Top 10 Russian football songs: No. 5: Match (The Match) by Splin (Splean (spleen)) (2006)

Yet another Anglophile.

Aleksandr Vasilyev/Александр Васильев at a concert with Splean/Сплин at B1 Maximum Klub in Moscow.

Aleksandr Vasilyev/Александр Васильев at a concert with Splean/Сплин at B1 Maximum Klub in Moscow. Image: Håkan Henriksson.

Singer Aleksandr Vasil’yev apparently played as a child for FC Spartak Leningrad,[1]WP says, however, that the professional setup was disbanded before he was born. 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 spleen[2]Unhappily for childish souls, spleen, the mammalian abdominal organ, is selezenka in Russian. – “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 group’s name is Anglicised as Splean rather than Spleen following the example of the Beatles. “Match” is from the 2007 album Razdvoyeniye lichnosti (“Split personality”). All together now:

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.


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