Monday, 28 November 2011

Fenton the dog. Or Benton the dog.

A video has gone viral of a dog chasing some deer in Richmond Park in London. It's quite funny, I suppose, though it's odd the things that catch people's attention.

Anyway, everyone thought the dog was called Benton, which is I suppose a reasonable enough name for a dog, to call him after Eriq LaSalle's character in ER. My goldfish is called Steve, named after Miles Davis. But it turns out that the dog is called Fenton, perhaps named after Alvin Stardust.*

That reminded me of the McGurk effect, which is an amazing illusion that illustrates just how bad we are at hearing stuff right when our eyes tell us different. Watch this clip from BBC's Horizon: Is Seeing Believing? (from earlier this year, I think). It illustrates it quite nicely.

Weird, isn't it? Maybe the dog didn't come back when he was called because he heard Benton as well.

*OK, that got a bit surreal there for a moment. So, my goldfish is called Steve. We did have two, called Miles and Davis. Miles went to the big fishbowl in the sky, and we felt we really couldn't be left with a fish called Davis. So we started calling him Steve, as in Steve Davis.

The Alvin Stardust/Fenton thing is an interesting story. The man later known as Alvin Stardust had hits in the 60s as Shane Fenton (and the Fentones). However, that's not his real name either. He was born Bernard Jewry, and was hanging about with a band, Shane Fenton and the Fentones, who were waiting to hear back about a demo tape they'd sent to the BBC. But then the original Shane Fenton (also not his real name) died, aged 17. The band were going to break up until suddenly they got the call from the BBC they'd been waiting for. Fenton's mother asked them to continue, in memory of her son, and Jewry became the new Shane Fenton. Apparently Fenton had chosen the name because it sounded 'American' and therefore (at that time) cool.

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