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A Jones by any other name would be a Smith

"Are you," the woman behind the counter asked, "the Stephen Jones?" At the time, she was holding my life, otherwise known as my credit card, in her hands, and was studying the details with more than usual interest.

"That," I replied, "is a difficult question." I grabbed my card back and prepared for a dignified exit. "My mother thought I was."

The truth is that I wasn't ready for her enquiry. Being a Jonesy prepares you only for a life of anonymity. You've hardly stammered out your first "gimme" when you realise there are a lot more around just like you.

But then, of course, it could be worse, as all the Burkes, Pratts, Smellies and Bottoms will testify. I remember once standing in a queue at the chemists, while the pharmacy assistants called out each prescription in turn. When "Worm" came loud and clear over the tannoy, we all turned to watch the hapless invertebrate wriggle forward to claim his potion.

So who is he, then, the real Stephen Jones? Since that encounter across the cash register, I have gradually become aware of not one, but a whole tribe of candidates.

There are, for instance, two prominent Stephen Joneses involved in professional rugby. One writes about it for the Sunday Times, but the one who does it is apparently a star player (if that's not a contradiction in terms) for the Welsh rugby team.

The analogy here is obvious: rugby involves kicking balls for a living, while making a living in FE means getting your balls kicked all the time.

Which brings us neatly on to kicking arse, or should I say ass, because the next Stephen Jones is an American (Stephen E Jones if you really want to know). Stephen E kicks ass for Jesus, or more specifically "God's Kingdom Ministries", which you can be sure is considered one and the same by the faithful.

From far away across the water, my US doppelgAnger peddles his spiritual wares to all who care to download them from his colourful website. The FE link here is almost too horrible to contemplate. Among the uplifting "messages" this particular God squad want you to hear are five entitled "The Restoration of all Things" - surely as clear a sign as you could want, that after his years in the wilderness of north London's restaurantland, Roger Ward is ready to stage a comeback at the Association of Colleges.

Lest you should have any doubt about the likelihood of this diabolical visitation, you need only to peruse another of Stephen E's audio uplifts:

"The Law of the Manchild"!

Where to next in our search? Where else, if we are thinking FE, than to the murky half-world of Jones the Terror, that is the Stephen Jones who has produced more than 60 books on horror and fantasy.

Clearly this is a Jonesy who likes to think big. Among those dozens of horrific titles we find the Mammoth Book of Vampires (plenty of demand for blood in FE) and the Mammoth Book of Werewolves (teaching NVQ Foundation used to drive me loopy, but I'm all right NoooooooooW!).

The real clincher as far as his FE credentials are concerned is yet another jumbo compendium - this time the Mammoth Book of Zombies. Obviously, this Jones has sat on an academic board or two in his time.

Despite this plethora of candidates, however, I'm still not convinced that I have found the Stephen Jones.

For this, we need to turn to the pale imitations. I refer of course to the Steves, and to one Steve in particular. You might have spotted him recently advertising cars on television, although he's not a male model (interestingly there is yet another Stephen Jones involved in that profession, but that's another story).

This one - the one - has a day job as a renowned biologist, geneticist and evolutionist. He has recently caused something of a scientific stir by suggesting that the evolution of us humans may have come to an end because we no longer practise the survival of the fittest.

Steve's particular specialism is snails: their life, loves and reproductive capabilities. Snails, as any gardener will tell you, are voracious creatures that crawl across the surface of the earth leaving a trail of slime in their wake.

And if you can't spot the FE connection there, then you clearly haven't been Ofsteded yet!

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