Wednesday, 30 October 2013

MCs of distinction - what's in a name?

The servers from St Darryl's
Picture: Men are Like Wine Blog

As used to be the custom in Wales, many tradespeople and solicitors and the like were known, in a rather droll manner, by giving them a nick-name, a soubriquet, if you will.

So, Mr Jones the Butcher might be called "Jones the Steak" or the milkman, "Evans the gold top".

It was and possibly still is a rather inoffensive and amusing custom.

Eons ago when we first moved to Wales our local GP was a Dr David *****.

This poor man had built up rather a reputation for, how can I put this kindly?.....

....losing his patients. In fact, after his ministrations, many of them just keeled over and died.

Hence he was known as "Dai the Death" (and, for my reader from Baluchistan, let me explain that "Dai" is the diminutive for the name "David" in Welsh).

In a sense, this has applied to altar servers I have known over the ages - even in England.

At my parish of St Michael's & St Martin's, in Hounslow back in the 50s we had a couple of MCs who had extra names attached.

One, in particular moved about the sanctuary at something approaching the speed of sound and, when cornering, did not slow down but merely adopted an angle of 30 degrees.
For this he was dubbed (in accord with the times) Eddie "Spitfire" Molloy.

His colleague, who was balding and had an exaggeratedly saintly appearance on the sanctuary (hands together as per norm but head on one side and a far away look in his eyes), was dubbed "St Anthony" because, indeed, the statue of the saint at the back of the Church could, at a quick glance, be mistaken for the MC who shall be nameless.

In the 1990s I came across another MC who carried the soubriquet of "Scud".
This was based on the fact that you never knew where he would land or how much damage he would do.

It would be amusing, thinks I, if we collated other nicknames of servers through the ages, or, maybe, even make up one or two for MCs you are acquainted with.

A few that I have noticed in the London area might be worthy of attention.

You know, the ones that look as if they drink a pint of embalming fluid every night before bed.

Who are they? I could not possibly say. Christian charity does not allow.


  1. I think I've met the one on the right.

  2. The alter servers above should be wearing white polyester albs, and at least four should be buxom wenches.

  3. Richard,
    The one in the middle is most definitively my pious self: fat, gross and ugly at least that what I see these days when I look in my Geordie mirror!



  4. Michael, you need a Welsh mirror, then you would look young, slim and handsome....just like me!

  5. Richard,
    Maybe it's The Rev James' beer that is keeping you looking, young, slim and handsome! I will have to stop partaking of The O Be Joyful-''Newci'Brown"-what a penance!