When I turned 18 I thought I ought to change my name. And change it to something not easily identifiable with one country or religion or gender or one anything. The musician Prince was then toying with the idea of calling himself by a symbol and being known as the artiste formerly known as Prince, which is quite a mouthful and also retains his old name.
I thought I would call myself after a musical note – C sharp suggested itself – but even that had connotations in Western music. Perhaps, I thought, a grunt would be ideal.
"Hello, I am Harrumph, glad to meet you," I might say at a party, or "My real name is Grrrr," or something like that. You wouldn’t then have any preconceived notions.
But 18 came and went, and my natural laziness asserted itself and I continue to use the name you see at the top of this column.
Not so another singer, Mr Kanye West. He will henceforth be known as ‘Ye’. No first name, no middle name, no last name, just ‘Ye’. Like Bono and Cher. Mr West says he made the change because ‘Ye’ is the most common word used in the Bible. I don’t know about his music, but his arithmetic is terrible. A simple search will show that the two most common words in the King James Bible are "and" and "the."
But I suspect if Mr West had decided to call himself "And", he would have been addressed as "Andy", and that, as everybody knows is the 401st most popular boys’ name and 5129th most popular girls’ name. "The" holds out more promise, but I suspect if Mr West really wanted to have a unique name, he should have named himself after the full stop, which I suspect is the most commonly used punctuation mark in the Bible.
He could have also named himself after the sound of two fingers flicking or the crash of breaking mirrors or the smell of a red rose. I merely hand out these suggestions for future name-changers who want to be unique.
I can sympathise with Mr West. He has been going through life recently known as Mr Kim Kardashian, which must cause psychological damage, and is probably leading to a divorce. A name-change to something silly and controversial is exactly what the doctor ordered to bring attention back on himself.
Personally, I think all of us should be given an option at 18 (or 21) to decide whether we are happy to continue with our given names or if we prefer to change them. Our original names should be mere place-holders, marking time till our real names are decided on later in life.