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I When your name lets you know your place.

Byline: Ian PARRI

'LL never forget the eerie pall of pink light that illuminated the glass sarcophagus as I stepped into the chill room.

There he was. Vladimir Ilich Lenin, in a natty black suit and sporting that trendy ginger goatee beard, lying there as if he was fast asleep, as he has done since 1924.

You must have really made it, for better or for worse, for someone to think that it's worth their while to have you stuffed and pickled, and put on public display for all that time.

Somehow, I don't fancy it, though, and I think I'll settle for a simple cremation when my number's up, thanks very much.

Much more appealing is the notion of having a place named after you. Lenin and Stalin both managed it, bully for them.

Yes, Stalingrad became Volgograd, when the Kremlin finally owned up to the fact that Stalin wasn't exactly some cuddly favourite uncle. But Lenin must be spinning in his mausoleum on Red Square at the thought that Leningrad has gone back to its Czarist roots, and is known once again as St Petersburg. Drat.

Titograd, the capital of the Yugoslav republic of Montenegro, has gone the same way, and is now known as Podgorica.

Washington, however, has stayed the course, while Saigon has been known as Ho Chi Minh City since 1975. And, as far as I know, 19th century Welsh industrialist John Hughes' name lives on in the Ukraine, where the city of Yuzovka is named in his honour. Mind you, it was known as Stalino between 1924 and 1961. But, what of our own political leaders? Surely they haven't had places named after them? Don't you bet on it.

And they're very apt places, too. There's a Blairsville in deepest redneck Georgia, USA, for a start, but we won't go into that.

Then there's Morganstown, down the road from the posh Cardiff suburb where the esteemed Rhodri was raised.

Not only is it near to Cardiff, but it has wonderful views of Cardiff, and is the farthest north most Cardiffians ever venture. Did I mention that it's near Cardiff?

Ieuan Wyn, of course, has Jonesville named in his honour. It's a parochial little place in the backwaters of Hillsdale County, Michigan, where the greatest of dreams go blisfully unfulfilled.

Nick Bourne - he's the Welsh Tory leader, silly - would possibly tell you that Bourne ville, in Normandy, is named in his honour . But I can reveal that in reality it's Bournville, near Birmingham, built by confectionery magnate George Cadbury. It cannot be sheer concidence that the Tories are seen as being as useful as a chocolate fireguard.

And what of Lib-Dem boss Mike German? Why, he has a whole country named after him. It's a place that's no where near as efficiently run as in the past, and is no where near as powerful as they like to think that they are. Spooky, eh?
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Title Annotation:Comment
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Feb 5, 2003
Words:489
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