What’s in a name?

A few months ago, I referred to Shakespeare’s famous quote “What’s in a name?…”, in a post on the subject of roses in literature.

More recently I had cause to dwell once again on this particular question as I listened to my favourite album of English madrigals.  The name of the album is Madra, which is neither particularly weird nor very informative (although I suppose it does sound a bit like the start of the word “madrigal”, so perhaps it does hint at what the album contains).

What is rather more surprising than the album name is the name of the group performing the madrigals: Miranda Sex Garden.  This London-based group was extant throughout the 1990s and for most of this time blended “their madrigal-styled vocals with sounds reminiscent of gothic rock, darkwave, ethereal wave and industrial music” (to quote from the Wikipedia page I’ve just linked to).  Even having listened to some of their later work, I’m not entirely sure what some of those terms mean (and I must confess that I’m not absolutely wild about the blend either, although I certainly don’t hate the sound).  For their first album (Madra), however, they were  a pretty straight-up trio of madrigal singers.

Although I had previously heard of Miranda Sex Garden (after all, it is a fairly striking name), I didn’t really pay any attention to their stuff until I was getting into the music of the Mediæval Bæbes (another group with a perhaps slightly surprising  name, although as female performers of early music the name is actually quite apt) and discovered that their leader, Katherine Blake, was also the leader of MSG and that the latter’s  debut album was actually a collection of a cappella madrigals.

I must confess that, in addition to wanting to bring to your attention a fine album that may be in danger of being overlooked due to the improbable name of the group performing it, I have another reason for writing this.  Not long ago, my brother wrote on his blog about posts that appeared to be particular spam magnets, with particular reference to an earlier post entitled Reflections on Birdwatching.  It occurred to me that possibly the references to birds were being picked up (and taken completely out of context) by automatic spam bots, causing the post to receive more than the usual amount of spam.  My scientific instincts kicked in and the obvious experimental way to test this hypothesis would be to write a post containing out-of-context references to sex (and if I’d mentioned babes instead of bæbes earlier, that would have been another potential spam bait :)).  It will be interesting to see what happens…

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  1. Of course, if your trap works, you will then have to figure out what to do with the bodies…

    • I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. I’m not sure whether WordPress allows facilities for closing off the comment stream for existing posts.


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