And we all thought that it was necessity that spawned invention? Maybe it should be austerity...
The number of people changing their names by deed poll is up 500% on 2011, which was itself a record year. Nearly all the increase is due to one money-saving tip that’s gone viral. Car owners have been swarming to change their names to get the kudos that you get owning a car with a personalised registration, at a bargain price. Registrars at county offices are rushed off their feet, and agencies that organise it all for you have never had it so good. It can cost as little as £33.
With car registrations fetching upwards of £35,000 for something easily readable, like “MAR71N”, it’s clear that it makes good sense in these straitened times. There’s not much to be had for £1000 or less that looks anything like a real name, unless you have dyslexic Welsh parents.
So, it’s goodbye Scott, hello Kitreg (K17 REG). Hello, I’d like to introduce my wife, Teasarg, (T345 ARG). But unless you are very creative, there’s nothing that would pass for an offensive word. An office deep inside the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency in Swansea takes care of that, suppressing anything that could be interpreted as anything foul that they’ve heard of, or found on urbandictionary.com.
You’re not allowed to have digits in a UK registered name, but the usual, sometimes tortured, rules apply to these cheap ‘plates as they do for the classic, cherished ones. So, read A for 4, and S for 5, but also H for 11 (or U), and E for 3 and so on. And a carefully placed black screw can help turn a 7 into T, or a 1 into L
Maybe this is something we’re all going to get used to, and just a small step on from the change seen in primary classrooms, where no-one now answers to Brian or Robert, Julie or Jane.
Step over, Lord Sugar, with AMS 1 on your £250,000 Rolls Royce, and wave through young Alsimag playing dubstep far too loud in his 2002 Citroen Saxo.