Tag Archives: Thomas

Why I could never be a comedian

After reading about the wonderfully-named Laurel-Ann Hardie last week and how her moniker caused such worldwide excitement on Twitter, I suggested to the late, great comedian Malcolm Hardee’s son Frank that, if he ever has a daughter, he should at least consider calling her Laurel Ann (fore-name hyphens are surely only for American kids).

Why his father never thought of calling Frank’s sister Laurel Ann Hardee instead of Poppy Hardee I can’t imagine.

The only near-to-funny name I have ever personally encountered was the very old-school and respectable weatherman who worked at Anglia TV in Norwich and who was always called Michael Hunt, never (to his face) Mike Hunt.

But, then, as my two fore-names are John Thomas (after my two grandfathers, John McLellan and Thomas Fleming) I can’t really pursue the path of humorous names.

I was originally going to be named not Thomas but Tuesday because, when my father first saw me lying new-born in the cot at the hospital, he looked at me and said to my mother: “Let’s call it a day.”

And because I say that…

…that is why I could never be a comedian.

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A dog called Dylan and the fickle finger of fame

Last night I went to South East London to see Charmian Hughes’ try-out of her upcoming Brighton Fringe/Edinburgh Fringe show The Ten Charmandments at the equally charming and fascinating Living Room Theatre which is, indeed, just what it says on the label.

It’s a living room theatre.

I suppose I should have counted, but I think the full room had an audience of twelve, sitting in a U-shape. That’s ten or eleven more than some Edinburgh Fringe shows I’ve been to.

The Living Room Theatre allows performers to preview and try-out shows in an amiable, low-key atmosphere and is run by writer-performer Claire Dowie and Colin Watkeys who, among his other accomplishments was apparently the late, much-lamented Ken Campbell’s manager. Now THAT must have been a job and a half.

But, oddly, it was the theatre dog’s name that leapt to mind this morning and the fickle nature of fame. Yes, the Living Room Theatre has a dog. Dylan the dog, though missing from the performance itself, was an amiable and attentive addition to the over-all theatrical event.

It was the name “Dylan” that got to me, though.

People want their name to be remembered, but how that name is remembered is sometimes not what they might have hoped for.

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson wanted to be remembered as a serious mathematician, logician and academic; instead, he was remembered first as children’s author Lewis Carroll, the author of Alice in Wonderland and, more recently, as the taker of some rather dodgy photographs of young children; his reputation has started to transform into a sort-of Victorian wannabe Gary Glitter.

Thomas Crapper was a very admirable man whose hard work and professionalism changed the hygiene, health and social behaviour of the British nation – there are manhole covers with his company’s name proudly displayed in Westminster Abbey, scene of our recent glamorous Royal Wedding… but his surname has become synonymous with shit. He can’t be turning happily in his grave.

And pity poor Dylan Thomas, the verbose Welsh bard, who presumably wanted to be known for his literary art and womanising but people’s first thoughts of the name “Dylan” soon turned into a Jewish folk singer with incomprehensible lyrics and a terrible singing voice, then into an animated rabbit with acid-head drug fans in the Anglicised version of The Magic Roundabout and now, it seems, among cutting-edge theatre-goers in South East London, into a dog’s name. Though, admittedly, he is a very likeable dog. Probably more likeable than the verbose Welsh bard.

Oh – for the record – The Ten Charmandments is very well worth seeing, though God may disapprove of the name change.

I particularly recommend the sand dance.

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