... but I stopped. Now I'm a dad, and may blog again...

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

512: Where's Aethelred?

What ever happened to all the old names?

I don't mean old people names -granny and granda; nana and granddad- Dierdre, Edna, Edith, Dot, Hilary, Donald, Walter, Eugene, Clarence, etcetera, etc, &c. No, those names come and go in fashion and people of my generation are naming their children after their grandparents and great grandparents. I'm interested in Old English names (as opposed to old English) like Cynric, Aelfweard, Beowulf, Balthilda, Eoforwine, Aethelred, and the like. My favourite is the Old Norse king's name Cnut, which sometimes appears euphemistically as Canute to prevent delicate people from FCUK-style offence.

Before William the Bastard (as opposed to William the Fucking Cunt) conquered these shores you couldn't take two steps without bumping into an Aenglwoart, a Gunricfulf, or an Ooflbraog. Now it's all Alfies, Evies, and I can't think of any more names. There seems to be an exact cut off point of 1066 when almost all of the native names from England (or whatever it was called by the illiterate, silly-named, mud farmers who lived here) disappeared and we were left with all Frenchy names given a slight British twist. Guillaume became William, and Beowulf went the way of the British wolf.

It's fun to make up new ones -like Aetseltron, Morbausort and Weselsaut- and I'd love to burden my children with these beautiful British, bully-attracting names. It'd be fun for a while, then I'd look like a twat if I was still laughing when, as they gradually grew up, the name began to burden them. Instead I'll have to do what every good writer should do and give these names to characters instead of actual real people I have made. As long as I don't start writing fantasy fiction; that will hopefully never happen.

Sorry I'm a bit distracted; I've just discovered that loads of Aphex Twin albums are now on Spotify and in celebration I'm listening to Selected Ambient Works '85-'92 and The Richard D James Album. Ahh, utter bliss. But why not The Beowulf ð Pendraig Aelbum?

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