Microsoft are finally fully switching Hotmail over to Outlook.com. I still have a hotmail address but I haven’t been moved yet.
I do want to keep my hotmail address. I only use it as a spam repository these days, having moved all my professional functions over to Google. But I’m horribly attached to the name. I’ve had it since I was a teenager, obsessed with Queen and entirely unaware that whatever handle I chose would still be chasing me around the web 15 years later.
In those days of the internet I chose all my usernames and handles based on my inner identity rather than my external name. Fun and anonymity were encouraged and expected. It’s why in the Manics fan world I’m still known as Terminal Young Thing – a handle I picked because I was young, forgetting that one day I may be older, may be wiser. At one point I considered selected a new handle but I realised that the full lyric I’m gonna stay a terminal young thing from Methadone Pretty forbade such a change. So it stuck, and little TYT is still a large part of my online and inner identity.
But that came later. This email address predates even manicsfandom. I picked it because I wanted a Queen-based identity, but one that was female. There aren’t many. Lady Mercy would have been an obvious candidate but I didn’t like it, and anyway, I think it was taken. For a while I used brian_may39 until I realised that it was one thing to use a moniker for an ID, but another thing entirely to use someone else’s name.
In the end I picked a line from The Fairy-Feller’s Master Stroke. I didn’t like the song that much, I didn’t get any of the mythology references, or care for the art that inspired it. I just wanted a girl’s name. So I became The Nymph In Yellow. It formed the basis of my email address and several other online IDs. It was cumbersome to write and embarrassing to spell out but by the time it had outrun its cuteness, it was attached to too much of the internet to easily move.
The painting that inspired and song that inspired an online life
A couple of years ago, I gave it the slip and created an ‘grown up’ email address. Again I considered closing my antiquated hotmail name, but this I kept it for the past, and for the future. I little knew, aged 13, what a teenager and adult I would become or what my tastes would be in music, books, films and people. Which is why, when I hear the full lyric I can’t help but smile:
Fairy dandy tickling the fancy
Of his lady friend
The nymph in yellow
Fairy dandy. Bowie, Brett, Bernard, Wire, Wilde, Wodehouse, Waugh, all the other Ws on the www dot.
Seems I did know myself after all, half a life time ago.