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Fri Jul 21 20:12:59 EDT 2000

Date sent:      	Fri, 21 Jul 2000 13:04:22 -0400
From:           	owner-dwj-digest at (dwj-digest (Diana Wynne Jones))
To:             	dwj-digest at
Subject:        	dwj-digest (Diana Wynne Jones) V1 #195
Send reply to:  	dwj at

> Eliot himself said that every cat has more than one name.
> Terry Pratchett did an extended riff on this, suggesting that a cat's
> multiple names include, among others I've forgotten:
> 1. the name he is given when first acquired, often unsensibly long or
> fancy - Rumpelteazer, for instance. :)
> 2. the shorter and less fancy name the cat ends up *actually* being
> called most of the time.
> 3. the name the neighbours call when they see him
> (Maudethecatfromnextdoorsonthebirdtableagain and
> Yahgerroffoutofityabastard are Pratchett's examples)
> 4. the name that is called when, for instance, the shopping bag
> containing the prime steak starts edging furtively toward the edge of
> the table. This name is usually short and sharp. ("The Egyptians'
> cat-headed goddess was called Bast. Now you know why.")
Someone, probably Maya Angelou, said "The child that is loved 
has many names" . This obviously applies to pets too. These days 
when I'm naming cats I try to plan for the first nickname to come off 
the fancy one as in Cirocco/ Rocky or Vespa/Vespasian. Other 
names come as they will. Vespa spent several months being 
called Spuggy, N English dialect for sparrow, often appled to a 
street urchin, because he was a little thug. A nice little thug, 
unless you were his sister. Then his legs grew so that he was on 
stilts and he became elegantly slender so I called him Cat Boy 
Slim.( I guess that may not work outside the UK or dance culture, 
theres a DJ/recording artist called Norman Cook who currently 
records as Fat Boy Slim. He was seldom out of the news last year 
as he married a celebrity breakfast radio DJ.). Vespa's grown up 
into a real handsome cat now, he's still got a roman nose and he 
suits his Sunday name too now.   

I had Cirocco for fifteen years, she had countless nicknames, all 
were  permutations of the basic sounds or had "rock" in them -- 
Rockrose, Roxy, Little Orc, Rococco, Roc-Roc and the Rockster 
among them. She answered to "Youlitlebitch" quite often as well, 
like all my shecats :-)  

The fancy name/nickname appraoach is pretty much what 
happened all in all the Dalemark books, does Dwj do this anywhere 
else?. Tanaqui, Ii'm intrigued by the Tanamoril story, do you have 
any more details of what convinced the authorities to accept the 
name. On the whole I'm against regulation but the lack of it in the 
UK has led to some unfortunate infants being landed with the 
names of entire football teams and other embarrassments. A 
recent story I heard from France concerned an English couple living 
out there, who were unable to register their son as Oliver after his 
father and innumerable grandsires because it wasn't on the official 
list. They had to spell the boy's name the French way, Olivier I 
think. That's silly.  

And, Robyn, I think Chicken is an excellent name for a cat, its 
really funny.

Finally and btw I'm a Southerner so I never called a sparrow a 
spuggy in my life -- we say spadgers!


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