In My Ears and In My Eyes

There was a minor flap in the UK media the other day when Liverpool Council considered a proposal to change the name of Penny Lane because it was originally named for an 18th-century slave-ship owner. Or so it was reported and editorialised, although elsewhere the proposer of the move was reported as saying “I don’t think anyone would seriously consider renaming Penny Lane”; she was pressing for other slavery-related street names to change. Either way, it looks like a non-starter, because Liverpudlians are attached to their historical streets, if not their historical buildings (see: renewed government attempts to demolish half of the north of England).

But apart from street names loved by millions of Beatles fans, why not have a bit of a spring clean? Edinburgh, for example, is full of place names with objectionable connotations. Whether you’re anti-war or anti-Labour, Blair Street obviously has to go. Princes Street has Machiavellian overtones, so that should clearly become The Street Formerly Known as Princes. As for the Grassmarket, it’s about time it was the Just Say No Market.

And what about the rest of Britain? Anything with “Bush” in it needs revising, so that’s Shepherd’s Bush for a start. Dukes of York were responsible for any number of deaths and marches up and down hills, so that’s half the north renamed. Coventry surely doesn’t enjoy being a byword for ostracism; it could try the more welcoming “Entry”. And Hitlerpool is right out.

Yes, it’s a wonderful idea. Liverpool could become Lennongrad, Wales could become Norwegian-Free Chemical Substitutes, and before long everyone in Britain would live in Mandela Street, Mandela-on-the-Wold, Mandelashire.


Lt Col Joseph W. Mengele (retired)

(I was going to say that they should rename Penny Lane after the song so that it becomes “Penny Lane Lane”, but see that a Guardian letter-writer has beaten me to it.)

13 July 2006 · UK Culture

lennongrad! Genius :)

Added by shauna on 15 July 2006.

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