Friday 15 November 2019

One small step

• The prize for the best joke at this year's Edinburgh Fringe Festival went to a Canadian comic, Stewart Francis, for his one-liner, "You know who really gives kids a bad name? Posh and Becks." The Beckhams' children are called Brooklyn, Romeo, Cruz and Harper Seven.

Parents do not realise how they can lumber their children with unusual or peculiar names that can become the object of bullying or ridicule when the child goes to school, and in later life. I didn't really like my own Christian name, 'Neil', at first, although I quite liked the sound of its original Irish equivalent, 'Niall'. But when the late Neil Armstrong became the first man to land on the moon, I came to appreciate this first name, because it became obvious that with a name like Neil, you could go places!

The broadcaster, historian and writer Niall Ferguson, while writing his first name as Niall, calls himself Neil, so perhaps it's simply a matter of personal taste.

Neil C Oliver
Newtownards, Co Down

Irish Independent

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