Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tom Lehrer and His Russian Fans

It was to be expected that Tom Lehrer's 'Vatican Rag' would crop up in the wake of the Pope's visit to England and Scotland. And of course it was played on the popular BBC satirical programme 'The News Quiz'.

I blogged about Tom Lehrer and the 'Vatican Rag' before, but I didn't realise that he has a small, but passionate following in Russia (or rather russophonia) - over 20,000 hits in a google search. This Russian wikipedia article mentions 'The Elements Song' (the periodic table being discovered by Mendeleev) and 'Lobachevsky' as having direct appeal to Russian.

Here is his 'Lobachevsky', all with Russian-Yiddish accent, some Russian phrases and obvious folk motives:

Commenters on YouTube say their chemistry teachers use Tom Lehrer's Elements song in class. See if you can spot Polonium, the secret assassin's new favourite weapon, in this clip of a student trying to memorise the table:

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