Tuesday: Repost day….over to the man with the big nose…..
Hell hath no fury like a woman’s scorn.
Whenever I hear that phrase, one scene from one film jostles its way to the surface of my mind: it’s that Steve Martin take on Cyrano De Bergerac’s ‘Roxanne’.
Cyrano, alias quick-witted Fire Chief CD Bales, has earned withering scorn from his Roxanne.He’s written love letters to her, purporting to be someone else. She fell in love with his words, but has ended up falling into bed with the wrong man because of the fire chief’s duplicity.
Furious, she orders him out of her house.
He walks up and down on one of those beautiful wide American porches in the balmy dusk, shouting “Ten more seconds and I’m leaving!”
The door, unceremoniously shut moments before, flies open. “What did you say?” she fires out.
CD repeats his ultimatum, and disgusted, she flounces back into the house, slamming the door.
And now he realises: she thought she’d heard different words.
“Wait a minute,” he says, “what did you think I said?”
She replies: “Urmore Sessions, by Slieving”.
“Well what does that mean?”, he rejoins, perplexed at this wild card.
“I don’t know”, replies Roxanne testily. “That’s why I came out.”
We love it, because it is just how my husband Phil or I would think. Either of us would be prepared to shelve a thunderous row for Slieving or any of his colleagues.
It appears our offspring have inherited our penchant for funny names .
Today we took our usual spin round our neighbourhood forest. The children chortled and gurgled at the sight the dog chasing pheasants. The creatures flapped up out of the undergrowth, for all the world like barely airborne ponderous dowagers, momentarily discomfited by a mutt who wouldn’t know what to do if he ever got one.
By the time we headed back towards home, the kids were in hysterics. They were in a merry frame of mind, and then I said, let’s go the forbidden way.
Our main track up into the forest is closed for works. But it’s nearly finished. I suggested taking the route anyway: the workmen had all gone home and it was quite safe. Felix declined: he does not like breaking rules. I insisted and, ever obedient, he finally followed us down the gully.
Careful Felix, Maddie said wickedly, John Blunt will get you.
It’s just a joke, Maddie explained, giggling uncontrollably, John Blunt. It’s no-one, it’s just funny.
And just to prove it, Felix was gurgling volubly at the thought of being got by this jocular gentleman.
So I started the grown up stuff. Who is he? Do you know him? Is he someone on television? Have you learnt about him in history? Has Daddy told you about him?
No, no, no, no and no.
So here I was, a middle class mother, trying not to think about the fact that I didn’t know who John Blunt was. Maddie and Felix are generous in their mirth. Everyone is invited to laugh along, and I was no exception.
But later, burning curiosity drew my fingers to the laptop keys in search of an answer from that 21st Century oracle, Google.
And these are the John Blunts I found.
There was a charming New Hampshire artist; a Californian estate agent; NBC Philadelphia has recently bid adieu to a presenter of that name; and John Blunt happens also to be a Freddie Mercury impersonator.
But there was no-one who might have inspired my children to giggle so.
I asked Maddie, just once more. Who thought of John Blunt?
And she said, Oh Mummy, it’s just a really funny name.
There have been many wonderful funny names through the ages. Some of my favourites are from that deeply affectionate portrait of Victorian everyman, Diary of a Nobody, by George and Weedon Grossmith.
What better name for our nobody than Pooter? Charles is the central character. His son is called William or Willie: but half way through the book the son acquires airs and graces, and chooses to call himself Lupin Pooter.
His best friends are Cummings and Gowing, of course. Cummings is always going and Gowing is always coming…but for me, no name is funnier than that chosen for the amateur thespian who is a leading light in the local amateur group, the Holloway Comedians.
His name is Mr. Burwin-Fosselton.
Why this should be funny I have absolutely no idea, but it is eminently grinworthy.
Funny names make the world go round. I could ramble on, from Monty Python’s Ron Vibentropf and Mr Bimmler, to Blackadder’s first world war superior, Captain Darling.
But you know, I might just wait to see what everyone else comes up with.