Voices: The Top 10 rhyming hometown-based nicknames

The Muscles from Brussels, of course  (Getty)
The Muscles from Brussels, of course (Getty)

This list started when I did Top 10 Jesters, one of whom was the “Jester from Leicester”, also known as Mark Selby, a snooker player. Ministry of Quiz, a Twitter account dedicated to quizzes, suggested that Selby could feature in another league table.

1. The Muscles from Brussels – Jean-Claude Van Damme. Nominated by Ministry of Quiz.

2. The Sinner from PinnerJane March, actor, who acquired the nickname after starring in the risque The Lover in 1992. Another from Ministry of Quiz.

3. The Pistol from Bristol – Tony DiStefano, motocross racer. Nominated by Richard Morris.

4. The Mouth of the South – quite a few people have been called it, but Ted Turner, founder of CNN, is probably the most famous. From Simon Cook.

5. Broon frae Troon – “That’s Scottish rugby legend Gordon Brown,” said Paul Pringle.

6. The Thing from Tring – football referee Graham Poll. Thanks to Jason Woods and Chris Hunter.

7. The Croydon De Bruyne – a special one, this: he is a football player, m’lud, called Emile Smith Rowe, who plays for Arsenal (he is actually from Thornton Heath rather than Croydon) and the nickname refers to Kevin de Bruyne, another football player who plays for Manchester City and Belgium. Thanks to Robert Edward John.

8. The Groover from Vancouver – Bryan Adams, Canadian singer-songwriter. Nominated by Gary Delaney.

9. The Beast from the East – Nikolai Valuev, Russian boxer who is now a member of the state parliament. Another from Simon Cook.

10. The Thunder from Down Under – Neil Robertson, snooker player, although “thunder” seems rather un-snooker-like. Final contribution from Ministry of Quiz.

No room, then, for the Big ’Un from Wigan, an unspecified boxer or wrestler (nominated by Darryl McCarthy); or for Dickie from Billericay, or “Billericay Dickie”, in the song by Ian Dury and the Blockheads (Ian K).

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Not quite qualifying: “Okie from Muskogee”, song by Merle Haggard, 1969, referring to someone from Oklahoma, Muskogee being a city in the state (Exexpat19) and the Thrilla in Manila, which was a boxing match rather than a person (Opinion Machine 2).

Next week: Algernons, such as Biggles’s trusty sidekick (after my Top 10 extinct boys’ names).

Coming soon: Genuine job titles, after we came across a Putter Togetherer, responsible for final assembly of hand-made hairdressing scissors at Ernest Wright, Sheffield.

Your suggestions please, and ideas for future Top 10s, to me on Twitter, or by email to top10@independent.co.uk