A name not fit for a queen
Our culture changes all of the time, a roiling flow of references and new spins on old ideas, new language, new ideas, new blends of cultures.
I appreciate that change is good (I really do) and that there doesn’t need to be a good reason for change. I even enjoy change, sometimes just for the sake of it. My beef with the following example is not that it is new, it is that somebody couldn’t be bothered to make a rich story relevant. It was easier to throw everything away and start again. To use a brand formula, not to tell a story.
You may have heard of Boudica, the new old name for Boudicea; a fantastic role model in a world that often claims to lack strong examplars for young women.
Boudica is a symbol of great Britishness, of resistance against an invader, of sheer toughness; an embodiment of ‘Britannia’ if you will, but more of a Vivienne Westwood-styled version, I think. A queen of the Iceni, a tribe of old Brits, she was prevented from inheriting her husband’s kingdom and property because he’d hocked it to Roman money lenders. To exact her revenge over this slight – and the rape of her daughters – Boudica succeeded in burning what would become Colchester and London (something the youth of today have also wished to do, I’m sure). Victorian historians even acknowledge that she was ”possessed of greater intelligence than often belongs to women”. Which is nice of them.
Boudica was a tough old bird, then. I imagine our own dear Betty being just as resilient and resourceful (God bless her), in the same situation.
To celebrate everything she stands for during these truly patriotic times of jubilation and Olympian pride – and to make her infinitely more relevant to a modern audience – it appears that she is worthy of a further name change.
What is the change that bothers me so much? I have just taken a walk past ‘The Queen Boadicea’ in St John Street, Clerkenwell, a boozer of long standing, close to a University.
I would like to say that I am proud, as a Brit, struggling to find a way to channel my jaded patriotism, to announce a celebration of rebellion, of struggle against oppression, of doing what is right, of not doing the expected. Alas, I cannot claim to have any pride in this particular change.
From this day forth ‘Queen Boudica’ will be ‘The Blacksmith and the Toffeemaker’. An interesting and intriguing name, to be sure, but a spoof pub name, reminiscent of ‘The Rat and Lampshade’ style names from a few years ago (Slug and Lettuce?).
I am less worried about the loss of heritage, indeed, there may be a local story about these two jolly characters, or a Lewis Carroll ‘Walrus and the Carpenter’, tale that I have missed. I hope that this is true, because I am concerned at the spectacular lack of imagination. I might have had more time for the ‘Old, Dead Queen and the Toffeemaker’, but Boudica is no more. She doesn’t even rate a Bill & Ted “old dead dude” acknowledgement.
So, all that is left is to celebrate change and never look back. And to visit what is now, I’m sure, a much more interesting and relevant place to enjoy some refreshment. There will be another, telling its own unique story, coming to your neighbourhood soon.
Long live the Queen.
In: Brand communications, Corporate Identity, Naming, Viewpoints · Tags: Brand identity, Pubs, Queen Boadicea