Naming Your Child; A Rant by David Mitchell

Watch the video above and listen to the sense of David Mitchell. A Tarquin is always a Tarquin. The man speaks the truth!

Names are important and any parent who messes around should be reprimanded severely. Very severely. This is the kind of thing that can cause astronomical therapy bills in later years. We all have examples when this conversation comes up. That poor girl everyone in Ireland seems to know named Annette Curtin? What about the girl I was introduced to who was called Valerie Farrelly (seems innocent but say it three times when you’re drunk)? Or all the Brian O’Briens? That’s just plain mean. As for me? Alexandra means Defender of Men and Donald means Ruler of the World. I was pretty much set up to fail.

Two couples who are close friends of mine became pregnant at the same time and I discussed names with one of them when in their house for dinner last month. The couple knew the sex of their baby and so were only thinking about male names. There were a lot of suggestions, some humorous but lots of serious options too. When asked about my preferences I replied that my favourite boy’s name is Atticus and my favourite girl’s name is Ariel. The former is certainly influenced by To Kill A Mockingbird and the latter is absolutely not influenced by The Little Mermaid. (When I was in a relationship with a man whose surname was Purcell my sisters exclaimed, “You can’t name a child Ariel Purcell!” – an objection which is understandable if you think about washing detergents.)

Really all of this is a moot point. I have pretty much decided for many reasons that I do not want to have children and so I think the closest I will ever come to the above dilemma is naming characters within my books. I have many resources for this and always try to name my characters according to either my personal preference or a name that suits their personality. There is the argument that if I get published my characters will live longer than anyone I know so there is some pressure to get it right!

And what about you? Any favourite or hated names? And if you have children, where did the inspiration for their names come from?

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3 thoughts on “Naming Your Child; A Rant by David Mitchell

  1. When I was a child, I really wanted to be called Jason. I think it was after the Battle Of The Planets character!

    I gave my kids musical names; Miles obviously after Miles Davis (but not specifically, we just thought it was a cool name). And Leon, after Leon Russell (we were watching the Concert For Bangladesh and he was performing on it; we were searching for a name at the time, and presto!)

    The funny thing about kids and names is that after a while they just become the name, and the name becomes them. You can’t imagine them with any other name. And when you hear that name, you think of them. What I’m trying to say is eventually their personality transcends the name, and it is no longer relevant.

    But its still good to give them a cool name!

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