How many Waynes, Kylies and Sades have grown into adulthood in a state of embarrassment at their parents' brief but dated fascination with a sleb a score years past? The New Local Government Network is now suggesting that an X-factor type contest should be used for the naming of streets.
No thank you. My Nigerian postman has enough difficulty telling the door numbers from one another without the added complication of which Princess Diana Road of the 43 newly named ones the letter should go to.
The NLGN is making the mistake of equating popularity with merit. Existing street names should remain unchanged; they often come down to us from centuries ago, and are as much a part of our historical environment as our ancient churches. The Pightles, Buttermarkets, Cornmarkets, Love Lanes and Grope Lanes of mediaeval literality, the Nelson, Trafalgar, Waterloo, Inkerman, Victoria and Balaclava Roads of nineteenth century empire, the new housing estate roads named after municipal figures obscure even in their own time are all part of our rich cultural heritage and should be preserved as avidly as any Grade I listed building.
As for new roads, beware transient popularity. Who now would be happy to live on Gary Glitter Avenue? Pop idols have feet of clay.
'The naming of parts' by Henry Reed was written in 1942. It starts;
To-day we have naming of parts. Yesterday,
We had daily cleaning. And to-morrow morning,
We shall have what to do after firing. But to-day,
To-day we have naming of parts. Japonica
Glistens like coral in all of the neighboring gardens,
And to-day we have naming of parts.
This is the lower sling swivel. And this
Is the upper sling swivel, whose use you will see,
When you are given your slings. And this is the piling swivel,
Which in your case you have not got. The branches
Hold in the gardens their silent, eloquent gestures,
Which in our case we have not got.