Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay

Thursday, 18 December 2008

What's in a name?

As JM of Jonny Mac's Place has remarked, Bernard Madoff has rather dominated things here in Newgate over the past few days. Although there is little to add now that he is safely immured in his gilded cage, we have as yet left untouched the vast amusement being generated by his name and its easy incorporation into punning headlines.

Daniel Finkelstein in his Times blog goes one better and has collected his favourite examples of names suited to their owner's circumstances. I am sure even he was unprepared for the sheer volume of similar exmples his article has generated - the page rivals in size the 742 comments (and counting) clocked up so far by the Telegraph's petition against the sacking of Edward Stourton.

Although not in the same category as the solicitors Doolittle and Dally or the headmaster Mr Kane, I should like to offer for your contemplation the name Hugo Boss. If a focus group sat for weeks on end trying to think up a suitable name for a brand aimed at the go-getting professional, I doubt they could do much better, yet Hugo Boss was indeed a clothes designer in pre-war Germany - in fact, he had the dubious distinction of designing the black uniforms of the SS.

Sixty years after his death, the firm is still in business and is currently promoting the 10th anniversary of its fragrance range with a collector's edition - evoking the scents of apple and cinnamon with a hint of vanilla. So now you know, girls; get up close and the thrusting young executive smells of Apfelstrudel.

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