Thursday, April 20, 2006

Basil At The Foreign Office

Without a trace of irony, the British Foreign Office has launched a campaign called “Avoiding Penalties,” designed to help English football fans navigate the continent during this summer’s World Cup.

Chief among their tips: “Don't mention the war!

Or as Der Spiegel put it in their article titled England Prepares to Invade Germany, “The English are also dissuaded from making references to World War II, which might upset German sensibilities.”

Would similar-themed advice have been dispensed by a different government if Avraham Grant's side had made it through? Or am I being impolite to event hint at It?

On a lighter note, the hooligans have also been discouraged from singing such popular ditties as 10 German Bombers, the Dambusters March, and that old favourite of mine, Stand up if you hate Germans. My grandmother used to sing me to sleep with that one. Chants such as “two world wars and one World Cup” are strictly verboten.

It’s also widely reported that the Foreign Office is publishing a translation guide for the football traveler: schlusspfiff means final whistle, the linienrichter is the linesman, and a Bananenschuss is a curving cross.

The translations of “Can I have another beer, please?” and “May I pitch a tent in your back garden?” have proved more controversial. I suspect latter to be a good-only-in-a-Berlin-nightclub euphemism.

While we’re at it, the Glossary (here's the whole thing in PDF) covers a few more useful phrases:
  • Gewaltbereit: Prepared to use violence
  • Kampfausrüstung: Riot gear
  • krawalle: Rioting
  • Krawallmacher or randalierer : Hooligan
  • Papagei: Parrot (as in “sick as a parrot,” and no, I have no idea what they mean)
  • Razzia: Raid
  • polizeibekannt: Known to police
  • raedelsfuehrer: Ring-leader
  • randalieren: Go on the rampage
  • randalierer: Hooligan
  • schlaegerei: Brawl
  • schlagstock: Truncheon
  • Spezialeinsatzkommando: “Specially trained police officers who are primarily deployed for hostage-taking situations, bank robberies and other serious violent crimes.”
  • stinkefinger: Middle-finger salute.
  • And since we wouldn't want to end on a sour note, it bears mentioning that the Glossary itself smooths things over on its final page: Die Welt zu Gast bei Freunden is the German for this year's World Cup slogan: "A Time to Make Friends."

    We'll see how well the randalierer make friends this summer.


    At 7:07 PM, Blogger Andy Grabia said...

    Fuck me. That is awesome! Great post, Avi!


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