All Your Petes Are Belong to Us

February 4th, 2006 by Larry Smith

Same name! Same name! Same name! The silly beauty of people meeting other people with the same name rocks. Way back when I was hanging around and I guess writing and editing for Might magazine, one of my favorite pieces we published was about a guy who organized a bunch of Phil Campbells to meet him in Phil Campbell, Alabama. The piece, “Phil Campbell? Phil Campbell. Welcome to Phil Campbell,” still makes me laugh out loud, and starts Might’s compilation Shiny Adidas Tracksuits and the Death of Camp). My friend Bill Keller, who goes by the name BillySirr, once called current NYT top dog Bill Keller in South Africa back when he was a bureau chief there (computer guru Keller recalls newspaper Keller didn’t have much of a reaction to the news that there was another Bill Keller on the line), and, let’s face it, it’s always a little trippy when you meet someone with both your first and last name. Now comes news that an English bloke named Pete is going for the world’s name gathering record of some sort. He explains on his site, the Pete Collective.

In 2004 some friends bet that I couldn’t get a bunch of other people called Peter to meet up with me at the same time in the same place. Inspired by the challenge and discovering that there have been gatherings of Marias in Spain and Mohammeds in Dubai, I decided to up the stakes & go for the world record. I set up this plutonium fuelled website to entrap my namesakes and get them to pledge allegiance to meet me on 10th June 2006 in London & ‘Give Pete a chance’. I need 2000 of you on board to meet me in one place, at the same time. Simple.

Simple, pointless, and possibly divine dive into the randomness of names, or: the thing we call ourselves because someone else decided to call us that first.

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