Many years ago, back when I was a student, I once won an unofficial title playing Jenga. Although I have many skills in life, playing Jenga turns out to not be one of them. My then girlfriend, not unreasonably convinced she’d beat me, offered to play me for the moniker World Jenga Champion Of All Time. For once, and once only, the Jenga Gods smiled down me. I won and claimed my title – which given the ‘of all time’ qualification meant that however often she’d subsequently beat me, I stayed as eternal champion.

All of which leads me on to two similar current title fights, complete with claims, counter claims and legal threats. The beginning of September might be a little early for festive news, but according to newspaper reports, Mariah Carey is presently trying to trademark the title ‘Queen of Christmas’. This is on the back of her classic song, All I Want For Christmas Is You, which has reportedly made over $60 million in royalties over the years.

However, Carey’s claim has been challenged by both Darlene Love and Elizabeth Chan. Love was one of the singers on Phil Spector’s 1963 A Christmas Gift for You, arguably the greatest Christmas album of all time. Chan, meanwhile, has been recording Christmas albums for a decade, including 2021’s The Queen of Christmas. ‘No one person should hold onto anything around Christmas or monopolise it in the way that Mariah seeks to in perpetuity’, Chan told Variety magazine.

In publishing, meanwhile, a conflict has emerged between the estate of Agatha Christie and Val McDermid over the title ‘Queen of Crime.’ At the Edinburgh Book Festival this week, McDermid revealed how she had received a cease-and-desist letter from the estate’s lawyers after using the term on her website and also on promotional posters – a term they had trademarked back in 2013. ‘It’s just astonishingly pitiful,’ McDermid told book fans.

Such title-claiming is often fraught with controversy. Back in the 1990s, Michael Jackson decided that he should be anointed the ‘King of Pop’: journalists were told that unless they agreed to use the term in their articles, they would not be granted an interview. Any half-serious beer aficionado, meanwhile, has long been sceptical of Budweiser’s longstanding claim to be ‘King of Beers’. The Czech beer of the same name briefly attempted to label themselves the ‘Beer of Kings’: that this was factually true, given they had brewed it since the 13th century, cut little ice with the lawyers.

It’s easy to mock such marketing-driven hereditary title grabs. Yet our democracy is often barely better: next week, we’ll have a new prime minister chosen by just 0.29% of the population. Now that’s real entitlement.