If 'War And Peace' Was Less Than Exciting, Try A Union Between Dull And Boring

Apr 26, 2012
Originally published on April 26, 2012 6:27 pm

Don't expect fireworks for this union: The city of Boring, Oregon and Dull, Scotland will become sister cities.

City leaders hope the union of two dim names will result in a blockbuster tourism campaign.

The Oregonian reports that the idea of becoming twin cities came after Elizabeth Leighton stumbled upon Boring and couldn't "wait to tell all her Dull friends."

The paper adds:

"'Obviously, this is an opportunity for a twinning with Dull and Boring,' wrote Leighton, who lives in a neighboring village called Grandtully. Her friend Emma Burtles took the 'twinning' idea to a meeting of the Dull women's book club, and the idea became more than just a clever joke."

All Things Considered's Robert Siegel spoke to Tom Pringle, the secretary of the community council for Dull and Stephen Bates, chair of the Community Planning Organization in Boring.

Bates said his city had come up with an exciting new tagline for the partnership: "Boring and Dull: A Pair For The Ages."

Robert suggested that maybe the cities should add one more less than spectacular name to the partnership: Bland, Va.

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Two towns far away from each other have discovered that they share a unique bond. Dull is a tiny village in Perthshire, Scotland. Boring is a town in Oregon. Now, a very exciting development, Dull and Boring plan to become sister communities. It all began when a woman who lives in Scotland drove past Boring and emailed her friend back in Dull about what she'd seen.

And here to help us tell the story are people from each community. First, Tom Pringle, who is the secretary of the Community Council for Dull. Welcome to the program.

TOM PRINGLE: Good evening.

SIEGEL: And Stephen Bates who is chair of the Community Planning Organization in Boring.

STEPHEN BATES: Good afternoon.

SIEGEL: And first, Tom Pringle, I understand that you and Stephen Bates have never actually met.

PRINGLE: No, that's true. And this is the first time I've actually made any sort of contact with him.


SIEGEL: Mr. Bates, I understand that Boring bills itself as the most exciting place to live. Is that right?

BATES: Yes, that is correct.

SIEGEL: And, Mr. Pringle, does Dull bill itself as the most shining village in Scotland, or something of that sort?

PRINGLE: Well, I would say at times like tonight, yes, it's a beautiful night. Yes, I would have to agree with the people who say that Dull is dull because we had heavy rain and very low clouds. But no. It's had its moments in the park. We've got, as you know, the Dull Ladies Book Club.

SIEGEL: The Dull Ladies Book Club. Is there a boring book club in Boring?


BATES: No, there is not a Boring Book Club that I am aware of.

SIEGEL: Well this, have you come up with a slogan for this partnership?

BATES: Well, Boring came up with a slogan yesterday. The slogan is: Boring and Dull, A Pair for the Ages.

SIEGEL: Sound good to you, Tom Pringle?

PRINGLE: Yeah, it sounds excellent. Yes, and they're way ahead of us there because we haven't thought about - the only thing we are thinking of our sign is very attractive for the cars. Numerous cars stop to take pictures of the sign. And I'm sure if we added Boring to the sign in some way, there will be even more cars stopping.


SIEGEL: I gather, Stephen Bates, that Boring - the name Boring comes from a man named Boring who founded the town. Is that right?

BATES: Yes, the namesake is William H. Boring. His great grand son still lives here. In fact, he's one of my neighbors.

SIEGEL: And Dull, where does the name Dull come from?

PRINGLE: Dull is (unintelligible) and it's an old Gaelic name. And there is a couple of theories as to what it is. I won't go into them now because I might embarrass myself by getting the wrong one.

SIEGEL: But here's my question for both of you. I wonder if either of you has ever traveled in the State of Virginia, about 65 miles southwest of Blacksburg, to the town of Bland?

PRINGLE: I have never been to America, although my daughter is just about to marry an American from Connecticut.

SIEGEL: Well, that's...


SIEGEL: That's a stone's throw from Oregon right there.

PRINGLE: Yes, just yes. Just (unintelligible), yes.


SIEGEL: And, Stephen Bates?

BATES: Yes, I have been to Virginia. I have driven by Bland. I have never been in Bland.

SIEGEL: But you didn't think when you saw the road sign of - well, now you could compound it to Boring, Bland and Dull.

BATES: We just might have to make that contact. Hey, Tom?


PRINGLE: Yes, this sign post could be getting bigger by the day.


SIEGEL: Well, thanks to both of you for being anything but dull and boring with us. And good luck to you in your partnership.

BATES: Thank you very much.

PRINGLE: Thanks very much, Robert.

SIEGEL: That was Tom Pringle of Dull, Scotland and Stephen Bates of Boring, Oregon. The two towns intend to become sister communities. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.