Category: Waltzing More Than Matilda
Aladdin Sane was David Bowie‘s 1973 album. Although people often forget the name of this Bowie persona (a pun on A Lad Insane), his image is one of the most memorable: a face crossed by a lightning bolt to represent a divided self. A continuation of Ziggy Stardust, it was partly inspired by David Bowie‘s brother Terry, who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia. Aladdin features in The 1001 Nights as a boy who becomes trapped in a cave by a wicked magician, but escapes with the help of a genie. A pantomime staple, it has also been made into a popular Disney film.
The name Aladdin is an Anglicised form of the Arabic name Ala Al-Din, meaning “excellent in faith”. Aladdin has been rarely used as an English name, and probably reminds people too strongly of the magical lamp.
During his long career, rock icon David Bowie was the master of reinvention, constantly changing image and donning guises, until it has become a cliche to describe him as chameleon-like. More unusually, the masks that Bowie wore and the roles he assumed were often given a name, becoming characters in their own right. In tribute to David Bowie, who passed away earlier this year, here are some of the names he wore or were connected with him.
Some vocabulary names are popular, like Poppy and Summer, while others are familiar, like Faith and Melody. Then there are the vocabulary names that are more unexpected. These are ten names I have seen (on Australians) this year – but only once. They are all real names, but comparative rarities.
Latinised form of the Greek form of Andrew. The name has been used in Germany since the Middle Ages; a famous medieval namesake is Andreas Osiander, a Lutheran mystic and theologian. The name Andreas was used in Britain too, although probably the name was still pronounced the same way as Andrew in everyday life. Just outside the Top 100 in Germany, Andreas is less often seen in English-speaking countries, perhaps because of fears it will be be confused with its feminine counterpart, Andrea. This German classic seems like a fresh update to flagging Andrew, and has recently had some publicity from the disaster movie San Andreas.
These are names which rose the fastest in Australia in 2014, calculated not only by overall national position, but by the number of states in which the name had significant gains. It also compares their progress in Australia with that in the US, UK, and New Zealand.
Hazel just joined the national Top 100 as its fastest-rising name, going up 63 places to #88: the last time it was a Top 100 name was in the 1940s. The catalyst for Hazel’s entry to the Top 100 is last year’s teenage tearjerker, The Fault in Our Stars, based on the novel by John Green, and with Shailene Woodley in the role of Hazel. A fashionable retro name with a cool Z sound, chosen by several celebrities, Hazel was due for popularity. Just outside the US Top 100, it’s already Top 50 in New Zealand, but only in the 300s in England/Wales.