I always do

Our local radio has started to play 'Always look on the bright side of life' quite regularly. This is very definitely A Good Thing.

Hearing it played so often - joining in every time, naturally - has made me reflect that it would make a truly brilliant national anthem, replacing the dirge we have. Imagine our Olympians standing on the podium, whistling away or our footballers lining up before the start of a match, waiting for the end of some grand South American 'we-are-absolutely-brilliant-and-we-won-a-war-in-1857' anthem, then being able to sing along with Eric Idle in a jolly, self-deprecatory way.

Schoolchildren would have no problem at all with the words.  They'd love it!  There's even a tiny sweary bit which they could all giggle over as they didn't sing it.

And (with a nod to Billy Connolly, who suggested the Archers' Theme for similar reasons) imagine if you were an immigrant and you became British? You've got the national anthem sorted before you even take the citizenship test - what a boost to your self-confidence and sense of belonging to your new home!

It'd definitely make the appearance of the Queen at any event required viewing, just to see if she starts to join in. Legend that she is, I imagine she would.

I've hated the national anthem for a long time now: it's just so tedious and trite.  Even the Queen hates it, I understand, which is why she was so impressed with the magnificent version orchestrated by Benjamin Britten, demonstrating what a great composer can do with the scraps of a 17th century French pub song.  The trouble with the Britten version is there is so rarely a full orchestra and choir available for all those street parties and royal wedding celebrations.  

So let's go for something more 'us'.  Instead of trying to out-Marseillaise the French, why not pick a song so charmingly British as this classic from one of our most famous exports of the last 60 years?


When you're chewing on life's gristle
Don't grumble, give a whistle
And this'll help things turn out for the best




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