I have to confess that I like to listen to the Danny Baker programme on Radio 5 Live on a Saturday morning. Danny Baker is a corpulent Millwall supporter, a sub-species generally to be avoided but he does a very witty and entertaining programme, mostly about football. Today he was musing about the Everton supporters singing 'Fat Spanish waiter/you're just a fat Spanish waiter' to Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez (for the footballingly challenged, Everton are also a Liverpool club - although I think they identify themselves as Merseyside generally - and rivalry is - erm - intense). Baker commented he wondered how many of them knew that the tune they were was using was Guantanamera, which he described - not entirely accurately methinks - as a folk song with political overtones.
Still it's a good song and here it is. There is a wider topic as regards what songs are cannibalised for terrace songs, a lot are nursery hymns but my personal favourite is 'Neville, Neville - your face is a mess' to the tune of David Bowie's Rebel Rebel.
The Six Nations rugby is under way and so my mind returned to the subject of National Anthems. The United Kingdom has a national anthem - God Save the Queen - and there is a universal consensus that it is rubbish. Three parts of the British Isles have brilliant anthems, First Flower of Scotland - damn - this is as good as it gets. Feast your eyes and ears - you don't need a drop of Scottish blood for a lump in the throat.
Then the Welsh have Land of My Fathers/Mae Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau. All together now... 'Mae hen wlad fy nhadau yn alwyl i mi / Gwlad bierdd a chantarion, enwogion o fri...' No, I haven't a clue either but brilliant stuff.
The Irish cheated a bit. The Irish Republic has a national anthem - The Soldier's Song - which is standard issue national anthem stuff and doesn't work for the north where the national anthem is - erm - God Save the Queen (the Irish rugby team is an all Ireland one) so they adopted Fields of Athenry as the rugby anthem. Here are the Munster supporters winding up the Sale players with Fields of Athenry. The Sale players look - erm - wound,
Unfortunately, a lot of this is really all about bashing the poor old English pantomime villains - who don't even have a decent anthem - just the gruesome God save the Queen. Now the rabbit has English, Irish and French ancestry so can be promiscuous in his loyalties rugbywise (I take the wonderfulness of the Marseillaise as read) but culturally I am English. where is the decent specifically English anthem? Maybe we don't do anthems.
It's just not English. The best shot is Blake's Jerusalem. It's been tried for cricket but not for rugby as far as I know. Maybe worth a try...
Here is Wild Bill Blake. I like Blake. I like this portrait. He looks what he was - a London artisan dressed up in his best clothes to have his portrait painted.