' Cinema Romantico: Power Ranking This Is Spinal Tap Names

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Power Ranking This Is Spinal Tap Names

“What's in a name?” wondered one Romeo Montague so many centuries ago. “That which we call a rose / by any other name would smell as sweet.” Eh, would it? I don’t mean to quibble there, Romeo, though I guess I do, because you mean to tell me that if you changed the word “rose” to, say, gillnet, that it would still smell as sweet? Yeah, I don't think so. This, I suspect, is proven most emphatically by the famed 1984 helmed mockumentary “This Is Spinal Tap.” That Rob Reiner film is chock full of striking names. These names are so striking that to dismiss them by wondering “What's in a name?” is identification blasphemy. Them who we call...well, I can’t spoil it, can I? Nah. Let’s count ’em down.


The Ten Best Names in This Is Spinal Tap

10. Derek Smalls. This is a good place to begin because it is evocative of how “This Is Spinal Tap” comes up with solid names – gotta love that “s” concluding a singular name – even when the names do not possess wackadoo chutzpah.

9. Lt. Bob Hookstratten. Wackadoo chutzpah like this name, for instance, a surname that sonically possesses a certain blustery quality that Fred Willard was born to embody.

8. Ronnie Pudding. Who doesn’t wish their last name was Pudding?!

7. Ian Faith. A name too good to be true, it fits just right for a band manager who is espousing something like false conviction.

6. Artie Fufkin. I cannot imagine a better name for a hapless promotions rep. There is something about the way it pops – FUF-kin – that makes you think you’re dealing with a guy who is not merely out of his element but never actually even in it.

5. David St. Hubbins. The surname seems to have been an ode to Derek St. Holmes, sideman for Ted Nugent, a gig that made me consider dropping St. Hubbins behind Artie Fufkin. Then again, I genuinely like any name with a St. prefix, and I really like it for St. Hubbins because it lends a phony regality that every frontman worth his ego should wholly believe in.

4. Nigel Tufnel. Like Derek Smalls, it fails to catch the eye in that same Whoa There way as St. Hubbins. Yet it nevertheless has that sort of plausible Robert Fripp-ish ring without existing as an homage.

3. Sir Denis Eton-Hogg. This, as my girlfriend likes to say, is the quintessential British name, especially because it leads with a “Sir”.

2. Bobbi Flekman. It’s perfect. It’s a perfect name. But it is not, mind you, an aptronym. It is not Usain Bolt or William Wordsworth or Amy Freeze, the meteorologist. No, like Burt Reynolds is absolutely a Burt, or like John Kruk is definitely a John Kruk, or like Kate Middleton is irrefutably a Catherine Elizabeth Middleton, there can be no doubt that Fran Drescher is a Bobbi Flekman.


1. Marty DiBergi. Are there “better” names in “Spinal Tap”? Maybe. But Marty DiBergi is the moniker that ties the whole movie together.

1 comment:

Jessica said...

Let's not forget John "Stumpy" Pepys.