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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Stonygrangey

You've probably wondered, at some time or another, why I use the name stonygrangey so much. That's fair enough, because it's a rather strange name and it's my username for seemingly everything. Those two facts are in themselves related, because it's good to have a unique username which you can be sure no one else will have. Anyway, there is a story behind the name, one which is funny but also long. I have put off explaining it, fearing I wouldn't do it justice, but I think it's about time I did. 

This story involves two English teachers, a Scottish poet and a mad Indian. And of course me. Some background is necessary before we get into the real story. My secondary school education start at King's College in 2004, where I was in the top year 9 class, 9R1. For English, we had a very interesting teacher named Tony Greaney. He was a rather blokey guy for an English teacher; you don't get too many who coach rugby. He and I never quite saw eye to eye, shall we say. In fact, he had the distinction of being the only teacher to give me a detention, but that is a story for another day.

Flash forward to 2006, and year 11 English. This year we had David Barclay as our teacher, a man renowned for his dry, slow accent, and teaching for that matter. Everything was always 'foreshadowing' something with him and it became almost a catch phrase. Alongside me in this class was my good friend Avi Singh. Avi is a cricket nut, and has a very generous sense of humour. We became good friends in 2005 and certainly shared some funny moments in and out of the classroom. By this stage we were thick as thieves and would do our best to liven up the otherwise dull class. It is in this setting that this story takes place. 

Only Now Do I Find The Title Dodgy
For our IGCSE English syllabus, we were blessed with a wonderful compilation of poems, entitled 'Touched With Fire.' I'm being sarcastic, if you couldn't pick that up. I'm not a big fan of poetry, especially not anthologies, because you know that whatever happens, half of them will be rubbish. Anyway, one poem in particular from that anthology features in this story. Scottish poet Edwin Muir wrote the poem 'Horses' near the turn of the 20th century. It is not to be confused with his other poem entitled 'The Horses;' he obviously had a thing for them. This poem opens with the following stanza: 

Those lumbering horses in the steady plough, 
On the bare field - I wonder, why, just now, 
They seemed terrible, so wild and strange, 
Like magic power on the stony grange.

Perhaps you're starting to see the picture. Avi was quick to see the connection between the words 'stony grange' and Tony Greaney. This highly amused both of us, since memories of that class and teacher were normally amusing. I quickly added a y to the end of the line, and stony grangey was born. Avi then added his own annotation, which reads:

pun, foreshadows future life as Tony Greaney
an english teacher at King's College...
  
The Birth Of Stonygrangey!

This greatly amused both of us for quite a while, which helped pass the time in the lull that was English. Another period saw us renaming players from the Sri Lankan cricket team as characters from MacBeth, resulting in such monstrosities as 'Malinga Banquodara.' Avi also coined the name fatzmacduff, a combination of MacDuff and his nickname for me, variations on 'fatty.' His other nicknames for me included Inzamam and fatty potato, based on my previously large girth, and of course the legendary Gubbins.

Very Embarrassing...
As it turned out, the name stonygrangey seemed to stick with me and eventually I began to use it for usernames, emails and the like. It isn't the best one, because people have problems spelling it, but then again, some people seem to have problems spelling 'Benjamin.' Actually, as I now recall, on that very copy of 'Touched With Fire' I managed to spell my own name wrong. Yes, I wrote 'Benjiman' rather absent-mindedly, before realising and making a horrible mess trying to cover all traces of the embarrassing mistake. To make matters worse, the cover was yellow so it couldn't be twinked. I put it down to the fact that people were calling me 'benji' a lot at school, a name popular after Benji Marshall's premiership winning NRL season in 2005. 

On the subject of names and pseudonyms, I once submitted a French essay under the name of 'Monsieur Chatouilles.' Those of you familiar with 'Mr Men' will know Mr Tickle and his outrageously long orange arms; however, you may not know that he has a French counterpart- Monsieur Chatouilles, or Mr Tickles. Having discovered a French book with him on the cover, I thought it would be all too clever to use the name for my essay. My teacher knew that it was me of course; I had once submitted an essay with the word count written as a quadratic equation just to annoy him! On a related point, I am all too familiar with the Mr Men and Little Miss characters, because there is a poster of them on the roof at my orthodontist, and I have spent many hours staring at them. 

Asides aside, that is a general history of pseudonyms and nicknames; now you know why stonygrangey appears on basically everything I do. Having written this story, it doesn't seem nearly as funny as it did at the time, but that's life I guess. As it happens, the name has stuck with me for most likely the rest of my life! So there you go!

5 comments:

  1. haha fatzmacduff and Malinga Banquodara- I had forgotten all of this!

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  2. II think I've still got some of the pieces of paper with all these random things we wrote in English haha oh and Maths in our goode bookes!

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  3. Interesting that you should refer to your rugby coach as 'blokey'. When I was at school, our games master addressed the keen rugger players as "chaps", but people like me who habitually skived off rugby he always addressed as "blokes". I asked him about it years later and it turns out he didn't realize he was doing it. Everyone else did.

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  4. Ah yes well in New Zealand, Rugby is a very manly, blokey pursuit, so to speak. It's for the big, tough guys and not really for the bright ones. Interesting to see the different perspectives! I can just imagine your teacher though, it sounds hilarious!

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