Sunday, November 15, 2009

Something Xtra

Xtra-vision has been on this Baggot Street-Waterloo Road corner site for quite a few years now, but in my memory, the corner site belonged to AIB and was disused. In these days, the local video rental shop was called Metropolis. It was above where Tesco is now and was a treasure trove of back catalogue material. I have been trying to track down the origins of the use of "X". There are various theories but the letter chi (pronounced kai) is the 22nd letter of the the Greek alphabet and it is thought that this gave rise to Christ being represented as x, as in Xmas. There are, as usual, many arguments, but when X is fused with the Greek letter Rho, the resulting figure (like a cross, superimposed on a "P") is known as the labarum, which came to symbolise crucifixion. Much used in ecclesiastical celebration, it can't be traced much before Constantine in AD312. Again, we are a long way from Xtravision and the way in which X is used - such as the X factor. But Xmas approaches.