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Tuesday, 12 April 2011

One less Johnny in the world

It's a sad day for Johnnys - or perhaps that should be Johnnies as it's plural - all around the world.

They can now count one less to their name.

On Monday a court in the southern French city of Pau ruled that Johnny Layre could officially change his name - and call himself Karim.

It was all a bit of an uphill struggle though for the 23-year-old.

As you might remember, he had been trying to rid himself of the name, he felt his mother had burdened him with when he was born, for the best part of a year.

She had been - and remains - - a big fan of the French rocker Johnny Hallyday.


Johnny Hallyday (screenshot from YouTube video)

Sadly Karim, as he may now be called in all official documentation and for administrative purposes, didn't feel quite the same; to such an extent that he said it had made it the object of ridicule and teasing from his during his childhood, and something he wanted to be rid of when a teenager.

You can hear the poor fellah in a clip from an interview he gave Europe 1 radio in Marcj.

Layre had his initial request to try get his name changed turned down because he had not supplied "sufficient grounds or documentation to support his application."

That's officialese speak for "get the proper evidence together and we'll consider it."

That's exactly what Layre did, providing sworn declarations from family and friends that he has always been known as Karim - well at least for the past 10 years.

Shucks he even had the backing of his sister Edith, who was on hand after Monday's ruling to tell journalists how much her brother had suffered.

"He hasn't been able to stand his name since he was 14 or 15," she said.

"All his friends called him 'Karim' - even those on Facebook,' she added.

Oh well that's it. The mention of "Facebook" must have swung it second-time-around with the court.

Although the media interest in Layre's case might have surprised both him and his family there is, of course, a more serious side to all of this, as lawyer Joackim Fain, who specialises in handling name changes explained to Europe 1 radio.

"At the moment there's an explosion in the number of people applying to change their names," he said.

"There are a number of reasons; from wanting to integrate better and changing a foreign name by 'Frenchifying' it to religious considerations or simply those cases where people feel the name they've been given makes them the object of ridicule."

But as Karim's lawyer was keen to point out, the court's decision would not "open the flood gates" and it was in no way meant to "stigmatise" other Johnnys of this world (that's a relief).

"These decisions are made ​​on a case by case basis, depending on the situation and experiences of those involved," said Camille Lacaze.

"The testimonies my client's relatives provided have indeed confirmed that he had suffered under his first name," she added.

"The court's decision is excellent news and it'll allow Monsieur Layre to begin a new life."



Anonymous said...

Poor guy! there's a little girl in my daughter's class who's called Shakira. Apparently the father is a fan. I think it's rather selfish of parents not to think of their children when they choose names.

Anonymous said...

Terrific work! This is the type of information that should be shared around the web. Shame on the search engines for not positioning this post higher!

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