Saturday, 13 February 2010

Guantanamera and national anthems again




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.


11 comments:

tony said...

Each Year At The Rugby League Final ~ Old Trafford We Always Sing Billy Blake's Jerusalem It Works For Me!.

Jaycee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
KAZ said...

It's a myth that Liverpool and Everton supporters get on together.
But for some reason Evertonians loathe and detest poor Rafa above all the rest.

white rabbit said...

Tony - Works for me too. I'd love to nick back in a loop in time and meet Blake. Deliciously crazy guy...

JayCee - welcome to my humble blog. I do miss Monsieur Le Genou as he is known to the French. I see you are from Lincolnshire too. Do you know him? Are you him in disguise?

To new readers: Ron Knee was a legend in blogworld, now sadly no longer blogging :(

Kaz - Yes I knew the cliches about endearing scousers arm in arm, red and blue, was a myth. It's one of those arguments, like the Tottenham/Arsenal north London one I'm not joining in on!

Happy Valentines even if my card hasn't arrived ;)

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Jerusalem is a winner but they are all songs about lines drawn in the sand that had little meaning a 1000 years ago and will have no doubt a new meaning in another 1000.

Leigh Russell said...

Not a fan of rugby but I do like the sound of blood splatter patterns and various other residues... I love writing the Scene of the Crime chapters...
If you buy my book, I'll buy yours! How's that for a proposition?
Thank you for burrowing your way over to my blog. Please visit again - but I should warn you to enter with care - one of my followers is a white cat...

Leigh Russell said...

Oh my ears and whiskers, I forgot to leave a link to amazon.co.uk -

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cut-Short-DI-Geraldine-Steel/dp/1842432710

I think they're well stocked. amazon.com are down to 1 copy again - after selling out in a week last month, they are about to do the same again this month. Another 500 are allegedly on their way... so they say... personally, I think they fell down a rabbit hole en route...

white rabbit said...

DHG - See above ;)


Leigh Russell 'If you buy my book, I'll buy yours! How's that for a proposition?'

It's a deal. I let you know when this has been done at my end! Consider yourself blogrolled :D

Jaycee said...

Dear Mr Rabbit, I was the person responsible for the image manipulation, it seemed such a waste to see all that work go to the bin. With the help of the other chap involved I got the blog back on its feet. I must say that I hated the black design of the page. Looks much cleaner now, don't you think!
Ronald was our local builder (we are into catering and property development and I myself design for the web)

Jaycee said...

PS I seem to have deleted my previous comment, I wanted to edit it to put the extra information in but it seems that you cannot do that on this platform. Sorry! a bit new to this!

white rabbit said...

Jaycee - Ah! I see.....

I've blogrolled Mr Frog. Give my best to Ronald when next you see him and tell him he's sorely missed. Oha nd ask him if he's up for some building work later in the year.

Cheers!