Thursday, 18 November 2010

A jam-jar by any other name

Snowy reported the other day that, in the school which she visits as Governor, girls called Julie tend to be nicknamed 'Jelly'. This seems very sensible to me, and a typical example of the endearing British gift for inventive and (mostly) affectionate nicknames.

Until I was 13 I was usually called 'Titch', and indeed I was quite small as a child. Later on, at 15 or 16, I was called 'Jam-jar' for a while. Someone 5th-form wit had said that I 'walked like a pregnant jam-jar'. H'm.

As a 6th-former and student I don't remember attracting a nickname at all. Nor as a teacher and head teacher, but maybe the kids took care not to be overheard. Among my friends and associates I was always Chris.

I had a problem when I came to live in France, nearly 20 years ago now. I was surprised to find, when conducting sacred music, that in France 'Christ' is pronounced without the final T, i.e. kreess. 'Chris' and 'Christ' sound exactly the same. I felt obliged to renounce Chris and insist on Christopher (or kreesstoffair as they pronounce it) in full.

But in English-speaking circles I'm happy to be called Chris.

Jam-jar, indeed.


Vicus Scurra said...

And there's me been typing all of those superfluous 'topher's. That's 3 minutes 18 seconds I'll never get back.

Sarah said...

Me too Vicus....tho I think Kreesstoffair is rather endearing...I never had a nickname at school. Which is just as well. Those poor unfortunates called bunny, birdie and spider (jane webb) to mention a few,(LOL) carried them on into adulthood. tho beats me why.

Obertra said...

"Christopher" is a most admirable name. All who bare it might accept, without complaint, that passers-by may freely petition a known Christopher with the convenience to jump on his back and rightfully demand said Christopher carry them, piggy-back if necessary, over fordable obstacles. What a delight to be carried thus across a busy high street in rush-hour, or, being a rambler join a trekking group so long as a Christopher was a participant to clamber upon when the going got tough, say, through quagmires or other ‘sole-destroying’ rutted routes…except, that certain Christian names could elicit unwelcome advances that I have yet to fathom. Any suggestions? Lol

Christopher said...

Vicus: Yes, empires have fallen and great men and women have been sired in less time. What opportunities you may have missed. Humble apologies.

Sah: Let me get this right: was it a school you went to, or a zoo?

Obertra: Thank you, but with the state my back's in I'm afraid some of your elegant and generous observations don't really apply. If you know where to find medallions with St C. equipped with truss, zimmer and attendant physio please let me know.

Dave said...

How does a pregnant jam jar walk?

Of even more imterest, how does a jam jar get pregnant?

Sarah said...

Is this a joke dave? groan

Dave said...

No, it's a question. Well, two questions really. It just seemed an odd object to compare you with.

Z said...

Vicus, darling, I trust you appreciate my brevity, if not my wit - it is, of course, for wit that we visit Chris. And you too, naturally.

My sister's name is actually Melanie, but I only use it on formal occasions. She's been Winkie my entire life.

english inukshuk said...

firstly I want to say "London Calling"


secondly, did you know that the noun jam (fruit conserve) probably derives from the verb jam (to squash together). . . it might also come from the French "j'aime"


Obertra said...


And, for all our edification there woz 'The Jam' an English Punk Rock/Mod revival band during the late '70s/early '80s.


There woz also 'Bob Marley making jam' all them years ago in JAMaica re:

Ooh, yeah! All right!
We're jammin',
I wanna jam it wid you,
We're jammin', jammin',
And I hope you like jammin', too...


“Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera” as some strutting bald headed guy said in 'The King and I' way back in the late 50's I think it was. I'm not sure, whether it was 2 "etceteras" or 3 "etceteras" he enunciated in a row to what’s-her-name(?) he fancied in a story about a commoner getting the lustful eye off an ultimate oriental aristocrat. - Much like present William 'giving it' to what's-her-name(?) Except, He's occidental?

letouttoplay said...

I was nicknamed Piglet (affectionately - I think) when I was very small but I made sure that neither that name or the less pictorial, current version ever entered any school gates.

Christopher said...

Dave: No idea...

Sah: ...but we're all waiting for you to come up with a punch line.

Rog: WHERE ARE YOU? We need you desperately.

Z: Did you know Vicus had won wit T-shirt competitions?

I: I think you've put an elegant finger on the nub of Dave's question in suggesting the relationship between Eng. preserve (i.e. jam) and Fr. préservatif (i.e. rubber or latex appliance or fitment to avoid seepage). I was going to conflate 'conserve' with Fr. conservateur but preferred not to upset Vicus' susceptibilities. He's an honoured guest here, after all. (But I do wish he'd take that ridiculous T-shirt off, dripping all over the floor, he'll catch his death)

Obertra: I think you've put a gnarled finger on the nub of Dave's question. He will instantly recognise your allusions and will go about whistling a happy tune all day.

Mig: Affectionate, undoubtedly. What else? as I's beau idéal G. Clooney often says.

Charlene said...

At least the Jam Jar name was not because you had big ears; jam jar shortened to be jar because jarhead might mean manwith big ears? SMILE

I had no nick names when a child. When I was 20 a girl came to work where I did and began calling me Char. She still does when she calls on my birthday!

Anonymous said...

EXCUSE ME..(!)(?)

I would NEVER (EVER) press any of my hornbeam digits against Dave's nub...

What an indecorous insult?

The guy's a veritable peripatetic priestly upstart along with 'the rest of them' who preach upon the already hallowed grounds of Heaven & Earth's adoring pagans.

Hector said...

"As a 6th-former and student I don't remember attracting a nickname at all. Nor as a teacher and head teacher" -
Hold on just a minute Chris - a little bird tells me that there was indeed a nickname for the "headie - pronounced heedie" (head teacher in Scotland). Perhaps it was the lightness of your step and aspirations to appear on Strictly Come Dancing that resulted in the nickname Cha-Cha.
However, the source of your nickname was much more mundane - when putting your initials to reports and other documents you would write C CH - hence Cha-Cha.
Jam-jar may have been appropriate in your youth but Cha-Cha far better describes your twinckletoes nowadays - perhaps there could be a place for you on Strictly!