Monday, 26 September 2011


"Why are you called 'Kid'?  Is it because you act like one?"

If I had a pound for every time I've been asked that, I'd have -
well, I'd have a pound actually, so I don't suppose there's really much
interest in the topic.  However, I have to fill this blog with something,
so - assuming you'll bear with me in yet another act of shameless self-
indulgence - I shall address the issue in the forlorn hope that any-
body even remotely cares.

There was a period during my teenage years when I
called everyone 'kid'.  It was short, snappy, and it meant never having
to worry about remembering people's names.  One day, I ran into a pal of
mine in the company of a group of his friends.  Anticipating my familiar,
well-worn greeting, he thought he'd get in first in a daring act of mockery
at my little peccadillo.  (Feel free to supply your own amusing rejoinder
to that last sentence.)  "Hi Kid!", he said with a cheeky grin upon his
smug countenance, immensely satisfied with himself for - in his
mind - 'beating me to the punch'.

His mates were unaware of
his intended 'irony' however,
and merely assumed it to be
my nickname.  But ours is a
drama  decreed by the fates
to be acted out...  (always
loved that line by LARRY
LIEBER);  I subsequently
became friendly with that
little group, who - in their
innocence - always referred
to me by that appellation.
And so the name stuck and
I've been known as 'Kid'
ever since.

But whence came the habit
which led to me effectively christening myself?  Why did I call people 'kid'
to begin with?  I'm glad I pretended you asked.  Back in the early '70s, there
was a brilliant comedy series called WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE
as they had alternating billing from week to week, if you re-read that last
sentence, reverse the order of their names so that I don't hear from
their agents or solicitors.

Although the programme was a comedy, it also had pathos, poignancy
and profundity - otherwise known as the three Ps.  During the course of
their frequent nostalgia-laden soliloquies, the characters often addressed
each other as 'kid' or 'kidda'.  In my devotion to the programme and my desire
to emulate my heroes, I adopted the practice of referring to everyone I knew
(and some I didn't) as 'kidda', which resulted in some puzzled looks.  You see,
the words 'kidda' and 'kidder' sound pretty similar when pronounced with a
lazy Glaswegian accent, and this made folks think I was accusing them of
pulling my leg in some way.

"Kidder?", they would say
(likewise pronouncing it as
'kidda') - "Kidding about what?"
Well, it didn't take me long to
realize that adopting the shorter
alternative option -'kid' - would
avoid any unnecessary confusion
amongst my sturdy band of com-
panions and free me from having
to endlessly explain myself.

It could have been worse.  I
had once been in the habit of
exclaiming "Jings, man!" in
response to anything of even
a vaguely interesting or sur-
prising nature.  This inevitably
led to friends and acquaintances calling me 'Jings-Man' every time I
appeared on the horizon.  Luckily, I soon dropped the use of this 'oath'
(doubtless acquired from reading too many BROONS and OOR WULLIE
strips in THE SUNDAY POST) and thus escaped any long-term association
with the term which could have resulted in lasting damage to my delicate
sensibilities.  I much prefer being called 'Kid' - or 'Sir', even.  (In fact, now
that I come to think about it, 'Master' is good as well.)

And there you have it!  The hitherto secret origin of how I gained my
teenage nickname which has remained with me to this day.  And you also
have an object lesson in the art of writing something about nothing - but
you should only ever do so if your very life depends on it, so I have
absolutely no excuse.


Martin said...

I read that James Bolam and Rodney Bewes had a bitter 'falling out' after Bewes betrayed a confidence. I wonder what they were calling each other, privately, after that?

Kid said...

Rodney denied for years that such a thing had happened, but finally admitted it in his autobiography. Apparently, Rodney may have let slip in an unguarded moment that James Bolam's wife was expecting, and, when it was duly reported in the papers, Bolam wasn't too happy.

Bewes was the one who had to do all the publicity for the programme because Bolam didn't want to know. In fact, he's not even even sure whether, in his anxious desire to say something during an interview, he even mentioned the rather innocuous snippet.

However, in conceding the possibility that, with a few glasses of wine under his belt, he MAY have inadvertently mentioned it, James Bolam hung up the 'phone on him and never spoke to him again.

Shame, eh?

Martin said...

A shame, indeed. I wonder if they're still at odds, even after all these years?

Kid said...

I imagine so. Bewes' autobiography is only a few years old - and Bolam seems an uncompromising sort.

baab said...

radio 4 extra are currently running 'the likely lads' radio series and i must admit it is pretty good and instantly transports you to the a good way,'kid'.

its only on digital i presume,If you dont have a digital radio,I cant recommend it enough.

Kid said...

I haven't had a chance to listen to them recently, but I heard a few of them back in the '70s, and again last year on Radio 7 (I think), which is now Radio 4 Extra.
I've also got the complete DVD collection, plus the movie.

Thanks for commenting.

John Pitt said...

And all this time I thought it was because you , like myself (and Peter Pan) have never grown up! Incidentally I heard that the Likely Lads' fall our was because the confidence betrayed was what actually happened to Terry's leg, as he didn't like to talk about it!

Kid said...

There actually IS an earlier Peter Pan connection which makes my nickname extremely "apt 'though but" (as Terry would say) - remind me to tell it sometime.