Anorak News | Jarvis Cock-Up

Jarvis Cock-Up

by | 20th, February 2004

‘SPEAKING of terrible British films, there can be few worse than the wartime effort, whose name escapes us, in which a German spy is rumbled by a plucky housewife when he asks directions to “Yarvis Bay”.


“Yarvis Bay?” she replies, looking puzzled for as moment. “You mean JARvis Bay! You’re a German spy aren’t you!”

What has this to do with Britain in the 21st century? More than you might imagine, actually.

The Guardian reports that Jarvis, the contractors at the centre of the Potter’s Bar rail inquiry and a string of subsequent controversies is “trying to improve its fortunes in time-honoured fashion – by changing its name”.

Not only that, but they’ve gone for a Latin name – Engenda – thus adding pretentiousness to their long list of unattractive qualities.

In true Jarvis fashion, things have already started to go wrong. A leading academic has already poured scorn on the new name, describing it, with admirable directness, as “bollocks”.

“It’s a very interesting name for Jarvis to have picked because the connotations are wrong for what it does,” says Deborah Cameron, the Murdoch professor of language and communication at Worcester College, Oxford.

“The new names are always Latin. That is another reason why people think it is such bollocks The thing that is particularly crappy about it is it is fake Latin. It is dignifying a very ordinary thing with a ridiculous label.”

Hear, hear. In the spirit of public service, we humbly offer our own suggestion, combining continuity and recognition with the exciting patriotism of the Britpop era: Jarvis Cock-up, of course.’

Posted: 20th, February 2004 | In: Broadsheets Comment | TrackBack | Permalink