20 May 2008

For Crick-goers

I've learnt a brilliant new expression today and just have to blog it somehow. So all you Crick-goers who are trundling off to find the boat of your dreams, be careful you don't happen upon a boatbuilder whose exhibit is a mere 'Potemkin village'. There, isn't it wonderful? I'd never heard of it until I happened upon it as dictionary.com's Word of the Day but it's a gorgeous metaphor.

The official definition is:

"An impressive facade or display that hides an undesirable fact or state; a false front."

It reminds me of all those fancy double page spreads Anthony M used to place in the canal mags before going belly-up. Or more recently, the ramped up advertising undertaken by the sinking - and now sunk - Sea Otter. Or as poor John and Cathy on Marmaduke will attest to, the brass neck of the Severn Valley BC boss who smilingly took thousands of pounds off them the same day that the receiver was due.

The origin of the expression is interesting too:

"A Potemkin village is so called after Grigori Aleksandrovich Potemkin, who had elaborate fake villages built in order to impress Catherine the Great on her tours of the Ukraine and the Crimea in the 18th century."

That was nice of him.

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