A rethink on Two Thousand dates

UP to now I've been a staunch Two Thousand man.

The first year of our millennium was definitely Two Thousand. And it was followed by Two Thousand and One and so on until last year which was Two Thousand and Eleven.

My mind was made up on the matter long ago in the last century when Jarvis Cocker of Pulp sang "Let's all meet up in the Year Two Thousand" and Stanley Kubrick made his futuristic masterpiece Two Thousand and One: A Space Odyssey.

But now I'm not so sure. In fact I think it is fair to say that I am wavering in favour of referring to this year as Twenty Twelve.

It is more consistent with our time-honoured annual numbering system from centuries past. I was born in Nineteen Fifty-Nine. If someone asks for my date of birth and I say One Thousand Nine Hundred and Fifty-Nine they might quite reasonably conclude that I am a bit of a git.

The Battle of Hastings was in Ten Sixty Six, not One Thousand and Sixty Six. The town of Seventeen Seventy was established as its name suggests and not in One Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy. And George Orwell might not have been so successful if he had written One Thousand Nine Hundred and Eighty Four. Too much of a mouthful.

My colleague, Dan, suggests that we could start a new trend altogether by calling this year Twenty Hundred and Twelve and there would be some historical justification for such a thing. There was a time when chroniclers wrote things like: In the year of our Lord Eighteen Hundred and Forty-Seven, and so on.

But I think he's just being obtuse. Intriguing but deliberately awkward.

And why does it matter?

Well it doesn't in all probability. I just want to be able to say in Twenty Nineteen that I have a Twenty Twenty vision for the coming year.

Mind you, if you are Chinese you believe this is 4710. And the Hebrews reckon we are now living in 5772 while followers of Islam will tell you this is 1433.

Whatever year you think it is, and however you choose to name it, I hope it turns out well for you.

An Englishman Abroad With Adrian Taylor



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