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Goldies 2004

Stan by Me

Goldies voters and Santa Cruz Indexers aren't the only people who like to make lists. Local David Anton Savage is making one of the weirdest.

By Jessica Neuman Beck

"If you like music from countries whose names end in 'stan,' then tune in to Unfiltered Camels." What started out as a clever catch-phrase for his radio show has spawned an unlikely obsession for David Anton Savage. He began jotting down the names of every country he came across ending in 'stan,' and entreated his listeners to call in with their contributions. They did, and there were so many that Savage began researching the project in earnest.

As the list grew, Savage began using it for pledge drives to support his KZSC radio show, which features North African, Middle Eastern and Central Asian music.

"It'll eventually be a book," Savage says. "My next issue will probably be in the fall, and I'll have close to 500 'stans.' My research has finally hit gold."

He laughs. "Suffix research is really a bitch."

The suffix '-stan' is Farsi for "a place to stay" or "land."

"It's like England, Ireland, Scotland," Savage says. "As most of the world knows, there are seven countries that are actually in 'stan,' but in terms of history there's a huge number of 'stans.'"


Goldies 2004 Contents:
Arts & Culture (readers' choice)
A-Z Index of Names/Places
Economic Index
Food & Drink (readers' choice)
Goods & Services (readers' choice)
Historical Index
Music & Nightlife (readers' choice)
People & Places
People & Places (readers' choice)
List of 'Stans'


Some of the 'stans' on Savage's list don't technically exist anymore, but were included "due to the fact that the essential meaning of 'stan' was being employed linguistically," Savage writes in the introduction to his latest list, "and that these places are/were relevant in terms of myth, literature, history, culture, geography, politics and/or ethnicity."

Whew! That's a lot of responsibility for one little suffix.

Savage guesses that his list is the longest existent collection of "stans" out there, and he's probably right. "I don't include things like 'New Yorkistan,'" he says. "It came out on the cover of a major magazine, but just because you can coin theterm doesn't mean I'm going to add it to the list."

Some of the 'stans' that did make the list:
Jinnestan: from Persian mythology; land of the Jinn
Kafiristan: land of the infidels
Karakalpakstan: land of the black wool caps
Nurestan: formerly Kafiristan, but now that they are mostly Muslims they don't want to be called infidels
Tajikistan: crown head land
Aryastan: land of the noble
Tawistan: land of lightness or sunshine
Baharestan: Spring Land Square
Zimistan: land of coldness
Turmenistan: I am a Turk land
Urdustan: land of the tents
Cabristan: land of graves
Uzbekistan: I am a genuine man land
Viharistan: land of the Buddhist shrines
Bustan: The Fruit Garden (from Persian literature)
Yagistan: land of the ungovernable
Gobustan: land of ravines
Islamistan: general term referring to all Muslim nations as one

Savage is still collecting stans, and anyone inclined to help can email him at [email protected] or call in to his radio show, Unfiltered Camels, on KZSC-FM (88.1) on Tuesdays 4-6pm. "I know there are more stans out there," Savage says. He's probably right.

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From the March 31-April 7, 2004 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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