A building called Vertigo.

Before the financial unpleasantness of recent years, and the attendant collapse in the housing market, developers were throwing up cheap condos all over Seattle trying to accommodate /capitalize on the growing population. Now you see these condos everywhere, and most are hurting for tenants.

One building that has caught The Name Inspector’s eye is right next to the Capitol Hill branch of the Seattle Public Library. It’s called Vertigo. It actually says that in big letters right on the side.

The name Vertigo is probably supposed to imply that the building is so awesome it will make you dizzy with excitement. (Never mind that someone identified it as possibly the “ugliest condo building in Seattle”.) And Vertigo is the title of a classic movie by Alfred Hitchcock, right? One that’s hiply alluded to in the prize-winning title sequence for the popular television series Mad Men?

James Stewart about to fall off a building in the movie Vertigo.

Granted, the movie is about a guy who falls off a building. (Spoiler alert!) And then has nightmares about it. And then sees his girlfriend fall to her death from a building. And then gets another girlfriend similar to the first and breaks up with her/tries to arrest her and sees her fall off a building.

But the guy does survive his own fall. And in his nightmare he falls stylishly, with op art in the background.

And the Mad Men guy, he falls in a really stylish way, past beautiful models and luxury goods, and lands safely in what is probably a totally collectible mid-century modern chair, and he’s even smoking a cigarette.

So on balance, the associations of Vertigo are probably pretty positive. Besides, this building in Seattle isn’t even that tall. You’d probably survive if you fell off it.

3 Responses to “Queasy living”

  1. on 27 Mar 2012 at 9:53 am Michael Rader

    I love this, but I disagree that the association of Vertigo is probably pretty positive. I think the name alone is plenty responsible for its reputation as “the ugliest condo.” Simply by changing the name will surely change the immediate negative judgements against the place.

    In addition to your reference to the film, many people, MOST people, naturally associate the word with sickness, nausea and vomiting. Just looking at the word there on that building, sends my eyes through a horizontal optokinetic nystagmus. Haha, got that from the wikipedia description of vertigo.

    “Giddiness” is a very distant definition of the word “vertigo” and rarely ever used in that context. It notably refers to dizziness and loss of balance.

    Even further, the more recent use of the word Vertigo comes from a song by U2 called Vertigo. In his lyrics he alludes to it as being something miserable.

    Hello, hello
    (Hola!)
    I’m at a place called Vertigo
    (Dónde está!)
    It’s everything I wish I didn’t know
    Except you give me something
    I can feel, feel!

  2. on 27 Mar 2012 at 10:05 am The Name Inspector

    Hi Michael! Thanks for your additional insights about Vertigo. When you get to know The Name Inspector a little better, you’ll find that he’s not above making the occasional sarcastic remark.

  3. on 27 Mar 2012 at 10:12 am Michael Rader

    Haha okay. Sorry, I guess I read that wrong. I can’t believe they named their building Vertigo.

    p.s. Did you get my email?

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