William Blake’s The little black boy, redux:
My mother bore me in the southern wild,
And I am white, but O! my soul is black;
White as an angel is the English child:
But my soul’s black, as if bereav’d of light.
But post-Borat I can’t think of anything more admirable than a white Russophone Kazakh (with a black soul) chanting the praise of a predominantly white English team (using a genre principally associated with black people):
The victory cry, the voice of the stadium stands,
And que será, será: for us you are the champions,
And we will raise our flags high in honour’s name
And perhaps Manchester will soon hear this song!
I hope that’s reasonably close to this:
Vozglas pobedy, golos tribun stadiona,
I nesmotrya ni na chto, dlya nas vy – chempiony,
I my podnimem flagi vysoko vo imya chesti,
I mozhet skoro etu pesnyu uslyshit Manchester!
The lyricist’s real name is Yevgeniy Gekht, and the music for the Red Devils anthem was written by Nacho, a Spanish student and lifeguard. “Manchester United” has 740 plays on YouTube, 187 on SoundCloud, and 667 on MySpace, as well as an enthusiastic response from the Malaysian ManU supporters club. I can but dream of such reactions, and I hope that one day Man U will invite him and other composers of unlikely musical tributes to perform at half-time. At that stage, someone will probably ask whether his nom de guerre is a tribute to Norman Whiteside. “No,” he will say, “Norman’s true surname was Backside,” and the great man will emerge and smite him.
“How interesting!” a BSc will cry, “this is a crisis of People, Book, and Land which is both more pronounced but also qualitatively different from those found in numbers eight and nine of this Top Ten. Of course, the author can’t have been very old when the Soviet Union collapsed, and he doesn’t have the dubious advantage of being able to draw on World War II or the Communist period.”
But what have sociologists ever done for us?
Here’s WTB’s SoundCloud playlist:
The Muscovite rapper Guf/Гуф also touches on the white-body-black-soul (but not football) in “Planka” (2002):
You ask: “Who are they? Where did they come from?”
We’ve only just been born, haven’t yet grown up.[?]
I repeat, hip-hop does not mean everything to me,
But I have white skin and a black soul.
Ty sprosish’: “Kto eto takiye? Otkuda oni vzyalis’?”
My tol’ko chto rodilis’, eshchë ne podnyalis’.
Ya povtoryayu, khip-khop ne znachit vsyë dlya menya,
No u menya belaya kozha i chërnaya dusha
Here he is with his granny, Tamara Konstantinovna, in “Original Ba[bushka]”:
And here they are in a news clip:
- 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. 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. 5: Match (The Match) by Splin (Splean (spleen)) (2006)
Yet another Anglophile.
- Top 10 Russian football songs: No. 9: Okolofutbola (“Round Football”, ahem) by Feduk (2013)
The hiphop theme of a cinematic tribute to Spartak ultras: “Stand in line with your brother and don’t take one step back / Russian brigades, like a bumper, ram our opponent.” Extras: Russian football hooliganism’s English roots; Anglicisms in a Russian hooligan lexicon; and use of “hooligan” in Russian before English, in an 1892 decree issued by a Petersburg mayor of Scottish descent.