I just can’t see the point
I saw k.d. lang in concert a few weeks ago and was reminded how thrilling I thought it was, back in the mid-90s I guess it must have been, to see her lower-case name, which set her apart as such an individual. And so she is, resolutely, to this day, but the practice of dispensing with capital letters and colliding words is now so widespread as to be plain stupid. Poet e.e. cummings would turn in his grave if he were told the tourism industry is one of the worst offenders, infested as it is with marketing magicians and crafty consultants. It seems de rigueur to muck up a perfectly good name, actually.
Long-established hotel brand InterContinental was a forerunner of what I call the shoving together of words. Now it seems one of the lesser offenders as we grapple with ampersands, underscores, full capitals and aberrations such as Bvlgari, which chucks away a perfectly useful “u” like an offending fleck of synthetic diamond.
The Whitsundays resort Qualia doesn’t like the capital letter Q and I was given a talking to from its management when I refused to run it as qualia, especially at the start of a sentence.
Similarly, there was quite a dispute between rival safari operators Abercrombie & Kent and &Beyond in 2011 about usage of the ampersand symbol. Journalists were sent directives about which font should be used. Wisely, I decided not to chance my arm with our senior subbing staff or suggest to even higher-ups that we change the newspaper’s font every time I had a wildlife feature in the wings. And just as well as before you could say leopard at three o’clock, &Beyond became andBeyond, a logo that irritates me to this day and, anyhow, auto-correct prefers Beyonce.
Amanresorts as one word took me three decades to get used to and then it was changed to AMAN. The Accor behemoth — make that AccorHotels, no gap, thanks — insists on SO Sofitel and MGallery for its lifestyle brands, and who on earth knows why. Groovy resort operator LUX is all capitals, like the soap and the three-letter airport code for Luxembourg, and COMO Hotels and Resorts makes a similar statement, but these are two of the least ridiculous. Because the full points between words and underscores are the hardest to get right.
I am addicted to divine-smelling Kevin Murphy haircare products, and know that I should be cool and on message, but KEVIN. MURPHY somehow shouts at me, which isn’t nice when your ears are full of perfumed suds.
The other headache is the tendency to spell out the location and affiliation of hotel names. Examples would be Starwood’s Ajman Saray, a Luxury Collection Resort, Ajman or, also in the UAE, Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa, Dubai. Pity the telephonists on their switchboards. If you search the net, you’ll find funny names galore, from Resist Bacteria Hotel in China to Ufuk in Turkey, but that is another universe of accidental madness. And did I mention the plague of places with @ in the mix as a supposed designator of cool.
Meantime, the names of restaurants are getting sillier too. Witness Sydney’s Nel, which isn’t Nel at all but nel. with a full stop. It is a very good place to dine, by the way, but @heavens_ABOVE, what’s the point?