Sunday, 27 February 2011

Footsteps in the Dark

What's in a name has been asked since Shakespeare and it's an eternally playful question. Think about the names for your favorite albums, favorite films, books, dogs, cats, paintings, what have you. The strong ones survive. The clever ones delight. And you want more. Names are that important. That's why people diverge from the norm when naming their children, but let's not get into those judgments just now.

Footsteps in the Dark is the title of Cat Stevens' greatest hits volume 2 and it's alot better than Greatest Hits Volume 2, because it's one heck of a lasting image. It feels like a premonition when you hear it. It couldn't have been called anything else. That's the true essence of a great name: it had to be.

What are you favorite names? Smokey the Bear? As you watch the Academy Awards tonight, think of how powerful a name is to sell a movie, and how bad names can down a fine flick.

But, beyond that, let me get more eclectic. There's a book called the Art of Racing in the Rain. And every time I see it in the bookstore of behind a bald dome at Starbucks, I think what might have been. It should plainly be Racing in the Rain. The Art of Racing in the Rain has poor cadence, talks to much like a bookie on his knees. It's just not the right call. I wish I could have been in that editing meeting to save them from the shame... well maybe that's harsh. I've never read the book, but Racing in the Rain could have been The Grapes of Wrath.

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