National Anthem

This is my third post in the LBC series. Don’t forget to visit Marianne, Grannymar, Conrad, Ashok and Rumuser and read their takes on the topic.

I have problems with the national anthem of Great Britain which I is not only the National Anthem of The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Irelan but is also an anthem in use in many Commonwealth Countries.

Whenever England play one of the other home nations at sport then they have the luxury of their own “national Anthem” whilst the English have to put up with that awful 18th Century tune and its words calling upon God to save Our Gracious Queen. At international sporting events that involve any of the Home countries I would either abandon it’s use altogether or insist that it is played after an anthem or national song that is associated with the particular country playing.

There  by hangs a problem:What to play to represent England?

There will be those who favour Land of Hope and Glory which I can never hear without thinking of the following words:

Land of Soapy Water,

Mother’s having a bath.

Father’s looking through the keyhole ,

Having a jolly good laugh!

And anyway it is a bit jingoistic in it’s usual form.

Then there’s Jerusalem…which reminds one of large ladies in twin sets and pearls…and is anyway rather a satire on the state of the country. The Yeomen of England perhaps?

Where are the yeomen, the yeomen of England?
In homestead and in cottage
They still dwell in England
Stained with the ruddy tan
God’s air doth give a man
Free as the winds that fan
The broad breast of England

Of course  there is “Mad Dogs and Englishmen” or even the one by Flanders and Swann that goes:

The English!

The English!

The English are best……..

Many years ago I went to see a showing of D.W. Griffith’s highly controversial epic silent film “Birth of  a Nation”  at the King’s Lynn Festival. The showing was to be exactly as originally presented: In two parts and with piano accompaniment. Before the showing the elderly pianist spoke about the score  and warned us that when we heard the tune to God Save the Queen we were not expected to stand up, after all the tune had been used by at least fourteen other countries and principalities as their National Tune. I think it was from that day that I began to view our National Anthem with less fervour than might be expected.

As for Griffith’s film. A brilliant technical achievemnet and I could at last understand Leslie Phillips’ references to his “saucy Lillian Gish calendar” in the BBC comedy “The Navy Lark” However, I was very, very uncomfortable with the central tenets of the story.

For those who would like to know more about Flanders and Swann just type that into your favourite search engine. I have not provided the obvious link to You Tube as it might just cause offence. Humour from a bygone (and more nnocent ?) age.

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9 Responses to “National Anthem”

  1. Marianna Says:

    You bring up a good point re. the repetition of God Save the Queen. There was a time, we dutifully sang that one. Those words were forever etched in my young brain.

    I’m sure my classmates may even have done their best to “improve” the lyrics.

  2. Grannymar Says:

    Worth waiting for!

    I love your ‘Land of Soapy Water’! It would be one way to get all the kids singing, Big and small! 😉

  3. Magpie11 Says:

    And you didn’t try to improve the words? 😉 I remember watching the Calcutta Cup match some time a go. It was broadcast from Scotland. England were up for the Grand Slam. The crowd sang Flower of Scotland and I knew that England had already lost the game. Sure enough they did.

    I don’t know where land of Soapy water came from but those are all the words I ever heard….any suggestions anyone?

  4. Rummuser Says:

    Magpie, I shall send you a joke about your national anthem by separate email. Srictly stag.

    Great post. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. One needs to be either from GB or from one of the common wealth countries to understand the satire and I am glad that I am from one.

  5. Grannymar Says:

    I am a naughty old girl today and left a little work for you over at my place!

  6. Magpie11 Says:

    I saw, G M….My nearest book is the Shorter Oxford Dictionaryot The Phone Book! Ha Ha!

  7. Grannymar Says:

    I hope the phone book has an interesting name on it for Ramana. 😉

  8. Allen Williams Says:

    It was announcer Robin Boyle who had his saucy Lillian Gish calendar nicked, not Sub Lt Phillips.

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