What’s in a Name?

There’s been so much hoo-hah about Prince in the media recently.  I was lucky enough to go and see him last week…wow what an amazing live performer. On the weekend, I was reading this one article about him and the legal battles about the use of his name. Remember Love Symbol? When this was happening back in the nineties, I just thought it was another flipped out rock star wanting to get publicity by changing his name.

In hindsight, I don’t think the media got this right. See, the true reasoning for him doing this wasn’t allowed to be written about, due to legal reasons.

In essence, he lost control of using his own name, given to him at birth by his mother. His record company at that time said they owned it. How extraordinary to lose the right of using your own name!

But then, with horror, I realised that this has happened to me too – I also have had to fight for my name.

When starting up my own business, I was told I couldn’t register my own name – given to me by my parents at birth – as my business name. Apparently I had to add other words to it for it to be “legal”. Um, like seriously? Here I was thinking that being born and having a birth certificate was enough!

A quick backgrounder: my surname has caused some problems over the years. In the 80s & 90s, travelling to the UK was a nightmare for me and my family. Unfortunately, a high-ranking member of a terrorist religious group (which I won’t mention due to further “issues”) had the same surname. This resulted in full strip-searches being conducted every single time I entered the UK. I was getting so used to it, I would start to disrobe as I was queuing up for Immigration, ready for the escort to a private room and being looked at as if I was a criminal. If I hadn’t been travelling there for work every six weeks I wouldn’t have worried – but to be honest, it is not a nice thing to have to go through – ever. Especially after a long haul flight and especially when at this time I worked for a 5 star hotel chain and had to escort VIP’s for industry famils. I had to give a little speech to all  my VIP’s before we embarked Business Class advising them that I maybe delayed due to “paperwork”!

It wasn’t until I started working for a high level government department that I was able to find out exactly why this was happening. Yep – previously no explanation was given. We were told to “cop it” or else. It could get worse… much worse.  Thank goodness a contact at the time sorted out this long-standing problem for us all. A mere notation on the records set the story straight.

But then I had the misfortune of having an old-fashioned boss who decided to change my surname when I went on my honeymoon. Horrified on my return to see my payslip in another surname, I had no idea of the ramifications. Back then, if details had been changed, especially with the tax department, I would have to change my name by deed poll… Yes – MY name! The verbal abuse I copped in the workplace for not taking my partner’s name was also horrendous. But that was another era… And, yes, another story.

I like my surname – it’s background is a mixture of French, Irish and English – I wouldn’t give it up for anything, or anyone. I’ve had to fight for it over the years, and to this day I hold it – proudly – as mine. My ancestors I hope are proud!


Bonner  (Old French), and the meaning of Bonner is “gentle, mannerly”.

Another theory by the family is when my ancestors were expelled from France for another religious crusade or somethin, that the original name was along the lines of Bon Vivant– and Anglicised it became Bonner.


About jbmandm

I run a marketing consultancy, I work, I eat, I go out too much. I really love my dog. I'll try not to talk too much about work,,,,or my dog.
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