Along with your birth weight, your name is the first piece of information your loving parents impart, on your behalf, to the world. Usually, this piece of precious news is delivered just to your family and their close friends, however, new parents Michael and Karolina Tomaro, have seen their special news bounce around the world. The couple from Sweden, recently hit the headlines worldwide with their court room battle centering on their choice of a name for their daughter Metallica. The state – in the form of Sweden’s National Tax Authority – say that ‘Metallica’ is ‘inappropriate’.

Little Metallica’s parents say that they checked in with the state first, and there was already precedent for the name. Metallica was duly baptized, but then tax officials stepped in. Under Swedish law, both the first name and surname of the child need to win approval from the authorities before being used. The couple declared to reporters; ‘we’re being driven to the frayed ends of sanity’ by the ordeal. (Apparently the band are being supportive - Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich said he would consider calling his next child 'Budgie' by way of protest.)

This is not the first time the Swedish court has had to settle an argument over the naming of the country’s children - the names Ikea and Veranda have also been rejected in the past by the Swedish authority. Many liberals may see the naming of your child as an essential human right. But could it be a human wrong?……….

Back in the day, you could rely on your Grandparents to be the ones to provide you with a name that made you snigger. My Grandfather’s moniker ‘Edgar Horace Rimmer’ gave my brother and I hours of entertainment – and boy did we need it, for with a name like ‘Rimmer’ we knew all about playground ridicule. However, the recent proliferation of ‘Britney’s, ‘Mercedes’ and even a ‘Bently Coupe’ on the national register of names, has taken the sublime to the truly ridiculous, and has led to my quest to find out ‘what’s in a name?’ And why don’t the authorities care? Are we literally branding our children – it’s a hot topic that needs consideration for it would seem that as a nation we have no shame when it comes to names.

A quick trawl through the top ten names for boys and girls reveals little change in respectability over recent years – ‘Jack’ has occupied the top spot for the last 16, but, if you dig deeper – oh my!

My research material has centered on the shiny ‘get a life’ and ‘chat to me and play with my anagrams’ periodicals that proliferate and breed at a rate similar to their average reader. But my bible of choice, is the indispensable ‘Take a Break’. The letters page is pure gold dust, and once, (oh glorious memory) the magazine did a feature on readers names, with a chorus line of dancing Pepsi’s, Candi’s and Crimson’s while the boys were heroically geographical: ‘Indiana’, Leeds and Derby (I kid you not). The pages of this fabled issue are now as thin as rice paper due to over handling.

But what’s in a name? well, your name means everything – it’s who you are, it’s your own personal brand. ‘Metallica’ has her own label for a start! ‘Pepsi’s have a head start on merchandising with their own personal logo – with trade restrictions of course.

Will Bently Coupe and Pepsi be leaders in their fields? And will ‘Metallica’ suffer by association with a 90s rock band obsessed with death metal and ‘sandmen’.

Diana’s and Sarah’s are ‘passive and idealistic’

Is it possible that our characters are shaped by our given names? An extensive trawl of the internet yielded a scientific periodical of sorts ‘Kabalarian’s believe that your name is a mathematical equation – something that will reveal your personality, and will shape who you are.’ Wait a minute, I hear you say, ‘Kabalarians?’ aren’t they that lot that encourages you to drink their branded water costing £5 a bottle, then force you into attending Madonna gigs?

Well, maybe, but no one can deny that their most famous follower has a name that inspires brand loyalty, and it would take a brave man or woman to ridicule ‘Madge’.

The Kabalarian Philosphy teaches us that ‘The quality of one's mind—thoughts, desires, opinions, likes, dislikes, reactions—can be measured by the linking of the most personal form of language, one's name, to mathematics.’
Bingo! (please god that ‘brand’ name ONLY be considered in respect of four legged creatures!)

Maths AND science! I have the proof needed to back up the ‘name and shame’ thesis. And if further proof were needed, the Kabalarians take their brand ideas to pseudo scientific heights; ‘When language is used to attach a name to someone, certain specific forces of conscious intelligence are combined. They constitute the nucleus of mind, from which all thoughts and experiences flow. By representing the conscious forces combined in your name as a mathematical formula, ones' specific mental characteristics, strengths and weaknesses can be measured.’.

There’s even a handy name calculator at And ‘Metallica’ was listed…..

• Although the name Metallica creates an interest in the deeper aspects of life, we emphasize that it limits your versatility and scope, tuning you to technical details.

• You have, also, a flair for creative expression with your hands.

• You take life seriously and can be easily and deeply hurt and go into moods which can be quite extreme at times, causing much turmoil and unhappiness

And despite this sounding every bit as scientific as a horoscope, I was intrigued to learn that Kabalarians believe ; ‘With an understanding of the basic principles of language and mathematics, the characteristics of any name can be calculated to reveal the mind of that person.’ There’s even some fairly accurate postulations: Barbara’s and Glenn’s are traditionally ‘reflective’ characters , while Diana’s and Sarah’s are ‘passive and idealistic’. But what of ‘Metallica’s state of mind, and how will it affect her destiny?
• This name, when combined with the last name, can frustrate happiness, contentment, and success, as well as cause health weaknesses in the heart, lungs, bronchial area, and elimination system
So, it would appear that the kabalarians and the Swedes are on the same page of the name book in their belief in the idea that the name you assign your child has real implications, not just in terms of associated character traits but also in the way your character is perceived by those around you. Should parents have the freedom to call their child whatever takes their fancy?

In the making of this article: no names have been changed to protect the innocents
by Vikki Rimmer