Poznan. 1: Footy and satiation

After my talk on science and atheism in Poznan, which, much to my delight, greatly angered some Catholics in the audience, I had a huge lunch (pictures will come within a day or two). I am now supine, resting up in my hotel like a python contemplating its next huge meal. (The term “huge meal” in Poland is a redundancy.) In the meantime, I have heard from Matthew Cobb about the footy team in this town. I quote his words (and a video he sent):

Poznan has a footy team, Lech Poznan, who have some “ultra” supporters who, when their team score, turn their backs on the pitch and jump up and down. They played Man City in Manchester a few years back and did this, to the initial bemusement of the City fans, who then decided to adopt it as their own. “Doing the Poznan”, it’s called. Now a regular feature of City matches (In the 80s and 90s City fans used to wave giant blow-up bananas, too, for no particular reason, but that’s another story – in fact, some old skool supprter on the left of the screen has one…).

In the meantime, I’ve been gone all day and have no idea what’s happening at the Olympics.


  1. nwalsh
    Posted August 8, 2016 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    Anxious to hear about the angered catholics.

    • Taz
      Posted August 8, 2016 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

      I wonder what they were expecting.

    • Claudia Baker
      Posted August 8, 2016 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

      As am I.

      • merilee
        Posted August 8, 2016 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

        Speaking of Catholics, there’s a hilarious post on FB today of the Poop’s big white collar thingie blowing up in the wind and the caption saying The Pope returns from the vet’s;-) (looks like a cone o’ shame)

    • dorcheat
      Posted August 8, 2016 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

      Dr. Coyne, please tell. Inquiring minds want to know and all.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted August 9, 2016 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

      angered catholics

      A useful non-Internet-Of-Things form of remote control central heating system. Just say the right words and you get this lovely radiant glow from the red faces and the hot air heating system huffs and puffs into action.
      More fun than pulling the wings off flies, and even Drosophila-botherers can’t fault the ethics.

  2. W.Benson
    Posted August 8, 2016 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    The only times I have seen bananas at football matches they were used as racist gestures to offend black players. Perhaps Jerry at Poznan and Matthew near Manchester could comment to this. Also, in western Ukraine, specifically Lviv, which was Polish territory between the two World Wars, Lviv ultras (hooligans) jump while chanting “Whoever doesn’t jump is a Moscovite,” at times waving white-power banners. This might seem strange at first, but like most repeating patterns, it has a good explanation. The Lviv chant dates from before the nationalist coup in Kiev and derives from the pre-WWI view in eastern Europe that Russians were ‘mongrels’ (Hitler and the last Ukrainian prime-minister used the term ‘subhumans’) of Asians with Europeans.

    • Posted August 8, 2016 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

      Bananas have indeed been thrown at black players – and still are in Spain and Russia. The Manchester City blow-up bananas were entirely innocent. You can see one of the left of the video. If you’re interested, you can watch this news report from 1988 which describes the whole fashion. NB don’t watch if you ard a Bradford City fan. https://youtu.be/oTmaXOcwdRo

      • Ken Elliott
        Posted August 8, 2016 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

        There are several bananas in the Man City crowd. You learn something new every day.

    • Posted August 8, 2016 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

      The “coup” was actually a peaceful overthrow of an unpopular pro-Russian government by grass-root pro-Western protests. We had similar events in 1997, but Russia apparently felt too weak to invade.

      I do not doubt that some Ukrainian soccer fans are racist because, unfortunately, this is a pattern in many countries.

      “Racist behaviour by football fans in Russia is damaging the country’s attempts to seek international respect for the increasingly big money domestic game ahead of its hosting of the 2018 World Cup. A supporters’ group for Russian champions Zenit Saint Petersburg provoked outrage this month by publicly urging the club not to sign any black players… In scenes reminiscent of Britain in the 1970s, players from Africa and South America still face monkey chants and brandishing of bananas… Zenit was fined 300,000 rubles ($9,732) last year when a fan brandished a banana at Anzhi’s Roberto Carlos…”

      However, vilifying the Other is much more pervasive. From a family member who likes watching Russian movies, I know of a recent trend to make film villains Ukrainian.

      Russian journalist Yulia Latynina thinks that, given the utmost intolerance of Russian regime to any assemblies of citizens, the well-organized mayhem done by Russian fans abroad suggests that they have been supported by government (source in Russian: http://www.novayagazeta.ru/columns/73473.html).

    • Tim
      Posted August 9, 2016 at 7:04 am | Permalink

      The banana thing at Man City was in connection with their then player Imre Varadi, who, for some reason, the fans nicknamed Imre Banana: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manchester_City_F.C._supporters#Inflatables_craze

      • Merilee
        Posted August 9, 2016 at 9:37 am | Permalink

        And don’t Detroit hockey fans throw real octopuses on the ice for some unknown reason?

  3. Randall Schenck
    Posted August 8, 2016 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    Whatever makes them feel better. One thing I recall from going to football matches in the U.K. that most Yanks may not know — there were no seats really. Standing room only. Is it still that way?

    • Posted August 8, 2016 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

      The Premiership mandates all-seater stadia since the Hillsborough disaster in ooh…1989 when 96 Liverpool supporters died in a crush at an all-standing end.

      Big loss of atmosphere, imo, but safer. Arsenal’s stadium is like being at a library: you are treated royally by stewards though. I remember being treated terribly as a 15 year-old by Oxford coppers in the 70s.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted August 8, 2016 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

        Thanks. I made it to a few matches in Norwich long ago. At that time they were Division 2 but later moved up.

  4. merilee
    Posted August 8, 2016 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    Speaking of black footie players, we watched Liverpool play our team, Barcelona, last night (I think the game was actually played Saturday) and Liverpool smeared us 4-0. Disgraceful. L. seemed to have at least 4 black players on the field, at least two of whom scored very impressive goals(our recording ended before the 4th goal). Not sure if my boy Messi’s new blond locks are to blame for Barça’s horrendous showing. Sort of black Neymar seems to be in Brazil for the Olympics. I have never personally seen any of this awful racist behavior.

    • Ken Elliott
      Posted August 8, 2016 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

      Liverpool lost their next match by the same 4-0 scoreline, but I don’t recall the opponent. No one as grand as Barca, though. Football can flatter in either direction quite often.

      • merilee
        Posted August 8, 2016 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

        Nice to hear;-) Hard to beat MSN (Messi, Suarez, Neymar) for skill and being team players/

  5. poltiser
    Posted August 8, 2016 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    I am glad you had a good time!
    Few fanatics in the audience –
    you are really lucky!
    It is POLAND – don’t you get?

    I am really happy –
    you are safe and all of this is only a matter of jokes!

    You really need to understand:
    1. Jesus was from Świebodzin and his mother
    2. Maria was from Częstochowa!

    Before WWII it was more complicated as
    Maria was from Częstochowa,
    Lwów and
    what as you can expect – slightly complicated matter…

    other important facts you might learn from “Golden bough”…
    or it is too old?

    I am glad you are safe and laughing!
    Best regards!

  6. Posted August 8, 2016 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    Little known fact.

    At the Euro Championships recently, everyone took up the the ‘huh’ chant of the magnificent Iceland fans. Yes, it sounded medieval and convincingly and frighteningly Viking.

    But I have it on good authority from my footie (JC, please note the spelling, you Americans always get footie vocab jarringly wrong to us Brits, and good on ya, Merilee, for getting it right) journo mate. To make the sentence comprehensible, my mate tells me that the the Iceland fans got the ‘Huh’ chant from a match in 2014 between Stjarnan and Motherwell. It was the Motherwell fans who started it and the Icelandic fans took it up.

    This video shows how the fans managed to keep time: something I always wondered about, as the beat appeared irregular. Still does, after watching this to be honest.


    • merilee
      Posted August 8, 2016 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

      Fun, but the “beat” does sound summat random.

      • Posted August 8, 2016 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

        Yeah, Merilee, the drummer is trying to drum 4/4. 1st bar, on the 1st beat: 2nd bar on the 3rd beat (just); 3rd bar on the 4 and bitth beat. Then he starts wandering into syncopation and the next few bars are, in respect to which beat in the bar, random and syncopated: and Kalinka-style speeding up. Maybe that’s why it sounds so disharmonious and unsettling.

        I don’t get the impression that he is that good a musician to create that effect. I think he’s just rubbish at counting.

        • Merilee
          Posted August 8, 2016 at 8:11 pm | Permalink


          • Posted August 8, 2016 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

            You’ll have to forgive me, Merilee, but I have no idea what a smiling frog emoji means. I can count beats but I’m rubbish at interweb graphics. Sometimes I feel so chuffin’ old. Cheers.

  7. Posted August 8, 2016 at 7:12 pm | Permalink


    Any chance there will be footage of your talk online somewhere? Preferably, it will include some snippets of the angered Catholics of course.🙂

  8. Mizuu
    Posted August 9, 2016 at 2:06 am | Permalink

    I was the non-angered atheistic part of the audience (the selfie person). I want to apologize on the behalf of that part of the room for the rest of people with their cringeworthy comments and questions.

    Especially for the gentleman sitting next to me who didn’t believe in Santa Clause and said we just got more evidence for Jesus than for Mohammed. And the lady who thought the only thing making religious people aggressive was their proximity to other (differently) religious people, because otherwise the faith is just that lovely social glue.

  9. Glandu
    Posted August 9, 2016 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    The term “huge meal” in Poland is a redundancy.

    Yes, and or a traditional wedding, you’ve got 4 in a row. With just 15 minutes between each. And it’s so good…

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