I don't know if it's a blessing because Starbucks now comes with my name generally correctly spelled on the cup, but lately it's been impossible to avoid comparisons to Adele - that singer whose domain name I should have bought 10 years ago and sold back to her at an exorbitant price.
My name wasn't even supposed to be Adele. It was supposed to be Katie (or maybe Emma, but mum decided that "Emma Major" sounded weird, so that was scratched off the list, along with Morris if I was a boy - although Dad assures me he would never have allowed his son or daughter to be called Morris Major, no matter what. Thank you Dad!).
But being born very early, Mum apparently didn't want to risk her favourite name on a baby who was probably going to die, so she called me Adele -- after Adele Koh, the Malaysian-born journalist who married an Australian politician and sadly died before I was born. From what I can tell, Ms Koh was a "firebrand" who wore mini-skirts, was very outspoken about the Australian media, and was not afraid to get kicked out of countries, so I think she was pretty spot on as a role model. (This does not, however, explain why my little sister is not called Katie either.)
Anyway, I was the kid who was always disappointed at museum visitor centres when there was never a little customized numberplate or keytag or snowglobe with my name on it. I was the kid who decided to change her name to Sarah or Sasha or Isabelle every week and refuse to answer unless my parents addressed me as such. I was the kid whose cousins all had normal names like Ryan or Meghan or Lisa, and felt the destiny of black sheepdom upon me. I was the kid whose name autocorrected to "Ideal". I felt like the only Adele in the world, and in fact, the name "Adele" has declined spectacularly and continuously in popularity since its peak in the golden year of 1915.
So, having suffered through 30-something years of being called "Adellie", "A-del", "Adela", "Idel, "Adel - oh that's my male Egyptian cousin's name!" and even, once, "Dalmation" when I attempted to order a pizza in Amsterdam, suddenly now all I get is disappointment that I am not in fact the singer, as if there IS actually only room for one Adele in this world. (Incidentially, now I know how my unfortunately-named friend Nick Jonas feels. I guess at least I am not subjected to the same level of obsessive teenage stalking as he is.)
The best is, once I tried to pretend that I actually was THE Adele. Admittedly, this was accidental, since at the time I was convinced that I *was* the only Adele in the world, unlike now when clearly there are at least two. I was in London and attending a BBC event, the launch of Season 2 of that show Heroes (which, like everything which probably should have been left safely in the 90s and 2000s, is apparently back now). Upon arriving at the press desk, I saw the name ADELE added hastily to the bottom of the guest list. "Oh, that will be me," I said confidently, handing over my BBC employee badge. "It's not you," said the man behind the desk. Indignantly, I replied "I think you'll find that it is," in my iciest voice, and after having this argument for a good 20 minutes I forced him to call the BBC and right this terrible injustice. "Hello!" I yelled (maybe that's where she got the inspiration for her latest single...) "Why does she only have one name? How do you KNOW it's not me?" To my horror, It turned out that my boss had forgotten to add me to the list, so after a bit of wrangling I got in on my own credentials. However I couldn't work out who this mysterious OTHER Adele was. Why the hell did she only have one name? Who did she think she was, Madonna? (Incidentally, I don't think I was the first choice for BBC press conferences after that. It might also be because the creators of Doctor Who once told me in front of an audience of 300 that they would have liked to cast Hitler. But that's another story.).
It was several years before I discovered the unavoidable truth as to who this "Adele" was. Now, if I call a customer service line, I get told I have a "superstar" name. If I go to the pharmacy I am told that they can "only hear music whenever I call". If I go to Starbucks, I inevitably get the response "Oh, Adele, like the singer?" and then my name is scrawled on my cup as "Adelle" or "Adel". (That's impressive, because it's about as accurate as Starbucks gets.)
I have learnt one lesson though - just because we share the same name, does not mean I should perform her songs at karaoke. Last time I tried that I couldn't talk for three days. But I guess it could be worse - I could be Britney, or Miley, or Nick Jonas. (Interestingly, by the way, Adele is still a VERY unpopular baby name - even LESS unpopular than Isis - #764 and #704 in the US respectively. If that doesn't say something I don't know what does. Emma is, of course, still #1. You backed the wrong horse there Mum!)
So, if I have to have a famous namesake, I'm glad it's someone whose music is at least respected, is familiar with heartbreak, is not afraid to be herself, and clearly knows her way around an East London pub. So maybe Adele herself is a pretty good role model after all. I just wish I'd bought that damn domain name.