Guy Lochhead, 10/09/10
In 1970, Sue Finch, a feminist lesbian living in a commune in Hackney, decided to liberate her new daughter’s name by rejecting patriarchal and matriarchal surnames in favour of a free name – Wild. This idea spread – first within her commune, then later, up the country to Leeds, Sheffield and York. These children were collectively parented, and grew up in a radical environment with no personal possessions, monogamous relationships or toilet doors. The Wilds are grown up now. Some have passed on the Wild name and/or ethos, and other have rejected their upbringing almost completely. The late ’60s and early ’70s were a time of British social change. The ‘Wild’ idea is a personalised, domestic continuation of that. It is a logical idea that was ruined as soon as another child was born Wild – the child is born into one school of thought in a similar way to if it’d been born with its father’s or mother’s name. I watched a documentary about the phenomenon, and the clips of a young Wild reading aloud (for the camera) from a fairytale one of their parents had written about collective parenting seemed almost as bad as any other sort of indoctrination. Even so, to me that school of thought is more sensible than the normalised prejudice of inheriting the father’s name, and I have no problem in referencing the Wild effort in the programmes. The mood of change has changed, and that sort of aggressive radicalism is far less radical now. I think this is a good thing, and feel that keeping, and learning from, the Wild name in the programmes is in keeping with the modern radicalism. It’s a shame they chose ‘Wild’ though. It’s now so corny and dated.

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