Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Anglo-Saxon Kings

I have a certain fascination with the Anglo-Saxon era of English history. It's just so barbaric. It may be a horribly inflammatory thing to say, but the Normans really did bring civilisation to England. However, one thing that the Normans did, sadly, do away with was a history of decidedly awesome given names. All the Roberts and Charleses that follow 1066 are just boring compared to some of these, in this comprehensive list of awesomeness:

Kings of East Anglia: Wehha, Eorpwald, Ecgric, Æthelhere, Hun, Beornwulf, Guthrum the Old.

Kings of Essex: Sledda, Sexred, Sebbi, Sigeheard.

Kings of Kent: Hengest, Æðelberht I, Eorcenberht, Hlothhere, Mul, Oswine, Eardwulf, Cœnwulf.

Kings of Mercia: Pybba, Penda, Ecgfrith, Wiglaf, Wigstan, Ælfflæd.

Kings of Northumberland: Eoppa, Glappa, Frithuwald, Hussa, Æthelwald Moll, Osberht, Guðroðr, Sigtrygg Caech (those last two were Norse, but awesome).

Kings of Sussex: Berhthun, Watt, Bryni.

Kings of Wessex: Cynric, Cynegils, Seaxburh, Æscwine, Ine, Cynewulf.

Kings of England: Eadred, Eadwig, Æthelred the Unready, Edmund Ironside.

Briefly, before the Norman conquest, there was a brief period of Danish rule - four Danish kings of England. As their nomenclatural awesomeness ratio is 100%, it's worth listing them in full: Sweyn Forkbeard, Canute, Harold Harefoot, Harthacanute.

If your name is 'Forkbeard', you are awesomeness in the flesh.
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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

"The Shoes of the Fisherman's Wife are Some Jiveass Slippers"

There are plenty of silly-cum-profound song titles out there. You could make a long list that ultimately would be very tiresome. But this particular one, by strange-name master Charles Mingus (he was a bassist too), has a particular lunacy all its own.

Until searching Wikipedia just now, I presumed that the title sprung fully-formed from the head of Mr Mingus (his surname really ought to be spelt ‘Menzies’). But it turns out, and obviously it’s not coincidence, that there was a book released in 1963, 9 years before Mingus’s, called “The Shoes of the Fisherman”. There was a movie too, starring the Mighty (Anthony) Quinn. The book’s got a priesty-looking person on the cover, so it’s a religious thing. How the slippers fit in, I’ll never know.

Oh, other compositions by Charles Mingus include: “All The Things You Could Be By Now if Sigmund Freud's Wife Was Your Mother”, “Oh Lord Don't Let Them Drop That Atomic Bomb on Me”, “She's Just Miss Popular Hybird”, “Pithecanthropus Erectus” and my personal favourite, “Don't Be Afraid, the Clown's Afraid Too” – on the same album as the present selection. Oh those wacky bassists.
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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

"Urban Shocker"

The Wikipedia page doesn't have much to say, really. He was a baseball player. He threw a spitball (terminology ridiculous enough to warrant its own page here). He played with the Yankees. He died from pneumonia. He was, as the picture reproduced above shows, a decidedly handsome man. The Wikipedia page has nothing to say about just how awesome his name is.

I've already spoken about the adjective-noun name 'Inky Mark', which is pretty awesome. But as adjective-noun names go, this one rocks its socks. It could be a genre of horror film. It could be the name of a horror film. Or a report on city crime or some other thing. Alternately, it could be a decidedly metropolitan version of a classic sexual hand position.

Wikipedia does report something even more awesome: Mr Shocker's birth name was actually Urbain Shockor, which is also cool, and I hope is pronounced with a French (i.e. Pepe le Pew) syllable stress. That would make my day.
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