So here we are, at the start of a bright new year; and here I am, thumping the keyboard like a sausage-fingered caveman, trying to hammer out my first blog post of 2009. It’s also my first blog post in almost a month, but who’s keeping track of these things, anyhow?
Something odd has recently occurred to me. Actually, it’s occurred to me at regular intervals over the last eight or nine years, but now’s as good a time as any to share it with others. That’s probably not the best thing to do when something odd occurs to you, especially in the wee small hours of the morning, but at least this way I get to find out whether it’s occurred to others, too. It may even may have occurred to you, in which case we could always pool our resources, split the counselling fees or form a Facebook group.
Anyhow, the oddity that’s occurred to me is this: if, like me, your calendar of choice is the Gregorian calendar then you’ll probably agree that we’re fast approaching the end of the first decade of the 21st Century. Sure, depending on how much of a stickler or a party-pooper you were ten years’ ago, you may have argued over whether the 21st Century kicked off in the year 2000 or 2001. You’ll probably now agree, however, that we’re fast approaching the Kubrick decade’s closing overs and final furlongs. Isn’t it odd, then – in this Year of Our Lord two thousand and nine – we’ve yet to agree on what this decade is actually called?
It was all so straightforward in the 20th Century. There was the Nineties, and before that, the Eighties. Prior to that we had the Seventies, Sixties, Fifties and so on. They were parcels of time, each conjuring up a specific cocktail of imagery and music and history and style. They were arbitrary labels, based on a highly capricious measurement of time that was steeped in Medieval folklore and riddled with sweeping inaccuracies and generalisations.
But at least they had names.
And these weren’t names that were applied after the event. It wasn’t like the way the French Revolution that became known as the French Revolution long after the Storming of the Bastille. People thought of the Nineties as the Nineties during the Nineties, and it was the same for all the other 20th Century decades. At the end of the 90s, for instance, certain musical fads could be described by media pundits as “early-90s” just as, at the end of the 80s, shoulder pads and designer stubble could be described by the fashionistas and those-what-give-a-shit as “very mid-80s.”
So far as I can tell, however, we haven’t settled on a name for this decade we’re living in right now. I’ve heard a few attempts, mind you. “The Noughties” pops up now and then, but to me that sounds a bit too FHM for my tastes. “The Zeroes” is another one I’ve heard on occasion, but that not only contains unfortunate pessimistic conotations, but it also sounds like it should be an indie band (and a quick Google search confirms my suspicions…). For the most part, though, journalists, pundits and proper ordinary people seem to skirt around this issue like its a big temporal elephant in the room.
But I don’t this to turn into one of those rants by middle aged bloggers who moan about what’s wrong with things without offering any alternatives. At least not with this post. In the interests of bringing something to the table and opening up a debate on the subject here’s my suggestion for a name tag for this decade: “The Norts”. It’s catchy, and it’s free of the aforementiontioned connotations and the fact it will resonate with fans of the character Rogue Trooper from the great British comic 2000ad is an added bonus.
Of course, these labels are all based on the Gregorian calendar, which has always been my calendar of choice (from my experience, most people don’t realise there’s more than one calendar to choose from). If your calendar of choice isn’t the Gregorian calendar then it probably isn’t the first decade of the 20th Century for you. According to the nifty calendar converter I found here, today – 3rd January, 2009 – is:
7 Teveth 5769 according to the Hebrew Calendar
6 Muharram 1430 according to the Islamic Calendar
15 Kankin or 188.8.131.52.12 according to the Mayan calendar
Duodi, 12 Nivôse 217 according to the French Republican Calendar
And my favourite:
Pungenday, Chaos 3, Year of Our Lady of Discord 3174 according to the Discordian calendar.
Maybe I should think about switching brands.