I find myself pondering when sitting in conferences. Not on the subject at hand - it's almost always so terribly dry that it withstands any efforts to listen - but to the name tags in front of people – usually men - when they are sitting at their desks, or those on their lapels as they pass by in the corridor or are seated near doorways waiting for others.

There are too many Andy's in the world. Too many people with thin yellow metal spectacles, fabric conditioned chunky knitwear jerseys, carefully packed soft brown leather holdalls, titanium laptops, brogue shoes and a name like Andy, who hang around hotel foyers and departure lounges for this world to be a safe place. For that matter there are also way too many Geoffs or Jeffs too; you just know they hated what they were at school and have been rebelling against it in the best way that they possibly can in their strange world of plasterboard walls, cut lawns, hobbies involving model aircraft and Sunday morning Mondeo washing. The same way that all the Tims in the world do, only there are mercifully far fewer of them. And there is nothing solid or uncompromising about being called Mike or Eddie or even Dave any more; these are all names taken by the morally petrified and physically enfeebled to make it sound like they have just stepped off an aircraft carrier and are looking for enough alcohol to kill an elephant, a likely venue for a fight with an angry docker and the violent rape of a pit bull terrier with a poor attitude to its personal safety.

There is probably something more reassuring about being a Kev but that in turn comes with own sense of intellectual melancholy that no amount of John Smith's Extra Smooth Bitter can ever really wash away. The less said about Frank the better and as for Chris we had better forget about the sight of a middle-aged bald man in unwise and tactically baggy sportswear, leering at the oriental girl behind the breakfast counter who is simply trying to be pleasant and efficient but to the average Chris is the nearest he is going to get to being anywhere close to sexual delirium this side of next Christmas.

Marks promise a lot but deliver so little; the very punctuative effect of the name sounds so much like sticking a metal pole into the ground with a defiant glare, but in actual fact he'd find it hard to nail a small sausage with a cocktail stick whilst holding a glass of mineral water and chatting to Tony about how things are going in business despite it all being bollocksed up at the head office by Willie, who isn't called that to his face for reasons that are all too familiar to his fellow sufferers, but who actually prefers the term Will despite the fact that he never gets called it directly by anyone other than polite women who end up being the target of his Chris-like mistakes, and the reason for any number of his similarly-named counterparts to rush the first meal of the day so badly that, in their haste to get back to the solitary confines of their room and the rampant stampeding of their diseased imagination they end up with stomach cramps and self-loathing on a scale only previously enjoyed by people with enough German blood in their veins to be named Klaus without any sense of irony.

Steve has a mysterious and inevident reputation for being a really good laugh and is forever boring us about that the time in The Hague when he was there at the Expo with Colin and Brian last winter when they did some stuff you just wouldn't believe. The only substantial problem with his account of things is of course that, when faced with the unbelievable tales neither Col nor Bri - men whose idea of spice and fast living is to stick the occasional 'bloody' in a joke and to wear an open leather-buttoned cardigan when they go out for a swift jar in the George and Dragon - can remember any of it and make up some excuses about being too totalled on small bottles of foreign beer to remember, and at the same time Steve's myriad versions of events keeps changing incrementally from the first time through to the ninth or tenth time. Give the joker enough Caffreys, though, and he'll start off bitter and angry about how he knows that his wife - nearly always named Julie - is having it off with someone - nearly always named Paul - in the sales office, and then slides into morbid drear and abject depression about how he never deserved any of this and that he had always done the right thing by her and how the house on the estate near Hounslow was the place she and he had always planned for and they have two lovely kids named Lewis and Jasmine, a dog named Bastable and a car and a kitchen and DVD hard drive recorder and the new bathroom that she chose and how he never forgot her birthday and they always went to the same restaurant where they had such a great time twelve years, eight chefs and seven owners previously and how his life was spinning out of control in a way that the sudden delivery of twin beds and her enjoying late nights out can only rightly start to signal.

And where do we start with the likes of Gary? He'll never be a Doug and looks to John for the sort of style compass that he'll never  come anywhere near to being able to read, let alone plot a course. The essence of his trouble is that he's every bit as mentally inferior as Ken but doesn't actually realise it, thinking instead that he is up there with Alan and Tom, whilst at the same time failing to realise that neither of them are ever going to threaten anyone with their collective eight milliwatts of raw and unfettered brain power. He dresses in too much lilac and purple, wears a motorway collision of frantically battling toiletry fragrancies and spends too much time shining his odd-shade-of-brown shoes. He comes close to James in the oblivion league and is second only to Rob when it comes to making unwise choices in women. His only real saving grace is that he isn't Ronnie, but then again that is like choosing between typhoid and yellow fever. Oh, and Gary also has a mobile phone into which he has abnormally loud conversations that loudly trumpet his ill-educated but closely-held opinions on nearly everything.

Ben spends nearly all of his spare time either praising Onan or thinking about praising him. His unwise facial hair and near-ethnic clothing are supposed to signal ethical concern for the planet and its people, a fact that he telegraphs at every opportunity by his sinking failure to conduct any form of personal hygiene, thereby alienating all women but the few Hilarys out there and hence reducing him to the vibrating heap of inwardly facing auto-eroticism that, if coupled with a Chris and suitably harnessed, could perhaps power the street lighting in Macclesfield for a week or two. Instead he turns it on himself and channels it into the sort of post-self-coital poetry that most of us got over when we were twelve years old and simply confused about how we were; Ben is confused about nearly everything - especially poetry and facial hair.

This is the sort of things I find myself pondering when sitting in conferences. Is it any wonder I’m going nowhere fast with a name like mine?