Saturday, August 09, 2008
The first Airfix kit I ever had was the HMS Cossack. She bravely defended the perilous straits between the two beds in my room. She also left me with an ineradicable fascination with the word 'Cossack' - not what it means, I have always vaguely had an impression of fierce men in fur hats, but how it sounds - the central, serpentine hiss and the parenthetical 'k'. Now, I discover, the fierce men are deeply involved in our latest killing people scheme. The Guardian defines Cossacks as 'descendants of runaway serfs and outlaws' Wikipedia seems to disagree. The word itself comes to us from French, Polish, Ukrainian and Turkish. I feel innocence has been lost. Once Cossack was a plucky British destroyer, now it's just some bad tempered alpha males with droopy moustaches. I have considered joining the HMS Cossack Association in a desperate attempt to shore up what remains of my childhood dreams, but it probably wouldn't work.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 7:53 am