Raising a toast to Harald Gormsson

After a mere 620-odd posts I think that I may by gaining the measure of the WordPress massive.  It would seem that Russian is of minimal interest, but introduce a hint of Anglo-Saxon and it’s a very different story.  I don’t think I have ever had so much response quite so rapidly to my feeble musings.

In an attempt to exploit this new found audience, I thought I’d stick with the same period and just head a short distance north and east as the longboat sails.  Harald Gormsson was a king of Denmark in the second half of the tenth century.  He was famed for briefly extending this original role to cover the crown of Norway and introducing christianity to Denmark (via baptism in a barrel, if a 12th century relief is to be believed).  However, his greatest fame in this modern era derives from his nickname: Blåtand (or in modern English: bluetooth).  He probably didn’t actually have a blue tooth, “blå” just meant dark in the days before the founding of Pantone.  So he may just have had some rather dodgy dentition: too many of his country’s famous pastries, perhaps?  I’m guessing that dentistry in 10th century Scandinavia was fairly basic: we are talking well before the role of dental hygienist was created and pretending to floss became de rigeur.

The technology, to which Harald has given his name, is a huge boon to those of us with the habit of speaking aloud in company but not actually to any of the assembled throng.  In days of yore, talking to oneself could lead to being shunned in polite society or, worse, carted off to be cared for away from the community (in buildings which have now, largely, been converted into expensive apartments).  No longer!  Thanks to Bluetooth, half the world appears to be talking to itself – and I can leave people to imagine I am using a particularly subtle Bluetooth earpiece rather than that the ship of my sanity has long ago sailed for distant shores (and failed to leave a forwarding address).  I’m not sure that the son of Gorm the Old was directly responsible for my remaining at large, but I will nonetheless raise a glass of something to his name (I have a feeling that in parts of Brighton and Shoreditch mead is making a comeback which might be an apposite choice).

Whilst researching this post – oh yes, actual research goes into this – I made a delightful discovery.  I have long been slightly obsessed by Runes – too much fantasy reading as a child, I suspect – and so was thrilled to find that the Bluetooth logo is made up of two Younger Futharc runes scrunched together: fairly obviously the ones for H(Harald) and B(låtand).  I love the fact that almost every electronic device I have boasts a runic inscription – presumably the same one which graced the most average of Viking pencils.

Feel free to continue the lunacy...

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