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Thursday, 31 March 2011

How hard is it to be called Johnny?

Apparently it's incredibly difficult for Johnny Layre from the French city of Pau which sits on the northern edge of the Pyrénées.

So much so that he says it's ruining his life and he wants to change it.

Now before you scoff in incomprehension at what appears to be a completely reasonable first name, consider the plight of the poor man.

He was named after that "singing icon" of the French-speaking world, the ageing rocker Johnny Hallyday.

French rocker Johnny Hallyday (screenshot from YouTube video)

Maybe not everyone's cup of tea, but Layre's mother was reportedly a huge fan and "lumbered" her son with the apparently unfortunate name: one which the 23-year-old carpenter says has made him the object of teasing and mockery since his early childhood.

"I'm fed up with the constant fun being poked at me because of my name or being asked 'Johnny as in Hallyday'," he told the regional daily Sud Ouest.

Layre wants to drop his first name altogether and remove it from all official documents, replacing it with his second name "Karim".

He has already tried once but was turned down by a court in Pau last May because he had, "not sufficient grounds or documentation to support his application."

The problem is that in France, as is the case in many countries, the law makes it especially difficult for a person to change their first name.

"It's not enough for someone to say that they are the object of ridicule, it has to be proven and the change of name justified," Christine Lamothe, a judge at the family division of the high court in Pau, told paper.

"There's a law in place to prevent someone from acting on a whim or a mood change," she said.

"If someone wants to change their name then they have to come up with grounds for wanting to do so and back it up with testimony from relatives."

Layre has appealed the court's first ruling, provided sworn declarations that he has always been known among family and friends as "Karim" and is waiting for a decision, expected on April 11.

Just as well that Carson, Cash, Depp, Mathis, Wilkinson and others didn't have the same problem.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I bought his latest album. What a disappointment, the lyrics are so uninspiring, I'm surprised a talented guy like M (who wrote the music) allowed such poor lyrics to accompany his music - and obviously Johny just sings what he's given. Some people don't know when to stop!

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