Avoiding Musical Ostracism when dealing with Sunn O))) We've all been in this situation. You're at a party when the conversation inevitably turns towards avant-garde drone metal, you stand there awkwardly, nervously anticipating your turn to speak, you stare into your drink, in the reflection, the eyes of a lost little boy. You consider making your excuses and wandering off to another corner, another discussion that maybe you could contribute some devastatingly witty anecdote and everyone will laud you for commanding such a mastery of social interaction. But no! Its time to stand up and be a man! You can contribute to this! There's a lull, a chance to speak, you open your mouth and out comes: "What do you think of the latest album from Sun Oh", the room erupts in an explosion of laughter, the walls spin and faces blur and contort in a variety of cruel, mocking expressions and finger pointing, you fall to the floor in a pool of your own urine, humiliated, the remaining weekends of your existence confined to your parent's basement flicking through dusty old photo albums. It doesn't have to be like this! No! You see, that's a simple and relatively common mistake. It's not Sun Oh at all, but just Sun. They're named after a brand of amplifier that they must be particularly fond of. Even though everything you've ever learned will teach you to acknowledge all those other characters with some sort of verbal recognition. It's just 'Sun'. Why? Why bother with the other characters if you're just supposed to ignore them anyway? Also who decides how to pronounce that name? The band themselves? They can't go defying the laws of logic just for some stylistic flair! If I suddenly decided that the last few letters of my name were silent, it wouldn't make it so. So what's the need for all that O))) nonsense? Just a typographical representation of the Sun? Merely to further expand upon 'the Sun amplifier' theme? But at least you can at least partly pronounce Sunn O))). Not like when Prince decided to change his name to a bad-ass symbol and confound everyone though they still cowered in the shadow of his monumental musical genius. Perhaps that is where Sacramento's '!!!' got their idea, to have a name that nobody can really properly express, (actually it's taken from the subtitles of a film, all very good). The band themselves say you can pronounce the name with any monosyllabic sound, with 'chik chik chik' being the most common. However this system is hugely open to abuse as there are a great deal of profanities that also monosyllabic, let your imagination run wild. But surely just an audible gasp is the best way to pronounce that name? After all, if you saw three exclaimation marks on the end of any word you'd expect that to be expressing surprise. It's far too confusing and just because the band decided that was the way to go about it, doesn't make it so, let the people decide and save us the ignominy of public humiliation. Finally there's :( who can't decide what people should call them, the properly mawkish 'sad face' or the grammarphile's wildest fantasy 'colon open bracket'. But there's no actual way to say :( is there? It's just two unpronounceable symbols. Obviously this is going to stand out more than a generic 'The Anything' but it must be counterproductive: 'Hey I've heard this great band but I can't say their name.' If you fear potential (but unlikely) humiliation in front of a group of people maybe it would be better not to bring them up at all? Therefore bands like :( and !!! are losing out on potential word-of-mouth popularity. A disastrous career move in this troublesome time for the music industry. So, what is the point of these hard-to-pronounce and unpronounceable names? Other than being a bit different? Is there a point to them that I have dutifully missed? And are there others that have elluded my typically watchful gaze? Of course there are, come on, join this small-scale debate!