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Amateur Idiot

Calling everyone John

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Just wondering; has anyone come across the phenomena of someone calling everyone John, as a kind of default name if they don't know the persons actual name? I guess it only really applies to males.

I think it was in a epsiode of the TV series Minder where there was a character who called everyone John, because he either didn't know their name or could not remember it. Also, I heard the excellent song "Two pints of lager and a packet of crisps please" by slodgenessabounds, and in the song there is a lyric something like "I'm getting impatient John!". I wonder if maybe it is a punk rock thing?

Just wondered if this really is (or was) a phenomena, and if anyone else has any knowledge of it?

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I lived in Singapore for a time and the shopkeepers etc whilst being overtly friendly used to call us Mr John.

Women were always referred to as madam but that is Chinese/Malay/Indian politeness for you.

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2 minutes ago, Amateur Idiot said:

Correction: the band name is Splodgenessabounds.

(Is there any way to edit posts on here?)

Not forgetting Alexi Sayle and his John (got a new motor)

 

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Possibly a contraction of "John Doe" the placeholder name given where the real name isn't known.

Or of course an Amercan toilet or prostitutes client. :)

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It goes back to at least the 17th century:  Johnny Foreigner, johnny-come-lately etc.

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I had some work done on some Ducati cylinder heads many years ago by a top independent race mechanic and he called everyone 'Chief'.  This intrigued me for a while till it dawned on me that he was dealing with so many people on a daily basis from team bosses to punters like myself that by calling us all Chief avoided upsetting people if he forgot their name or muddled it up.

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16 hours ago, geezer466 said:

I lived in Singapore for a time and the shopkeepers etc whilst being overtly friendly used to call us Mr John.

 

 

And you know this isn't pejorative stereotyping because .... ?

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22 hours ago, council dweller said:

Working class thing (London innit)

Correct. Thus the following....

Visitor: Excuse me, John. Can you tell me the way to Stepney?

Cockney: How'd you know my name was John?

Visitor: Just guessed...

Cockney: Well guess your ******* way to Stepney, then..

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On 02/09/2017 at 9:14 PM, council dweller said:

Working class thing (London innit)

A working class Leeds/Bradford thing is blokes, typically only the older generation now, calling everyone they don't know including other blokes "love". 

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'Matey' got some traction in late '80s / early '90s London. Acid House scene popularized the phrase 'get right on one matey'.

 

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On 9/3/2017 at 1:35 PM, Sledgehead said:

And you know this isn't pejorative stereotyping because .... ?

1

Because I think pejorative stereotyping is ********..... It's just the way it is/was nothing was meant by it which could easily be established by the tone it was delivered.

Go to Aus and in a lot of places they call you 'blue'.

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3 hours ago, geezer466 said:

Because I think pejorative stereotyping is ********..... It's just the way it is/was nothing was meant by it which could easily be established by the tone it was delivered.

Go to Aus and in a lot of places they call you 'blue'.

Oh, don't get me wrong. I'm sure there was no passive aggressive undertone. Just remember that the same benefit of doubt is unlikely to be afforded to natives of this culture. Try, for instance, to avoid using the name "jock" to strangers in Glasgow pubs, or "paddy" when you are wandering around republican areas of Belfast. And I'm sure you don't need to be told when not to use the name "abdul".

In fact, amongst strangers, it's probably a good idea to start by apologizing for who you are and any offense you might cause, or indeed any offense your forefathers may have caused. It's only polite.

And speaking of Aus, next time you rock up in an outback watering hole, you might wanna go easy on the name "bruce".

 

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I have heard more than once of autocratic Victorian/Edwardian employers calling every e.g. parlourmaid they ever had Jane or Sarah, either because they couldn't be bothered to remember their names, or because they thought their real names  too 'fanciful' for a mere servant. 

It must have been very satisfying post 1914 for such servants to tell the old bags to get stuffed, they were off to work in a munitions factory, instead. 

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As a member of the boomer generation, the classroom we sat in had a handful of first names for boys typically from the bible (christian names) or the Royal family.

There was a correct spelling for those names and it wasn't a problem that there were four Johns and three Michaels in a class.

As time went by the range of names became vast as parents introduced obscure names, names from pop culture etc. presumably in order that their child should stand out from the crowd.

This was then judged not to be enough and multiple alternative spellings of simple names were introduced.

I don't know how a teacher keeps up with it all.

 

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13 hours ago, frankief said:

As a member of the boomer generation, the classroom we sat in had a handful of first names for boys typically from the bible (christian names) or the Royal family.

There was a correct spelling for those names and it wasn't a problem that there were four Johns and three Michaels in a class.

As time went by the range of names became vast as parents introduced obscure names, names from pop culture etc. presumably in order that their child should stand out from the crowd.

This was then judged not to be enough and multiple alternative spellings of simple names were introduced.

I don't know how a teacher keeps up with it all.

 

When at school, I'd have thought a boomer child would have expected to be addressed by his surname. I certainly was. What kind of progressive nonsense was going on at your old alma mater?

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