Sunday, 9 September 2012

Averbakh 11: A football chant.

With all the heavy going material, it is time to compensate with a football chant!

On page twenty-three of the English version, Averbakh relates that a childhood hero of his was the footballer Fyodor Ilyich Selin (1899-1960), who played for Moscow Dynamo for most of his playing career. This club was instituted by the Cheka.

Selin had ginger hair, which might have seemed incongruous on the football pitch (Moscow Dynamo's team colours were blue and white). The lyrics, absent from the English edition, translate as:

The football world is pure and green, Мир футбола чист и зелен.
The green of the meadow and forest green. Зелен луг и зелен лес.
And into that continuous green И вот в ту сплошную зелень
Redhead Selin somehow clambered.Рыжий Селин как-то влез.

Note that the rhyme scheme is something I have forsaken. The meaning, in addition to the obvious one of going onto the pitch, of the cry is that he forced himself into the first team. Observers had to concede his class as a footballer.

The translator was probably right to excise this. In the English version there is no je ne sais quoi.

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