Saturday, 14 January 2012

Of birds, bards and baptisms

What’s in a name some bard asked. Well, a lot, I think most people will say. Anyway said bard said it but I’m sure if we called him Billy or anything as silly, he’d have had us chained and quickly quartered.

While walking around Sliema, trying hard to lose some flab which the Christmas cheer always seems to bequeath on me, I was struck by this name game. Names of streets which seemed quite fitting and right have changed overnight (or did it take years and I missed the changeover? Did it have mini stars and ministers cutting ribbons for the re-christening?).

I passed through a sweet, little street which was always Depiro Junction in my time. I have no idea why it was called thus and have even less of an idea what a junction actually is. But now it’s called Ġużè Cardona Street. Nothing against the celebrated author of course but couldn’t we name another street after him? There surely are a few more deserving streets which are in dire need of a change. Sqaq it-Tiġieġ (chicken alley) in B’kara surely needs a sore change in name. Even if it is an old and apt name does anyone want to live in a chicken pen?

I hear someone say that even politicians have been equated with some fowl species but if I were the mayor of B’Kara I’d surely change its name and be forever remembered as the man of steel or woman of stainless reputation who was no chicken and changed the name of his/her locality to something more appropriate. Change names yes—but only if it is of utmost importance.

Some other streets in San Ġwann have incredibly silly names like Gallina, Korvu and other names of birds and stranger stuff. They might sound sweet and be part of our country lore and all that but they sound completely wrong. And besides I hardly think San Ġwann, even if tremendously beautiful, can be called part of the countryside and birdland. So instead of naming a street in that industrialised and built-up land "tit street", wouldn’t it have been better to grace it with Ġużè Cardona? Again no offence is meant to Cardona or any writer, musician or whoever is awarded a street in his honour.

Name changing, unless it is uber-important, is rather daft. I’ve always been called the same—with some silly variations like vic, and maybe il-vic. As good citizens we should accept as our fate our name as presented, sometimes frivolously, sometimes with a smirk, by our parents.

But lately I did seriously think of changing my name; or try to make it stand out as being mine. I saw a comment on the online Times of Malta by a man calling himself Victor Calleja. I’m sure there are quite a few of us but I flinched when I saw what he had written, convinced that people will surely think it is me. How can I get a name which will get me out of this quandary? Please help with some suggestions so that I can rest assured that only I represent my views and all others are frauds, impersonators and faux victor callejas.

Maybe I need to ask Ġużè Cardona or the bard himself for a distinguishing name? I mean imagine when they name a street (triq it-tiġieġ maybe?) after me and my exploits and everyone will think it was named for this other guy writing even more garish garbage than me.

What’s in a name my foot dear Billy.

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