Monday, 24 March 2008
Sir Paul McCartney's ganmaar
Sir Paul McCartney may be rich, albeit £24 million poorer than before his recent divorce, but I bet he hasn't got a ganmaar. Ganmaar, you see, isn't a real word; it's an anagram - of anagram. Yes, I know that's cheating, but it's surely a more honest kind of cheating than Vladimir Nabokov's "anagram" of his name: "Dorian Vivalcomb". Call that an anagram? Where's the "k" gone, then? And "Vivalcomb" isn't a name or even a word, so it doesn't work. Don't give up your day job, Dorian. Thanks to idipewkia for that little snippet.
What is the point, in any case, of a pseudonym that is merely an anagram of your real name? You'll be rumbled in no time. I was told once of a Jewish refugee who, during the war, changed his name from an unacceptably German "Wolfmar" to a less than inconspicuous "Marflow". What a schmo.
Anagrams have their place - in crosswords, for example. But they are rarely, if ever, funny, because they always sound contrived. Typically feeble is the anagram of "Elvis Aaron Presley": "Seen alive? Sorry, pal." Nobody would say that. A notable exception is the former Conservative Health Secretary, Virginia Bottomley, whose name anagrams into "I'm an evil Tory bigot." She never said that, but others did, and often.
As well as non-existent humour, people find non-existent messages in anagrams. Which brings me back to Sir Paul McCartney. From The Telegraph:
Fans of Sir Paul McCartney believe the fomer Beatle makes hidden references to his divorce from Heather Mills on his latest album.
The title of the song Mister Bellamy is an anagram for Mills Betray Me, posters on an internet forum devoted to Sir Paul have pointed out.
Besides the anagram, fans also noted suggestive lines in the sixth track on the album Memory Almost Full.
"I'm not coming down, no matter what you do," one line says. Another reads: "No-one to tell me what to do, no-one to hold my hand."
One contributor wrote: "Macca wouldn't be so blunt as to write a song specifically about someone (or a situation) and then say so, but you'd have to be a fool not to understand that he does write these songs."
Another added: "He may not have consciously written about her, but the words certainly seem to apply."
A third urged Sir Paul to release the song as a single in revenge for the divorce from Miss Mills, which cost him £24.3 million.
"Go for it Paul," the fan wrote. "If you release this as your next single, millions of your fans will be right behind you."
However, the song title is also an anagram for almost 18,000 other phrases in English.
Writing on his website to promote the album, Sir Paul, 65, commented earlier: "Who is Mr Bellamy? Well, I never know who these people are.
"Who is Chuck and Dave from When I'm 64? Who is Eleanor Rigby? Who is Desmond and Molly from Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da? I don't know, I just make them up."
You don't say.
Update: For avoidance of doubt, the stuff about Nabokov was .... a joke. His Holy Memory is not being insulted.
Posted on 03/24/2008 11:46 AM by Mary Jackson
24 Mar 2008
"...it's surely a more honest kind of cheating than Vladimir Nabokov's "anagram" of his name: "Dorian Vivalcomb". Call that an anagram? Where's the "k" gone, then? And "Vivalcomb" isn't a name or even a word, so it doesn't work." [from too-hasty, insufficiently-informed and someetimes-wrongly-contrary Mary]
Nabokov never, in his novels, his plays, his short stories, his translations, ever used the anagram "Dorian Vivalcomb." Vivian Darkbloom, and Vivian Calmbrood, yes, but not "Dorian Vivalcomb." He used that anagram as a very young man, in a letter to his mother in Prague, knowing perfectly well that, if he were writing that part of the letter in English, it would be best to render the anagrammatized "k" as a "c" (with the same pronunciation), so that it would be in realistic consonance with its almost-certain English spelling, were such a name to exist. "Vivalcomb" might be a (strange) English name, but "Vivalkomb" most unlikely. And if he wrote to his mother entirely in Russian, which is likely,the same English letters would form the same anagram using the Cyrillic letters, with the "k" of "Nabokov" remaining a "k" in "Vivalkomb."
The time was a difficult one for Nabokov and for his mother, in the first years of her impoverished Prague existence. He found translating "Colas Breugnon" tedious, and not going well. He had a few years before, been a millionaire. Now he had nothing, except his language -- or languages -- and his education and his intelligence, which turned out in the end to provide what "lost banknotes" some pined for had provided, and then some.
This was an anagram meant for an audience of one, ahis Russian mother who was, however, intelligently attuned to what English orthography favors and what it is likely, over time, to change.
Your aim is sometimes off, and sometimes, too, though less frequently, your target.
24 Mar 2008
Oh, for God's sake, don't be so po-faced.
24 Mar 2008
Which is an anagram of cap of Ed. Presumably you were thinking of Ed Balls, wearing Keir Hardy's cap, if you remember Brass.
Few do these days.
24 Mar 2008
I remember it well. "Never doff thi cap to an 'ardacre."
24 Mar 2008
You can only afford to go on about anagrams because the best one with your name is Ransom Jacky. (I don't suppose you have a middle name you'd be willing to share do you?)
Whatever the case, you're still Puerile Clod to me unless of course you 'fess up to being Rich Julie Bull.
24 Mar 2008
"Puerile clod" is inspired. An anagram of my erstwhile pseudonym. Excellent. And I'm not Julie Burchill, though she may be me.
A zillion times better than "Dorian Vivalcomb", unless the latter is some instrument for tidying a merkin. The Big N was wise to use it only once, and only to his mother - it's an anagram only a mother could love.