Alan Dee: Living in serenity? Do you have a Pulse?

LET’S play a word association game. Here’s a list – what do they all have in common?

Alpha, Aspire, Equinox, Evolution, Infinity, Insignia, Pulse, Rhythm, Senerity, Spectrum, Unite, Vantage, Vision.

There’s clearly some marketing mumbo-jumbo going on here, isn’t there?

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You might think they’re possible names for a new Lynx fragrance, or some sort of intimate feminine hygiene product.

Maybe they’re the options for a new dual-fuel city car being put together by a Far East auto giant whose spin squad don’t quite get the English language.

They could always be the daft names signifying different shades of magnolia which paint firms use to justify adding another few quid per litre onto the price.

But no, here’s what they really are – housing developments. And not just that, they’re the names of housing developments on the books of just one firm.

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I don’t know where this trend to use just one nonsense word to name a block of flats or bigger housing project came from, but I think it’s gone far enough.

I first became aware of it because of Image, which is what they’ve called the conversion of the old Kodak office block in the Hemel Hempstead. I thought it was silly, but I could see where they were coming from.

But then I spotted Pulse, which you can find in Colindale, one of North London’s less lovely suburbs.

Pulse, it turns out, is being shoehorned onto the former site of the National Blood Service headquarters, and presumably there was a meeting at which alternatives such as Platelet, Transfusion and Haemogblobin were narrowly rejected on brand awareness grounds, or something.

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Just down the road from Pulse there’s a site set aside for Rhythm, which I can only assume is to be built on the site of a recording studio. Or a Catholic family planning clinic. Or something.

Where would this compulsion to link the former use of a site and the homes for the future stop? If you build on a one-time mortuary, would you name the project Stiff? If the land once housed a brewery, would they plump for Hangover?

But I can’t see that someone being asked, in five years’ time, where they live answering: “I’ve got a place in Pulse.”

Try getting a pizza delivered to Infinity, mate. Ask a minicab to pick you up from Equinox and you’re going to be waiting for a long time, I can tell you.

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And it doesn’t stop there. While I was googling away looking for further evidence of daft names for housing developments, I came across one in Glasgow which, as you’ll quickly realise, wants to make the most of its waterside location.

That’s why they’re calling it, I kid you not, gh20. I checked the postcode of this landmark urban living project, just for the hell of it, and also wondered what would happen if you ended up living on, say, the eighth floor. Here’s what you might have to quote if someone asked you for your address – 814, gh20, G11 6EB. And that’s just wrong.

Twee faux-heritage names for identikit estate homes are just as wrong, of course, but at least the addresses there sort of make sense. Nobody wants to mortgage themselves to the hilt to end up with an address that sounds more like a specimen number.

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