The number ’99’ is surprisingly ubiquitous. One shy of the more well-rounded ‘100’, ’99’ could well have been lost in the shadows of its more illustrious neighbour. After-all ‘100’ is a power of ten, that most noble of numeric families upon which the decimal system is entirely dependent. Our understanding of currency, measurements (presuming one uses the more sensible metric system over the perplexingly inconsistent imperial system) and even, to a certain extent, time (ok not really – seconds, minute, hours, days, weeks, months and years have little to do with decimalisation but when we get to the big measurements – decades, centuries and millennia – my point (sort of) stands) is all dependent on powers of ten.

For ’99’ to have carved out not one, but several identities, against that back drop, is pretty impressive. Ok there are occasions when the success of ’99’ is linked to its proximity to 100 – how many times are items priced at 99p, or £1.99, £2.99 (feel free to insert your own currency here if you don’t regularly use the rapidly diminishing pound as your money of choice) to create the illusion they’re cheaper than they really are (I’m not paying £3 for that mug when I can get this one for £2.99)? Continue reading 99