Will Ali G Be the Reason Staines Changes Its Name?

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Ali G

Mick Hutson/Redferns

And you thought Ali G was sooo last decade. His legacy lives on.

Before there was Borat and Brüno, the British comedian Sasha Baron Cohen burst onto the comedic scene with his wannabe gangsta, Ali G, who did a natty line in malapropisms. He came from Staines, a not exactly remarkable part of southern England, located near Heathrow Airport, reservoirs and a industrial park. And while it’s believed that the town of 45,000 people initially welcomed the burst of publicity, the British TV show (which aired on HBO) claimed Staines’ main attractions were a traffic circle and the local KFC. Hardly a surprise, then, that it’s now contemplating a name change. (See pictures of Sacha Baron Cohen’s outrageous Brüno promotions.)

Business leader Alex Tribick told the AP that he thinks it should be known as either Staines-on-Thames or Staines-upon-Thames. This would play up its proximity to the River Thames, he believes, as well as being a timely move with the London Olympics less than two years away. (See more on the London Olympics.)

But will that really solve the problem? Both of those suggestions may still make one snigger and it would also be a logistical nightmare because you’d need to alter existing maps, street signs and various other documents. Coming so soon after the massive (to use a term favored by Ali G) government cutbacks, this might not be the best use of council money. Anne Damerell of the Staines Town Society went one further, calling it “pretentious nonsense.”

As always, though, there are some who have it even worse in the U.K.: you could live in places such as Slack Bottom, Shitterton or Butt Hole Lane.

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