This is not a book by me on 'Directors I've Known' - although with that title it could be. Would be quite a good read too. I could devote some chapters on the various types out there, plus throw in a few tips and tricks on how to deal with the more challenging ones (think spawn of Satan). I might even give away the secret to perfecting the 'You So Do Not Impress Me' look. Growing up with a cat in the house has many benefits.
Not what this book is about though. The Good, the Bad and the Unready by Robert Easton (childhood nickname 'Ridiculous Robert') is 'the remarkable truth behind history's strangest nicknames'. The man's not lying - he's got some pretty odd ones summed up in there. You have to feel sorry for the subjects of some of the included monikers though. It's one thing to be nicknamed 'the Terrible' or 'the Cruel', but really, doesn't your heart go out to '
If you're one of the seemingly dying breed that loves history, chances are you’ll be familiar with quite a few of the mentioned characters and their nicknames. Not that the likes of Tum Tum, Nose Almighty and the Prince of Whales are not still worth a good snigger. But it's the more obscure names that really tickle the imagination. Take ‘Athelfleda the White Duck’. That one had me seriously intrigued. Did the damsel in question have distinct Donaldian features (pale with webbed feet)? Did her mother blame her pregnancy on a white bird (can't believe Leda got away with that), or was poor Athelfleda just cursed with a bit of a funny voice? Here’s what Easton had to say on the origin of the name: ‘We don’t really know – it could have just been a term of endearment’. Yes. I liked my suggestions better too. Not sure Athelfleda would agree though.
I do admit to a childish delight in nicknames - especially (and this will come as no shock to you) the more irreverent ones. Chances are I’d think otherwise if I knew all that people called me. As a penniless student I was temping at a shower curtain factory one summer (not one of the high points in my life) and was mortified to discover some of the male population had started referring to me as ‘The Fallen Madonna with the Big Boobies’. Not the kind of thing a very self-conscious young woman wants to hear. Especially as mine are really more of an average size anyway. I wore baggy things for the rest of the season. Of course now I think it was actually quite funny – and possibly a bit friendlier than ‘the Missing Links’, which is what I called the gentlemen in question from then on.
If you like nicknames as well, and enjoy historical anecdotes (peppered with quite a bit of gossip and hearsay), you will enjoy reading the Good the Bad and the Unready. No self-respecting toilet should be without it. Which is maybe not the kind of praise Robert Easton had in mind when he wrote it, but the bathroom really is a perfect place to 'dip into this little book and enjoy a good giggle' (pinched that from the cover). Now if I were to write the book I mentioned above, I would be thrilled if it became a toilet read. Considering how some of its main characters were full of crap, it might actually be quite appropriate.