  Susan is sneakily proud of the mobile phone she bought second hand (for emergencies only).  It is 8 inches long (not including the aerial) and weighs 10lbs.  She truly cannot understand the likes of...

Gym Bunny Jenny
Jenny and her ilk are always dressed in the latest designer gym duds.  She is perma-tanned and fearsomely toned because she spends literally all day at the local David Lloyd, where she works out like a demon and then indulges in a tough sports massage.  After this, she meets a few of the girls in the Restaurant for lunch where they vie to see who can chase a lettuce leaf around a plate the longest.  She has had a bit of work done but would rather die than admit it.  Marcus must never find out!  She is terrified of losing him and (more to the point) his hedge fund manager salary.  She has given Marcus two adorable daughters – Poppy and Saffron – but knows he is desperate for a son.  She would like to have another baby but the potential effect on her 37 year old waistline gives her night terrors.  She looks with pity upon...

Average Eva
Eva is in the middle.  Middle class, middle aged and muddling along.  She does her best with two unruly children and a largely absent workaholic husband.  She works four days a week but would love to cut down to three, if only they could afford it.  She could do with losing half a stone or so because she drinks more than is strictly good for her but hey, what the hell?  If someone gave you the bottle of wine it doesn’t count and if someone else pours the glass, that doesn’t count either.  Consequently, she and her friends spend a lot of time pouring for each other.  She is constantly harassed and downtrodden by her children who inform her that every meal she produces is “like, puke innit?” and refuse to lift a finger around the house sighing “ugh, effort,” when asked.  She wishes she had Jenny’s body and Ellen’s insouciance but knows she will never have either and the bloody cat’s brought another mouse in.

There was one famous occasion when a friend and I went to watch our sons play football for the school. We got to the ground only to find that the newsreader Mark Austin was there – and jolly handsome in the flesh too – because his son was on the opposing team.  Blimey!  Poor bloke hardly saw any of the match, because he was constantly surrounded by Cashmere Kates vying for his attention.  And he was charming and didn’t tell a single one of them to “feck off, I’m here to see my boy play” which I would have been tempted to do.

There are probably more mummy types than this but I feel quite exhausted by this lot.  Watch this space – the Daddies are coming!