Speaking Personally: Harry Porter - we R all just numbers


“I am not a number’’ screamed Patrick McGoohan as The Prisoner in the cult TV series, writes Harry Porter.

Well, it seems UR1, I am 1 and we all want 2B1 - because it is (apparently) trendy, prestigious, and (apparently) makes people think UR witty, wealthy and a bit of a wag.

I first realised that I had ceased 2B a person when I entered the cloisters of higher learning and immediately became 740044/1. Over the years I’ve accumulated numerous PIN numbers, bank account numbers, National Insurance number, a PAYE code, telephone number, post code and even when I rent a film the first thing they ask is “What’s your number?”

Which 1?

Since we R now, 2 all intents and purposes, a walking series of arithmetical combinations, I am amazed by the proliferation of personalised car registration plates.

It seems just about every other driver on Britain’s roads has managed 2 get his or her hands on a plate which helps them remember who they R

At one time, it was a blatant badge of snobbery and they all would have been as well reading: “Hey look at me in this big whopping car while UR stuck behind with your pathetic paupermobile and your puny 7 letters and numbers, Yours sincerely BOB1” (or whatever).

But the situation has taken on a new dimension now, with folk even finding a personalised plate 4 their interests.

There’s 1 car I see which has a plate crafted to sound like a popular domestic pet - K1TTY. The back windscreen carries an ‘I love cats’ sticker and the back parcel shelf is laden with cuddly toys.

I am not impressed. This is a very sad case.

Now if the plate was BEER1, with a stickers saying I LOVE LAGER and the whole of the back seat littered with beer cans, then I would doff my cap. That person could then add 2 their prestige by becoming the most breathalysed driver on the roads

How tragic can U get? From a craze that I remember starting out on birthday cakes (UR21), it now seems we’ve reached the depths of tracking down a contrived plate for your hobbies and habits.

I still searching for M1 NCE, V0 DKA, B 002E, G1 RLZ - to mention but a few.

Of course, top of the popularity poll is still the old abbreviated name plate.

Now these are the people I think the police should target in any breathalyser campaign. If U need 2C your name on a car 2 recognise it then I think suspicions should B aroused. Especially if it’s a Ferrari or Porsche. If U can’t find that in a car park then U must be on your knees.

However, P 0RTER 1, has eluded me so far. But social pressure is such that I won’t B outdone. I know a personalised plate is really only relevant 2 the driver, and probably his or her easily-impressed family, leaving the other 59,999,996 members of the British population wondering just who the heck P 0RTER 1 is, and who the heck he or she thinks he or she is?

Nevertheless, since so many are now around and 1 has got 2 keep up with the Jones’s 4 fear of not being invited 2 personalised plate cocktail parties, personalised plate rallies and so on, I have come with a wizard wheeze.

I have changed my name 2 match my registration plate. I am now GSA 214E, and that’s Mr 214E 2 all plebs out there now.

So next time you overtake my old ‘67 Triumph, just remember it may be falling 2 bits but at least the driver knows who he is.

*HARRY PORTER writes in the East Fife Mail