Friday, 8 August 2014

A Great British Export…Not!

Though there were certainly many dark chapters in the history of British colonialism and the creation of  the British Empire, there are a number of positives that should not be forgotten. It's role in the spreading of democracy for example (though I guess that doesn't count for all those former African colonies that within years of becoming independent found themselves being run by maniacs and despots); the legal system; railways; cricket.
But in the second of my posts in the aftermath of the Commonwealth Games, I'd like to focus on what is, I feel, one of the less successful legacies of British colonialism - the shitty national anthem.

Come on, admit it. Nearly every national anthem that you heard being played in Glasgow (perhaps with the exception of the Home Nations, who interestingly didn't actually use 'God Save The Queen') was little more than a depressing, soul-crushing dirge that seemed more to mourn victory than celebrate it.

Take this one - now I'm not going to tell you which Commonwealth country it's from - that's for you to find out. But have a listen:

And here's another…

Oh yes, they're both very deep and meaningful, very serious and upstanding, but come on, they're not exactly uplifting (no offence to the nations involved). And I think that's because these anthems have been modelled on the British national anthem, which I'm afraid to say has to be one of the most depressing anthems ever written (no offence, your Majesty).

The solution?
I'm not really sure there is one, I'm afraid. The opportunity to bestow upon the world a legacy of bouncy, catchy, sing-along to, dance-along to national tunes was lost the moment the present UK national anthem was published in Thesaurus Musicus way back in 1744.
Of course, it may be possible that one day someone invents a time machine and travels back to that fateful day to undo the damage that was done (after dealing with a lot of more important 'bad-days' in history, such as the birth of Hitler); if they do, it would be nice to think that they'd go for something a little more upbeat, such as:

Feel free to make your own recommendations…and a bonus mark to anyone who can identify the two nations featured above!!