I got drunk and legally changed my name to Celine Dion
On Christmas Day, I was feeling a bit fuzzy.
My friend had dropped round a magnum of champagne the day before and despite promising I’d save it for the 25th, I’d cracked it open after a few hours.
My housemate and I spent the evening having a lovely time, sitting on the sofa watching legendary concerts on TV.
By the time we got to Whitney Houston, my housemate had headed to bed and I stayed on to watch Michael Jackson, leading up to the Celine Dion grand finale.
While the next morning I had a vague recollection of the evening’s festivities, I found out a few days later that one crucial event had been omitted from my memory.
It was the part where I had legally changed my name to Celine Dion.
So when I first received eight copies of a deed poll claiming that my name was no longer Thomas Dodd and was, in fact, the same as the My Heart Will Go On singer, I was more than a bit taken aback.
I honestly thought it was a joke – until I checked my bank account. It showed clear as day what I’d got up to on Christmas Eve.
I’ve always been a huge fan of hers. A few years ago I went to see her in Birmingham where I splashed out on VIP tickets and caused a bit of a security alert when I threw my friend’s bra on stage – I was just so excited!
Even before that, I considered I Drove All Night my anthem and would blast it through my car stereo on the way home from night shifts.
Her music is also what has seen me through lockdown; watching her concerts has been my go-to activity when there’s been nothing else to do.
Maybe it’s a bigger surprise this didn’t happen sooner!
Once I’d gotten over the shock of having a whole new name, I was more concerned about how easy it is to change online! It only takes a few clicks on a few pages.
I would say I got used to being Celine very quickly. I knew it was pretty funny and I wanted to make others laugh, so I took to Facebook.
From there it went a bit viral.
The main problem with that was that I hadn’t told my parents. The first they heard about it was when a reporter called their house – which is where I’m still registered as living – and asked them about it.
Initially, they weren’t best pleased (to say the least) but they’ve slowly warmed to the decision and can laugh about it.
My work have also been brilliant. They already knew I was bloomin’ bonkers so I don’t think they were actually too surprised when I told them.
It’s still all a bit surreal. I woke up to paparazzi on my doorstep on New Year’s Day. I was feeling worse for wear after the night before, so I made them wait while I had a shower and coffee.
The whole time, I was thinking ‘what would Celine Dion do?’.
To be honest, I’ve been thinking that ever since I changed my name.
It’s bizarre to have people recognise me now. I was on the escalator in ASDA a few weeks ago and someone shouted ‘Celine!’. I turned around and waved back as if it was completely normal.
And then I appeared on The Ellen Show, which was a huge highlight. During my appearance she told me they were gifting me $10,000 to helping me re-train as a paramedic, which was so generous.
I decided to use the money I had already saved up to give back to the community instead; I put together 20 home learning packs to support children and young people through homeschooling, including books, stationary, and tablets pre-loaded with educational apps.
I donated them to local schools to be given to those in need. It’s been the best thing to come from this, for sure.
Now, all I need to do is apologise to Celion Dion for causing chaos entering 2021! I’m hoping that because she’s a little bit loopy like me, she’ll find it funny.
Life as Celine Dion has been great so far and I’m hoping that when things start opening up a bit that it will only get better – I don’t think I’ll ever struggle to book a table in a restaurant again.
Of course I worry about some of the downsides that may come from sharing a name with one of the world’s most famous singers. I hurt my shoulder a few weeks ago and I didn’t want to go to hospital for fear they would think I’d hit my head.
But I have no desire to change it again – I’m 100% committed.
That is, until I next have a bit too much to drink.
Hello, My Name Is…
It’s not easy having the same name as someone, or something, famous.
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