Singer Aleksandr Vasil’yev apparently played as a child for FC Spartak Leningrad,1 and comments that the entire male population uses football to discharge negative energy, thus connecting No. 5 in my Top 10 Russian football songs with the name of Vasil’yev’s band. Splin is the OED’s spleen2 – “Excessive dejection or depression of spirits; gloominess and irritability; moroseness; melancholia” – which the Russians may have borrowed from us via the French. The French regarded this type of spleen as endemic to the English, a view reflected by Wilkie Collins in Woman in White – “‘Poor dear Percival!’ cried Count Fosco, looking after him gaily; ‘he is the victim of English spleen!'” And the Russians followed them in this – see e.g. Aleksandr Chudinov‘s 1894(?) Dictionary of foreign words and Pushkin’s Yevgeniy Onegin, here translated by Henry Spalding:
His malady, whose cause I ween
It now to investigate is time,
Was nothing but the British spleen
Transported to our Russian clime.
The stadium’s full of people – time to start the match
Time to start the match … Time to start …
Polnyy stadion narodu – vremya nachinat’ match
Vremya nachinat’ match… Vremya nachinat’..
In the lyrics Vasil’yev slags the provincial (Sverdlovsk) reggae of my No. 10, Argentina-Yamayka 5-0, by Chayf, in what I take to be a reference to an away (cup?) match at FC Ural Yekaterinburg. Apparently the World Cup has finished, and I was already having doubts about this project, but I will not abandon it, for No. 4 is quite marvellous.
You may like Splean’s Bonnie and Clyde, or you may not:
Splin is apparently often used for the soundtracks of Aleksei Balabanov’s films, of which I have unfortunately seen none.
Anecnotes [ + ]
|1.||↑||WP says, however, that the professional setup was disbanded before he was born.|
|2.||↑||Unhappily for childish souls, spleen, the mammalian abdominal organ, is selezenka in Russian.|
- Top 10 Russian football songs: No. 7: the unofficial anthem of FC Zenit St Petersburg (1981)
It takes its tune and several lines from a 1960s song evoking the Siege of Leningrad and a verse and style from Liverpool fans’ 1979 performance against Dinamo Tbilisi of You’ll Never Walk Alone.
- Top 10 Russian football songs: No. 10: Argentina-Yamayka 5-0, by Chayf (1999)
Our women forgive us our weakness / Our women forgive us our tears / They forgive the whole world its laughter and mirth – / Even Argentina.
- Top 10 Russian football songs: No. 8: the 1938 Futbol’nyy Marsh (“Football March”) by Matvey Blanter, composer of Stalin-era patriotic ditties
With a recording of a barrel alarm clock, a Shostakovich anecdote, a copyright tussle between the Russian Premier League and the Russian Authors’ Society, and more Blatner material.
- Top 10 Russian football songs: No. 6: Manchester United FC by Whiteman the Blacksoul (2013)
Russophone Kazakh rapper tramples the identitarian jungle in praise of his idols. With William Blake, and Guf and his granny.