Saturday 6 March 2010

Little Venice and Venezuela

I said yesterday that there would be more on Venezuela and I am, occassionally, good for my promises. It's even topical for me, and Inky Fool will go to any lengths to maintain the illusion of relevancy.

I'm off to a birthday party tonight in a pub in West London. More specifically, it's in an area between Maida Vale and Paddington called Little Venice. This preposterously ambitious name is based on the fact that two canals meet. There is no Rialto, no St Mark's Square and no campanile, but there is a small island with ducks on it.


Anyway, calling it Little Venice is a bit ridiculous and there was once a man called Amerigo Vespucci who had a distant cousin who married a preposterously good looking girl called Simonetta who looked like this:

I mean, seriously, imagine going to bed with Venus. I know I do. Anyway, Amerigo, rather than trying to seduce his cousin's wife, had a cold shower and sailed off to discover things. He came to a place where there were lots of palafitos, which is to say huts built on stilts in the water. Like this:

It was, he thought, just like Venice, only littler. So he decided to call it Little Venice, or in Italian Venezuela.

Which means that I am going to a party in Venezuela this evening, and Hugo Chavez rules a small part of West London with an iron fist.

Incidentally, in order to name the whole continent in which Venezuela was found, a far simpler course was followed: Amerigo was latinized to Americus. All other continents are feminine and end with an A, so it was called America. Which means that Native Americans (like Mrs Malaprop) are just as neocoloniolinguistically subjugated as Red Indians.

Now watch this:


  1. but you did find the other one on Queensway, which is important. we should go back to little venice tho, I quite like.


  2. We should. And to all Inky Fool readers with a childlike trust in my infallibility I should say that it turned out that I had the wrong pub and it was the King Alfred on Bayswater. So I did not go to Little Venice. There's a lesson to learn from this, especially involving Red Lions in Mayfair/St James, Coach and Horses in Soho and Flasks by Hampstead Heath.

  3. And Blue Posts in Soho.