I just can’t see the point

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - TRAVEL & INDULGENCE - SU­SAN KUROSAWA

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?

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