Be Nice Now

“It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.”

My friend Tony had this saying pinned to his office notice board for many years. Tony and I shared a job, which meant we usually weren’t in the office together. It also meant I could be very childish and hang up my own version of his saying, just to see how long it would take for him to spot it. My version read, “It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be in Nice.”

Three months later, a colleague remarked, “What a coincidence, I’m going to Nice next week!”  By then I had no idea why this should be a coincidence, until she pointed out the saying on the wall. And so another sad little practical joke died a miserable death in a dusty office on the outskirts of a nameless town.

All of which sums up the story of my life, but also introduces this week’s overview of KLM destinations starting with the letter N. As always, I’ll describe the origin of each city’s name, but this time round I’ll be posting photos of album covers featuring the names of these cities.

“Why, Richard?” you may well ask.

And I may well reply: “Because Frank Sinatra’s ‘New York, New York’ has been on repeat in my head since I started writing this blog. Which made me wonder whether local musicians have composed odes to any of the other cities. If so, it’d be great if you could post the lyrics or a link below!”

Nairobi: The Kenyan capital’s name comes from the Maasai phrase “Enkare Nyorobi”, meaning “the place of cool waters”, a reference to the swampland on which the city was built.

Newcastle upon Tyne: This British city owes its name to a castle built alongside the River Tyne in 1080 by Robert II, Duke of Normandy.

New York City: Having started out as New Amsterdam under Dutch rule, this city’s name changed to New York after the English took control and King Charles II of England granted the lands to his brother, the Duke of York.

Nice: This French port on the Mediterranean traces its name back to the ancient Greeks, who called the city Nikaia, meaning “City of Victory”.

Norwich: This town on the banks of the River Wensum in Norfolk, England, was originally known as North Wic, meaning “North Port”.

Nuremberg: It is unclear how this German city got its name. Some suggest that it may derive from the German phrase “Nur ein Berg”, meaning “Only a Castle”, but others say that is preposterous.

Here’s hoping that my descriptions and the album covers will hit the “play” button of your memories, reminding you of songs featuring the names of these cities. If so, please post lyrics and/or links below.

Meanwhile, I’ll be trying to find a way to prevent Norwich City fans from posting the full lyrics to “We love you Norwich, we do”.