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Friday, February 22, 2008

Being Dave

In today's Times David Aaronovitch writes about how 2008 is the year of David (or at least Dave). The prominent Davids consulted in the sidebar have all had the same crisis at one time or another - the fact that their friends all prefer the shortened form, which somehow makes you sound like a painter and decorator.

I was Dave from my teens on. It was only when my shortened name first appeared in print on a review in the NME that my mother said, with a smidge of asperity, "you have a perfectly nice name, please use it." (I have since discovered that a parent says this with the same emotional force that they might say "don't marry that man" or "don't tattoo yourself all over". Because they don't want to see what they've brought into the world irredeemably ruined.)

Since then I have been David professionally even though my work friends call me Dave. Anybody I know through my wife calls me David. Was it Thelma in The Likely Lads who fought a losing battle against her husband being called Bob because she felt it might impede their social ascent?

People who don't know me but are vaguely aware that some people call me by the diminutive compromise by referring to me as "Mr Hepworth", which remains stranded somewhere between sarcasm and matiness.