Calling the register in some schools these days sounds more like the Top 30 chart countdown: "Beyonce, Dido, Robbie, Madonna? Where's Puff Daddy this morning? Dentist again?" Okay, I lied about the last one, but you know what I mean. Forget the glitterati. Nowadays any young Tom, Dick or Harry can have a superstar handle.
Teachers, on the other hand, generally have boring, traditional names because we're all named after our uncles or grannies. During the progressive '60s, even the trendiest teenybopper parents were more likely to err on the side of caution and call their firstborn John, Paul or George, rather than Ringo. Which probably explains why little Britney in Year 1 today isn't being taught by a fortysomething Elvis, Dusty or Lulu.
Sadly, superstar names have a shelf-life that's likely to outlast the average showbiz career. So by the time little Britney reaches high school, her famous namesake may well be long forgotten (just ask any teenage Chesney or Tiffany if anyone can remember where their names came from). In a few more years, perhaps people will assume Britney was named after her granny. In generations to come, Britney's grandaughter may well be named after her granny, and so an old tradition may be revived and family nostalgia may become the new black once more.
But in the meantime, Boyzone fans continue to produce mini Ronans, and our primary classrooms are bulging with little Shanias and Kylies. Following Westlife's recent regurgitation of the old Barry Manilow song, key stage 1 teachers should brace themselves for a bumper crop of Mandys in a few years' time (but whether that'll be Mandy with a "y" or an "i" with a little circle on top, remains to be seen). Talking of spelling - the wackier the better, to keep us on our toes. The next school intake of Kims is likely to be registered as "Kym" (as in HearSay's Kym Marsh), while the sons of Jacko fans are already appearing on admission lists as "Jaxon".
What does this reveal about their parents? Boho, pretentious or just so not good at spelling?
Call me cutting edge, but I can't help being inspired by this trend of naming offspring after your idols. I've even informed hubby that if tiny feet ever patter on our laminate flooring, they'll belong to our own little Bjorn, Benny, Frida or Agnetha (correctly spelt, of course). Looks like we'll be staying happily childfree, then.