So, the Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre are planning to put a show on at the Edinburgh Fringe this year, their fourth in a row. What should they call it?
The first year was easy, the name of the show was the name of the act (hereinafter abbreviated to SFSPT).
Year two I thought it was obvious, simple and clever to call the show The Return Of The SFSPT - but that was not ideal. Because that show title, beginning with an R instead of an S, ended up listed in different places on different websites and in different bits of programmes (Chortle, for example, grouped us with the comedy acts whose names began with an R).
So for year three I went with the formula we have to stick with, SFSPT followed by additional bit of title. For year 3 it was SFSPT Goes To Hollywood, and that gave us a theme.
This year I am toying with ideas based around the Socks coming up with a kids show, but is this title too tricksy: "The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre's Kids Show (Not Suitable For Children)". Might that do us more harm than good? Might we get kids coming along, only to be told it's for over 12s only? Or might we end up with a show that's actually perfectly suitable for kids, and be criticised for not being grown up enough? Ooh I'm torn.
This reminds me of the dilemma our band got into at school, a situation most bands will have experienced. We'd gone through a selection of cheesy teenage rock band names, each lasting the length of one gig. We'd been Mercury, we'd been Rio, and for the longest time we'd been Walter Tottle & The Expanding Liberals With A Member of The Royal Family The Corgis & A Shaggy Dog With Special Guest Star Gertrude Gruntingthuttock (see us here:
That name was never going to get us on Top Of The Pops, so we needed a better name. Each of the 5 members of the band went away and wrote down some names to choose from. But each of us got carried away and came back with around 200 names. That meant we were confronted with a list of a thousand names.
And no band name stands up to that much scrutiny. Start ploughing through a list of a thousand and it is a blur of nonsense. If they'd spent more than a minute considering their names, would bands have ended up settling for names like The Beatles (a cheesy pun), Oasis (a name we'd genuinely rejected in favour of Rio 10 years before the Gallaghers used it), U2, REM, Arctic Monkeys? But once you've opted for them, and the audience have got over their first acceptance of them, they never think about them again. (With the exception of Dogs Die In Hot Cars and Get Cape Wear Cape Fly which remain two of earth's most hopelessly unwieldy band names). The Hopelessly Unwieldy - good name for a band.
Which brings us back to the Socks 2010 show. Does it matter what we call it? Should I open the floor to our army of Socks fans to come up with a name? Yeah, why not. Worth a punt, for the day. I don't promise to use them, but come one come all, suggest a title for the Socks show, surprise me. Add it as Facebook comment, or Twitter with hashtag #SFSPT
PS: By the way, our band ended up calling itself Private Party. Out of 1000 suggestions we chose Private Party. The single worst name you could have for a fledgling rock band. A fledgling rock band whose gigs take place in rooms above pubs. Rooms above pubs where, if you stick up a sign reading "Upstairs: Private Party" no-one will come. Because they think it's a private... we didn't last long after that.
Bring on those titles.