Post 14: When is a flat a flat?
Enthusiasm level: Confused
Progress: Slightly paralysed
Quote: “But a flat sounds so, so flat”
The English language is hopeless sometimes. Why on earth do words have to have quite so many meanings and implications? It seems the word ‘flat’ is more controversial than I realised.
I know the word sounds flat and not sharp or high or pointed and therefore potentially dull. I am also aware when talking musically it tends to come after a B, E or A. But to many UK residents it simply means home, a place to hang your hat and relax. I think it sounds welcoming and cosy or perhaps I have just enjoyed living in a couple of flats which were. Seriously having stairs on the other side of the front door that you are responsible for cleaning is overrated. However a number of people involved with the project to reinstate Hendrix’s flat (yes I said it again) feel that this is not the right word. Their understandable concerns are that international visitors won’t get it and UK visitors won’t think it is worth visiting. So we have been going around the houses (not flats) for another name; apartment, maisonette, pad, home, room, digs, bedroom, space, loft, penthouse but everything seems to conjure up the wrong image.
I keep returning to the fact that it is a flat, Hendrix called it a flat, visitors called it a flat, Kathy Etchingham called it a flat, we still call it a flat and guess what – it is a flat. Nothing grand or impressive, a simple, small, homely flat. The logistics of the building and getting visitors through mean that it will only be possible to visit the main reconstructed bedroom in the flat and they will need to have their expectations managed. I feel that billing it as anything other than a flat would be overstating it and that we need to keep it simple. I dearly hope that if we do agree on the term I won’t spend the next 5 years of my life explaining to Americans and Europeans what a flat is nor indeed meeting people who are too grand to visit a flat. Surely we are underestimating potential visitors. However for the time being Hendrix Flat is a working title whilst we go around the nomenclature conundrum a little longer.