Bovril. The smelliest and most disturbing of drinks, and the one that a work colleague of mine insists in drinking every day at four pm even in the height of summer. He can't resist glugging that stinking concoction of beef extract down his dirty little throat.
Bovril is of course an interesting name. Perhaps you might think it comes from a Mr Bovril? Or an area; 'Bovril, Penge' for example? But noooo, no no no that would be too easy fact-o-rama-fans.
Bovril comes from two places; Bo comes from the latin for cow or ox, 'bos', which makes sense right? Fine, moving on.
Vril however has a very different origin. In 'The Power Of The Coming Race' (1870), a novel by the much forgotten Edward Bulwer-Lytton, Vril was an all powerful energy fluid used by a subterreanean humanoid race of the same name to gain immense power over their surroundings. For instance small baby Vril could destroy entire cities. The book was hugely successful, so successful in fact that at the time and indeed ever since, its had the effect on idiots that L. Ron Hubbard's equally fictional novels had on 1960s idiots.
You see, many readers in the 1870s thought that this book was so great, that it must be true, and that there is a secret Vril society somewhere in the world controlling everyone and everything. I shit you not. There have been a number of Vril obsessed groups across the 20th century.
First of all we have some wacky Aryans, who believed the Vril to be some sort of Neitzschean supermen that they could become if only they took over the world. They forgot of course that the Vril novel was written around 15 years before Neitzsche printed his theory of ubermensch.
This then ties in with UFOlogists who believed that the mythical Nazi-piloted Flugscheiben ("Flight Discs") and KSK (Kraftstrahlkanone, "force-ray cannon" — big lazer beams), were powered by Vril. These idiots got this idea from the legendary but real Wahrheitsgesellschaft - the 'Society for Truth' (which you may have seen in the popular Hellboy film, factfans!), a pseudo-scientific Nazi group that hunted about in the Himalayas for mystical rubbish, and devoted a lot of its spare time to looking for Vril. At the same time existed the Berlin Vril society, members of which included Hitler, Alfred Rosenberg, Heinrich Himmler, Hermann Göring, and Hitler's personal physician, Dr. Theodor Morell.
Then we have the new age twats, who thought that the Vril were descendents of Atlanteans. Real life ones. Guffaw.
Then we have the Hollow-Earth theory 'tards, who suspected that Mr Lytton had somehow burrowed into the earth and met the Vril. Mmm.
And we have people who think Jesuits rule the power of Vril. The French author Louis Jacolliot (1837-1890), who claims that he encountered Vril among the Jains in Mysore and Gujerat.' Helena Blavatsky, the founder of Theosophy, endorsed the reality of vril in her book Isis Unveiled (1877) and again in The Secret Doctrine (1888) and it became a belief of most theosophists. The LOSERS.
Hey, even Bowie was in on the act:
"Look out at your children / See their faces in golden rays / Don't kid yourself they belong to you / They're the start of The Coming Race".
But to go back to the beginning, the initial effect of this was that in the late 19th century, Vril was used as a sort of pop culture catchphrase to mean a life-giving potion or substance, and thus we have the glorious, wonderful, stinking of shite substance known as boVRIL. The LIFE GIVER.
Factorama extra: Bovril was invented (initially known as Johnston's Fluid Beef') to feed Napoleon's armies.)
Factorama extra extra: Bovril is one of the only commercial products to be endorsed wholeheartedly by a pope, with the slogan: "The Two Infallible Powers - The Pope & Bovril".) Maybe the Pope is a Vril too?