I’m not sure how to post this in a way that’s not awkward, so here it is: as of last week, I have legally changed my name to “Alex Bayley”.
The recent Google+ names debacle was the catalyst, but not the underlying reason, for this change. When Google insisted that I use my previous wallet name, “Kirrily Robert”, on its services, it made me realise how much I didn’t want to. I’m not strongly attached to “Kirrily” as a name. Among other problems, it’s hard to spell, hard to pronounce, and an all-round nuisance when working internationally and in the public sphere as I do. And more importantly, I don’t feel like it’s me — whatever that means.
Throughout my life I’ve chosen and used a variety of other names, of which Skud is the best known and longest lasting. In relation to Google+, a lot of people asked me, “Why don’t you just change your legal name to Skud?” The problem is, Skud isn’t an easy name to use offline. Like Kirrily, it needs to be repeated and spelled and explained each time I use it, and there are many offline circumstances where I simply wouldn’t be comfortable using it. Even online, I’ve come to realise that being legally mononymous can be rather fraught (just ask Sai or Stilgherrian). So, “Skud” is not the solution.
As I worked through this problem, I realised that my return to Australia, going back to school, and picking up a new career would mean introducing myself to hundreds of new people. I didn’t want to introduce myself as “Kirrily”, nor as “Skud”. The whole situation started to get me down, until I realised that I could choose something else to appear on my legal paperwork, school enrolment, and so forth, while keeping “Skud” as my name online and in the tech community.
To cut a long story short, for a range of reasons I chose the name “Alex” as my new given name. As there are already a range of Alex or Alec Robert or Roberts in the music and technology industries, I switched my surname to Bayley, a name belonging to an uncle, aunt, and cousins to whom I’m quite close. And, just for good measure, “Skud” is now my legal middle name. I figured it might come in handy.
I expect that most of my friends will continue to call me “Skud”, so it should be business as usual for many/most of you. Almost all my online contact details remain the same, however if for some reason you have my old gmail address you should know that I’m retiring it; please use firstname.lastname@example.org instead (should work fine for sharing docs, chat, etc). When meeting me face to face, please feel free to call me either Skud or Alex, not Kirrily.
Addendum for those who are interested: to change your name legally in the state of Victoria, Australia, where I was born and now reside, you simply submit a form and payment to the Registry of Births, Deaths, and Marriages. You are issued with an amended birth certificate showing your name change within 20 working days, or 5 working days if you pay the priority processing fee (which I did).