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Purple Mountain Exophrenics

When I was younger I would sometimes fritter away the hours reading Linda Goodman's astrology books (I make better use of my time these days...): in one of them I remember reading about how the goat—Capricorn, my sign of course—high on the mountain, would tempt some other woolly-headed creature (i.e. another star sign) with his 'purple mountain majesties'. This conjured up a nice image in my mind, and I always thought the phrase might make a good name for a company. Well, 20 years later, and I did find myself setting up a company—only problem was 'Purple Mountain Majesties Ltd' just wasn't quite right, and besides, the use of 'majesty' or anything royal-related in company names is governed by very strict rules.

So, whilst I was happy with the 'Purple Mountain' bit, I needed something else to follow it. I tried lots of the usual ideas that might do for a software contracting company: 'Purple Mountain Software', 'Purple Mountain Management', 'Purple Mountain Projects', etc., but none of them seemed to work. At around the same time I was doing some work with my eyesight, following the Bates Method, and this involved many mental exercises, some of which were things like imagining that the image that you see is formed outside of your head, so I started looking around for a word that was evocative of that in some way. When I didn't find one, it occurred to me that I could simply make one up: so I took 'exo' meaning 'outside', as in for example 'exoskeleton'; and 'phrenic', an obsolete adjective meaning 'relating to the mind' or simply 'mental' (perhaps you have heard of 'phrenology', an old branch of 'science' that purports to relate brain functioning to the shape of the head?). Thus 'exophrenics' was born! (I remember a web search at the time turned up just one hit—a very 'arty' website with a few photos on it and not much more—clearly someone else had had similar thoughts!)

'Purple Mountain Exophrenics Ltd'—perfect!—doesn't really mean anything (doesn't need to!), but it has a complete, rounded feel and sound to it that my other constructions didn't. It served me well for the years I was contracting, and I had plenty of value for money out of it, explaining to those (many) who asked what it meant! As a limited company it is now dissolved: however I see no reason why I shouldn't continue to lay claim to it via 'prior use': indeed most self-employed people use company names which are not registered as limited companies, but which they would regard as theirs nevertheless. Hence I shall certainly continue putting Purple Mountain Exophrenics on any synth modules I build for myself, and may even use it for any I build for anyone else, if that opportunity should ever arise (heaven forbid!).

[Page last updated: 14 Dec 2009]