In an age were it is common place to call newborn children after the latest pop stars or minor celebrities it makes me wonder will thos kids ever develop a nickname or an alternative moniker. The Wazza’s and Dazza’s have all but faded into obscurity to be replaced by Britney’s and Paris’s–the Keanu’s and the Jay-Ze’s.
But where have all the nicknames gone? In days of old many people were better known by the nickname bestowed upon them than the one given at birth. Where are all the Soup’s and Spud’s of yesteryear? Twenty-odd years ago a TV programme and accompanying book was produced relating the many glorious nicknames that were preculiar to Harland and Wolff Shipyard. Steel Chest, Nail in the Boot and The Barking Dog. to say that some of the names were inventive is a gross understatement..they are, in many cases the work of genius. And by far the best –or most appropriate nickname I ever heard came from The Yard–Pop-Up. If ever a name described the character this is it!!
Having sailed through Long Kesh Camp for the better part of both the 70′s and 80′s it will suffice to say that I heard quite a few nicknames over the years. I will reproduce many of them here in the hope that it jogs others memories who can provide the ones that I have either overlooked or forgotten. It will, I’m sure bring a few smile to a few faces around the province and beyond. With each name listed there is of course a story–but–as they say–that’s for another day. Feel free to comment and add your own favourites.
The most common nicknames tended to be derived from surnames and over the years I came across a host of Jonesy’s and Stewarty’s–Smudgers and Smickers. There were Blackie’s, Whitey’s, Greeners and the odd Red. And then you had Janty’s, Beller’s Dinger’s and Dougie’s. Quite a few Winky’s on my travels as well. The list goes on. And it will be obvious with many what the name relates to. Some are too obscure to even hazard a guess. Keyhole Kate–Barney Rubble–Dogs Dinner–The Frog–Seven Stone–The Gannet–The Rooster–War Dog–Chinaman–The Buck–Humphrey Littleone–Nipper Lawerence–Boko–The Hat–Bamber, in reference to a sadly departed MLA!!.
Dumpkoff–Binge–Verbal Abuse–Snatters–Blinky Palermo–Fat Head–Skel’s a Singer–Big Eyes/No Thumbs–Hoker–The Galloper–The Wobbling Brush–Tut-Tut–The Grout–Burgermaster–again very appropriate if you know the person–Alarm Clock Harry–The Sherriff of Nottingham–The Bubble–Scaramouche–Hacksaw–The Muppet–Henry the Hippo–Karl Heinz Rummager–it’s a long story!!–Brick–The Scout–A couple of Niggers–Cleo–Jazz–Facecloth Willie–The Ghost–Jolly Jack–Wingnut–Two by Two–McSlob.
Hopefully this has given a few smiles and jerked a few memories for the auld hands out there to add to. There are many more so get writing!!