Hendrix at Home

Discovering Hendrix at Handel & Hendrix in London

Post 14: When is a flat a flat?

Enthusiasm level: Confused
Progress: Slightly paralysed
Quote: “But a flat sounds so, so flat”

About to drink my flat white, whilst wearing my flats and thinking about flats. Is this joke falling flat?

About to drink my flat white, whilst wearing my flats and thinking about flats. Is this joke falling 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.

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About Sarah Bardwell

Handel & Hendrix in London Trustee and leading the team that is reinstating, in the adjoining building, Jimi Hendrix's London flat to open to the public. Quirky twist of chance meant that baroque legend Handel lived at 25 Brook Street in the 18th century and that rock legend Hendrix lived next door in the 1960s.

One comment on “Post 14: When is a flat a flat?

  1. Pingback: Post 24: Going to Tender | Hendrix at Home

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This entry was posted on 3 March 2014 by in Flat and tagged , , , .

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Discovering Hendrix at Handel & Hendrix in London

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