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Journalistic 'noms de plume'


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#1 Vitesse2

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Posted 06 July 2002 - 22:04

Prompted by a question from Alessandro Silva, I thought it might be helpful to compile a listing of "who was who" in motor sport journalism. British journalists especially seem to have operated under pen names - I've often wondered why. Here's a few: can anyone fill in the gaps or add more?

Grande Vitesse (Motor) - Rodney Walkerley

Spy George (Motor) - Robert Fellowes

Casque (Autocar) -

Short Stroke (Motor) -

Auslander (Motor Sport) -

Overdrive (Motor) -

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#2 Roger Clark

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Posted 06 July 2002 - 22:33

Casque was Sammy Davies.

Can I add Balladeur (Motor Sport) and Coche and Chandos (both Motor Racing)? There's also Carrozzino who wrote about Motor Cycling for Motor Sport in the early 50s, but I think I know who that was.

#3 cabianca

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Posted 07 July 2002 - 04:06

Believe Hans Tanner used a nom de plume. Was it Coche?

#4 Doug Nye

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Posted 07 July 2002 - 16:56

'Coche' in 'Motor Racing' was originally Hans Tanner - he who never had a driving licence so far as I know, and who conducted track tests form the passenger seat. Later - after Tanner did a runner from Modena leaving bills unpaid and allegedly began gun running to Cuba before finally shooting himself - seldom a dull moment in that household... - Pete Coltrin became 'Coche', the American ex-'Hot Rod' magazine based in Modena where he had settled with his local wife, Gabriella, 'Lella'. During the Tanner period as 'Coche', Pete and Jenks described it as 'Motr Racing's regular cock column', 'cos Tanner was always talking complete poppycock.

Not - as we know now - completely true, but not completely unkind either...

DCN

PS - I can't remember really clearly but I think 'Baladeur' was several people, most often the great Kent Karslake.

#5 ry6

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Posted 07 July 2002 - 17:27

"Verglas" - Geraint Phillips ?

#6 Pete Stowe

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Posted 07 July 2002 - 17:43

"Verglas" was the Motoring News Rallying editor - several people over the years, including Geraint Phillips. I think Stuart Turner may have been the first, and John Davenport another.

#7 Vitesse2

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Posted 08 November 2002 - 01:04

Just came across another:

King-Pin = DB Tubbs

Source: Court, Power and Glory Vol 1 p305

Can anyone fill any gaps? :)

#8 Mike Argetsinger

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Posted 08 November 2002 - 05:11

Grandpa Throttlebottom was Miles Collier.

#9 Ray Bell

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Posted 08 November 2002 - 19:51

In Australia we had a great column every month in Sports Car World, which was edited at the time by Bill Tuckey.

The columnist was dubbed Romsey Quints and it was Tuckey's own brainchild... he had children, such as 'Fred Markone' and wrote of the drivers of the day like 'Crag Dewsack' - sometimes with great irreverence.

Then he was the one who wrote the SCW obituary for Lex Davison... I never understood that. But maybe it was Tuckey's alter ego shining through. But then, someone* has more personal experience with this highly-regarded penman on the racing scene...

#10 ensign14

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Posted 08 November 2002 - 20:37

And who, pray, is the scribe for Edgar Jessop's recitatives?

#11 Haddock

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Posted 08 November 2002 - 20:47

To go back to the modern day, I believe "The Mole", to be found on itv-f1.com is former Autosport man Joe Saward

#12 jarama

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Posted 09 November 2002 - 00:48

Rodney Walkerley was too "The Blower", but I' don't know if this was before or after "Grande Vitesse".

Carles.

#13 RenÚ de Boer

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Posted 10 November 2002 - 11:25

This is a very nice subject, especially for me as a motor racing journalist :-)

In the mid-1990s, I sometimes reported on some German racing events (Super Touring and F3) for two British weekly publications that still were rival magazines at that time - now, they are in the same publishing group - and I sometimes used the name of J├╝rgen Stiftschraube for Motoring News and my own name for Autosport, as I was - and still am - their official German correspondent, although with a Dutch passport and living in The Netherlands, to make things more complicated. Sometimes, I also write as John Farmer (Farmer is the British translation of my Dutch surname De Boer, which allows for many other varieties, such as Jean Fermier in French or Giovanni Agricolo in Italian).

This J├╝rgen Stiftschraube (German for cap screw or tap bolt) is still being used by several people. And so is Luke Luxembourg, usually reporting the Porsche Supercup (although I honestly have no idea who that is, probably Wolfgang Monsehr). And I have once seen a report in Autosport about some race in Asia being credited to Nasi Goreng (which is a very tasty rice dish!).

There are also many stories concerning Rob la Salle, who has also been used as a nome de plume by various people from various countries. Famous Dutch motor racing journalist Rob Wiedenhoff, who has been reporting Grands Prix from 1963, once told me the story that some people wanted to get an official press pass for Rob la Salle, which was no problem, because there were so many publications with his name on them. The only problem was that they had to come up with a photo for the press pass...

#14 Vitesse2

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Posted 21 January 2003 - 22:58

Originally posted by Roger Clark
Casque was Sammy Davies.


Not according to WB in Motor Sport Feb 2003. He says it was his colleague Head (who he?). Mind you, Davis is misprinted as "David" .... :rolleyes:

#15 Paul Newby

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Posted 22 January 2003 - 02:56

Originally posted by Ray Bell
In Australia we had a great column every month in Sports Car World, which was edited at the time by Bill Tuckey.

The columnist was dubbed Romsey Quints and it was Tuckey's own brainchild... he had children, such as 'Fred Markone' and wrote of the drivers of the day like 'Crag Dewsack' - sometimes with great irreverence.

Then he was the one who wrote the SCW obituary for Lex Davison... I never understood that. But maybe it was Tuckey's alter ego shining through. But then, Barry Lake has more personal experience with this highly-regarded penman on the racing scene...


It took me years to figure out that Romsey Quints was Bill Tuckey, he really did write some good stuff in his day. Remember his spin of the triffids :lol:

I know that Peter Burden often wrote under a non de plume (there is a terrific '64 Wheels article that I must dig up.)

Another Wheels columnist from the 80's was Romerill, aka Alan Kennedy fomer motoring editor of the Sydney Morning Herald, now mainly into sailing who wrote some good Le Mans stories in the mid 80's.

I also know of the "reverend limiter" who has a column in Auto Action. He is a personal friend (my boss's brother, would you believe) so I can't reveal his identity :p

#16 Roger Clark

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Posted 22 January 2003 - 07:03

Originally posted by Vitesse2


Not according to WB in Motor Sport Feb 2003. He says it was his colleague Head (who he?). Mind you, Davis is misprinted as "David" .... :rolleyes:


Motor Sport failing to check the work of these inexperienced young writers again!

Davis, not Davies, is the correct spelling, of course.

#17 Vitesse2

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Posted 24 October 2004 - 22:06

Just to tidy up a couple of questions from earlier:

Originally posted by Doug Nye in another thread
'Chandos' was either the publisher, Roy Pearl, or the later editor Alan Brinton, sometimes his oppo, John Blunsden...

Head was Davis' mechanic. He did have a nom de plume of his own, which I saw referred to somewhere. Stupidly, I forgot to make a note of it .... :blush:

#18 Doug Nye

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Posted 24 October 2004 - 22:13

Hmm - in my time I have been by-lined in magazine and national newspaper publications as both 'Sidney Greenstreet' and 'Honor Claire Day'...but the reasons why are a long story...

DCN

#19 D-Type

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Posted 24 October 2004 - 22:33

Please tell. :)

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#20 Doug Nye

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Posted 24 October 2004 - 22:42

Uh-uh - :blush:

#21 Ray Bell

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Posted 24 October 2004 - 22:44

Okay... who wrote for Auto Action under the name of 'Jerry Brook'?

#22 Muzza

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Posted 25 October 2004 - 02:22

Racing journalist Jacques Ickx, father of racing car driver and sportscar legend Jacky Ickx, would often sign his articles as "X" - as the name of this letter, in French, is pronounced exactly as his surname...

(Note: this unfortunately gave way to a wrong understanding that Jacky Ickx would be a pseudonym, and that the correct name of the driver would be Jacques Bernard. This is incorrect. Actually Jacques Bernard Ickx is the complete name of the driver)

#23 Graham Gauld

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Posted 28 October 2004 - 17:59

How about Henry Manney as Henri B Gentilhomme in the British version of Sports Cars Illustrated so as not to upset Road and Track for whom he wrote under his own name.


Also another American Journalist Jerry Sloniger who often wrote under the name Jerry Everett.

#24 Mac Lark

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Posted 28 October 2004 - 18:38

Eoin Young began writing for a newspaper in his hometown of Timaru under the name 'Dipstick'.

I began my days as a regular columnist as 'Peter Petrolhead' - the editors invention.

#25 Phil Harms

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Posted 29 October 2004 - 02:40

In the US we had Stroker Ace. Years ago I was told who it was but have since forgotten. A hilarious book.

#26 Jack KdH

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Posted 29 October 2004 - 10:04

Didn't Karl Luvigsen use the name 'Elliot Niles' in the sixties when he wrote for Sports Car Graphic?

#27 Ron Scoma

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Posted 30 October 2004 - 17:57

Originally posted by Phil Harms
In the US we had Stroker Ace. Years ago I was told who it was but have since forgotten. A hilarious book.



I believe that is Brock Yates.

Ron Scoma
#41

#28 Vitesse2

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Posted 23 March 2007 - 12:10

Just bumping this one as I came across the identity of "Monoposto" of Light Car - he was Tom Walkerley, whose full name was Charles Vincent Walkerley. Son of Rodney?

Monoposto used to fill in for The Blower, but - at least by 1940 - The Blower was not Rodney Walkerley: in fact I'm not sure he ever was. Could The Blower have been Tommy Wisdom?

#29 FLB

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Posted 23 March 2007 - 14:38

In more modern times, there's been an F1 columnist known as Effe Juan (or Eff One).

Eric Silberman?

#30 Frank Verplanken

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Posted 23 March 2007 - 15:20

Nice bump Richard :up: as I also stumbled accross one recently. The early issues of US West Coast magazine MotoRacing (1955) had a "Bench Racing" column by one Gresvick von Kneissel. Turned out be a juvenile Lance Reventlow, as revealed four years later by editor Gus Vignolle.

#31 McGuire

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Posted 23 March 2007 - 17:29

It still goes on to this day. If one has any knack as a freelancer, at some point one will be handed a contract. It will demand exclusivity but often, not nearly enough compensation to live on. To offset this ironical situation, the writer will produce copy for other outlets under another name to supplement his income. Here the pen name will not be humorous or flamboyant, the whole idea being not to draw attention.

There is not as much of this as there used to be... for one, the smaller, meagerly-funded publications that make this practice (double-dipping) both necessary and possible are drying up. Also, there are lots of opportunities for corporate writing that are very lucrative, especially in comparison to freelance rates. And exclusivity is just not as important to publishers anymore.

No offense to anyone, but motorsports journalism is not what it may seem. Except for NASCAR and F1 stringers, in most cases it's not quite a real job. There are only a handful of outlets in the world that can pay people a full salary with expenses to cover auto races. Most of the full-time working pros write for two or three outlets, with moonlighting in PR. Team owners, organizers and sanctioning bodies will throw a bone this way and that. Race programs, yearbooks, stuff like that. It's rather...incestuous, if that is the word. Or perhaps a kind of servitude. It's not journalism in the classic sense. You can starve a lot quicker for telling the wrong facts than for telling the facts wrong, that's for sure.

One of the time-honored uses of the funny or silly nom de plume in motorsports commentary is to conceal the identity of a former writer who is now a PR functionary for some major entity in the the sport. The writer does not want his views connected with his employer, the employer ditto, the publication does not want to create the appearance of subjectivity, and the reader wants the commentary to be frank and independent. Good deal for everyone.

#32 McGuire

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Posted 23 March 2007 - 17:42

Originally posted by Phil Harms
In the US we had Stroker Ace. Years ago I was told who it was but have since forgotten. A hilarious book.


"Stroker Ace" was two people -- Bill Neely (Goodyear PR) and co-writer Bob Ottum (editor of Sports Illustrated).

#33 Hugo Boecker

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Posted 23 March 2007 - 18:01

and in Germany we had "Rumpelstielzchen" for Richard von Frankenberg

#34 David Beard

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Posted 23 March 2007 - 18:09

Not quite the same thing.....but who might be "Tepid shoe" who has posted on TNF a few times, and whose profile says he is a journalist?

#35 Vitesse2

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Posted 01 June 2007 - 20:48

Originally posted by Roger Clark
There's also Carrozzino who wrote about Motor Cycling for Motor Sport in the early 50s, but I think I know who that was.

Named by Bill Boddy as one Denis Sargent Jenkinson in the latest issue of Motor Sport.;)

He also confirmed that Baladeur was Kent Karslake.

#36 RS2000

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Posted 01 June 2007 - 21:36

Originally posted by Pete Stowe
"Verglas" was the Motoring News Rallying editor - several people over the years, including Geraint Phillips. I think Stuart Turner may have been the first, and John Davenport another.

Stuart Turner
John Brown?
John Davenport
Atis Krauklis?
Gerry Phillips
?
?

#37 Vitesse2

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Posted 06 July 2007 - 08:54

Originally posted by Vitesse2
Just bumping this one as I came across the identity of "Monoposto" of Light Car - he was Tom Walkerley, whose full name was Charles Vincent Walkerley. Son of Rodney?

Monoposto used to fill in for The Blower, but - at least by 1940 - The Blower was not Rodney Walkerley: in fact I'm not sure he ever was. Could The Blower have been Tommy Wisdom?

Having finally got sight of some wartime issues of Light Car, I've now sorted these out!

Firstly, Tom Walkerley was Rodney's brother - he seems to have had a very similar rangy (almost gawky) look to Rodney: tall, thin, big ears. He also rates a mention in Roland Baxter's autobiography: he was Raymond's lap charter when he first started motor racing broadcasting in 1950.

Carles was right though - the original "Blower" was Rodney Walkerley. When he left to become "Grande Vitesse" the mantle was taken up by Harold C Hastings, who continued until the war. In 1940, the "Sports Jottings" column was still bylined "The Blower", but I don't think he was still writing it. Light Car went monthly in mid-1940 and the name "The Blower" was dropped. One column was bylined "The Scrutineer", but it became "Sports and Sportsmen" in later issues.

Source: Light Car January 1944

#38 Graham Gauld

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Posted 06 July 2007 - 09:01

Dear Tom Walkerley

He joined Alfred Woolf and Biddy Laing in their Woolf-Laing-Christie PR agency in London but was usually to be found in the pub round the corner from the offices. He was a charming man but unfortunately he hit the bottle and died over twenty years ago.

#39 ensign14

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Posted 06 July 2007 - 09:06

Originally posted by Vitesse2
Roland Baxter's autobiography

:lol: A certain Grand Prix recording on your car stereo at the moment?

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#40 Sharman

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Posted 06 July 2007 - 10:26

It's 40 years since I heard it but Roland Faxter surely?

#41 Bloggsworth

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Posted 07 July 2007 - 08:57

May I thank vitesse2 for using the correct plural of Nom de Plume.

Was "Disconnected Jottings" a composite correspondent?

#42 Vitesse2

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Posted 15 February 2010 - 17:03

A couple more I'm looking for:

Boanerges, who wrote the "Rumblings" column in Motor Sport in the 20s and early 30s.

Cyclops, who wrote for Motor Cycling in the 30s: could this have been Graham Walker?

#43 Ray Bell

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Posted 15 February 2010 - 21:17

Originall posted by McGuire
It still goes on to this day......

.....You can starve a lot quicker for telling the wrong facts than for telling the facts wrong, that's for sure.....


If I understand this correctly, I agree entirely...

#44 JimBradshaw

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 11:55

Hmm - in my time I have been by-lined in magazine and national newspaper publications as both 'Sidney Greenstreet' and 'Honor Claire Day'...but the reasons why are a long story...

DCN


MI5 and ASIO have produced the latest known identikit of DCN

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#45 Frank Verplanken

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 12:51

"These are facts, historical facts, not schoolbook history, not Mr. Wells' history, but history nevertheless." ^.^

#46 Vitesse2

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Posted 20 October 2010 - 20:01

Just to tidy up a couple of questions from earlier:

Head was Davis' mechanic. He did have a nom de plume of his own, which I saw referred to somewhere. Stupidly, I forgot to make a note of it .... :blush:

And six years on, I found it again! Head was LV Head, who wrote for Yachting Monthly under the appropriate name of 'Caput'.

I can also add another: 'The Scribe' in The Autocar was the magazine's editor EJ Appleby.

Still looking for 'Boanerges', 'Cyclops' (possibly 'Blick' Hodgson?), 'Auslander' and 'Overdrive' ...

#47 fbarrett

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Posted 20 October 2010 - 20:29

and in Germany we had "Rumpelstielzchen" for Richard von Frankenberg


When RvF wrote the first book on Porsche, he used Herbert A. Quint.

Frank

#48 Bernard

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Posted 20 October 2010 - 21:58

European Hill Climbs reports in Motoring News in late 60's were done by "Bergeige" Wonder who that was

#49 ReWind

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Posted 21 October 2010 - 06:59

Are you sure about the spelling?

"Bergziege" would make sense in German.

#50 Bernard

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Posted 21 October 2010 - 21:05

I stand corrected