Thursday, 7 June 2012

Pomp And Circumstances

Believe it or not there's a rumour going around that once, some years ago, England won some football match or other.

For a nation so usually reserved you'd think that, when questioned, we would shamefacedly admit that yes, the controversial second goal was a bit of a fluke and then quietly never mention 1966 again - but it seems that this is one of the areas where we are curiously happy to keep banging on about our victories.

I've been thinking about this recently as the Ukelele group were asked to play a patriotic medley of songs at some fete or other (and no, it wasn't a fete worse than death - and possibly not even worse than Chiswick, which i hear is a very bad fete indeed) - I immediately made my excuses for the day on the grounds of Terminal Indifference (UK is a nice place to live, don't get me wrong and i can't think of anywhere else i'd rather live (well....) - but i can't find it in me to have any great surge of pride in the place - i mean, we did invent the fried mars bar after all)

But the thing is - that after exhaustive discussion - they mostly came up with a bunch of World War II songs.  Pack Up Your Troubles, Hang Out Your Washing On The Siegfried Line, Bless Them All, It's A Long Way To Tiparari (you can't just dump them at the recycling centre apparently, they have to go to a specific rari plant) and Who Do You Think You Are Kidding, Mr Hitler (actually not a WWII song at all and specially written/recorded for classic sit-com Dad's Army)

OK so there was also Land Of Dope And Tory (erm...Hope And Glory), and all that Elgar stuff - but I, for one, found it a bit depressing that more than seventy years on we're still going on about how we kicked the arse of Naziism - and that's the best thing we can think of to say about ourselves.

Clearly we like to sing about our victories - so perhaps its about time to stop banging on about it and pick some other campaigns

Agincourt - how once, many years ago Henry V took the throne of France
Who Do You Think You Are Kidding Julius Cesar - a song about the brave resistance under the Roman rule
War of the Roses - how one bunch of people with silly haircuts beat another bunch of people with silly haircuts

And then there's our national anthem - well, it's a bit of a dirge isn't it?  Four verses of yodelling on about looking after the monarch and lets face it no one knows verse 2 or 3 and we quietly forget the one about "all rebellious Scots to crush"

So - what about a new anthem? Why not adapt some new songs for us to sing joyously as a nation that don't go on about how we won some war, how nice it is to wear a crown for a few years or any such stuff?

Well, frankly I can't imagine anything worse than allowing the likes of Gary Barlow, Lady GaGA or the composers of today to try and cobble together some new song - so the only option is to look to the past and, in the spirit of utter mischievousness I recommend the Yorkshire classic On Ilkley Moor Baht' at (translation: on Ilkley Moor Without A Hat)

We'd all have a great time singing along, no bugger from anywhere else would have a clue what we were on about and most important of all: it would make the medal ceremony at the Olympics more interesting

Wheear 'ast tha bin sin' ah saw thee, ah saw thee?
On Ilkla Mooar baht 'at
Wheear 'ast tha bin sin' ah saw thee, ah saw thee?
Wheear 'ast tha bin sin' ah saw thee?

On Ilkla Mooar baht 'at
On Ilkla Mooar baht 'at
On Ilkla Mooar baht 'at

Tha's been a cooartin' Mary Jane

Tha's bahn' to catch thy deeath o` cowd

Then us'll ha' to bury thee

Then t'worms'll come an` eyt thee up

Then t'ducks'll come an` eyt up t'worms

Then us'll go an` eyt up t'ducks

Then us'll all ha' etten thee

That's wheear we get us ooan back


The Bug said...

LOLOL - this is like that Old Woman Who Ate a Fly song, so may I just say, "eww!" And why didn't he have a bloody hat on?

As you know, I sing our national anthem in the car every morning (changing the last phrase to, "and the home of the Braves" to amuse myself). It's actually nice & bloodthirsty, if you think about it. Much more interesting than America the Beautiful, which is what some people would like.

Stephen Hayes said...

Yes, I often wish we had a national anthem in the States that we could actually sing without having won American Idol.

English Rider said...

I'm torn between "Solomon Grundy" and a nice French drinking song "When I die have them bury me in a cellar where there's some good wine"

Lydia said...

So that verse about the Scotts is interesting and news to me. I don't know the song you are proposing, but your lyrics seem up to the task.
Hey, I think we should have a Planet song!

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

bug - many anthems are quite bloodthirsty - particularly france

Stephen - something everyone can sing with gusto methinks

English - the French one sounds interesting

Lydia - the fourth verse was quite shortlived. We definately need a planet song. Possibly about how sad we all feel that Pluto got demoted

Michael said...

I thought you made that up! That should be your personal anthem.

Friko said...

Ilkley Moor in a hotel in Eckernfoerde? That's treason!

How about 'Roll out the Barrel'? Just in case England ever win another international trophy, and it's one the queen could sing along to.

susan said...

Me da taught wor that sang when ah wes fair lass. wey aye, he wes a geordie but a broad minded yen.