Yesterday, I wanted to figure out what kind of blue the Charmer was and hunted online for possibilities. Lo and behold, Wikipedia has an entire entry on the different shades of blue, including cultural detail and some on-screen examples. The primary possibilities – bearing in mind that I had neither drink nor Internet image of a drink before me – seemed to be azure, cerulean, teal, and bondi. The first three I have met many a time, even if cerulean reminds me of a town in the Pokemon-universe more than anything else. But bondi blue? What ever may that be?
Well. According to the encyclopedia, it is a particular shade of blue employed by the mighty Apple company for their iMacs (remember those?) and named for a particular beach in Australia: “‘Bondi’ or ‘Boondi’ is an Aboriginal word meaning water breaking over rocks or noise of water breaking over rocks.” That said, the Australian Museum records that “Bondi means place where a flight of nullas took place.” What the water has to do with nullas remains to be seen.
What is a nulla, you ask? Well, initially it just seemed that some Latinist had slipped in amongst the Aborigines and spouted off about a couple of nobodies fighting, or maybe a fight that wasn’t really a fight. Then I thought that perhaps it referred to Cronulla, a beach popular with surfers, whose name derives from kurranulla, that is, “place of the pink seashells.” Google’s image search suggested it meant spokeless bikes (unlikely combatants except in a figurative sense), or something nihilistic in Italian. But it seems that the word (so far as Bondi is concerned) refers to a nulla-nulla, also called a waddy, which is a sort of hunting stick or war club. Nulla-nullas are about a meter in length, and may have stone heads. Given that they may be employed against other people just as well as hunting quarry, I can well imagine that there’d be a place set aside for fighting with them.
So next time you make a Charmer cocktail and can’t quite decide how to describe it to someone, remember: it is the color of the water breaking on the Australian rocks as a club breaks someone’s cranial integrity. Cheers!
(On a note related to blue but not to bloodshed, the entry on shades of blue also led me to reading about the Munsell color system. It makes me want to have excited discussions with burgeoning art majors.)