Sunday, my son and I went to the annual NFL match at Wembley. Quick round-up of the game, as that's not really what this post is about.
First half was a bit slow and tentative, to say the least. But in the third and fourth quarters, the 49-ers really came alive. Got to feel sorry for the Broncos, to get an awesome running touchdown disallowed, but hey, that's the nature of the game, and rules is rules.
The annual International game at Wembley is always a blast. I've been to some pretty big events over the years, but nowhere has ever had the atmosphere that exists on that one day every year.
From the opening of the Tailgate party to the final whistle, it's amazing.
This year's pre-match show was good too. The Niner Noise and the Gold Rush put on a good show, generating a lot of crowd enjoyment. Similarly, My Chemical Romance, despite all my misgivings prior to the day, were really rather good. Like The Feeling who played the first Wembley match, they worked with the audience.
Unlike the Stereophonics last year, who did their level best to kill the atmosphere :(
But when it comes to the National Anthems, the organisers do need to be a bit more choosy. On the whole, it would be better if they picked performers that the Audience could sing along with, and show their patriotism, rather than stars whose only interest is to perform.
This year's American offering was diabolical. Michelle Williams from Destiny's Child screeched her way appallingly through the American Anthem, and the US guys sitting near us were finding it impossible to share their patriotism with someone so very much more interested in portraying her 'skills' than singing a tribute to her Country,
On the other hand, the British Anthem was played dead straight - no frills, no twiddles, just pure guitar magic. That's right, it wasn't sung, but played by the great Jeff Beck. Problem was, all the Brits were so in awe of his musicianship, that everybody forgot to sing!
Not that there's much interest in the National Anthem these days. It's not that the Brits aren't patriotic, they are. Especially since the Iran and Afghan Wars began. It's just that our anthem is so drear. And, I might add, if you sing the whole thing, quite offensive to the Scots!
Lord grant that Marshal Wade
May by thy mighty aid
May he sedition hush
And like a torrent rush
Rebellious Scots to crush
God save the Queen
I really think it's time that we had something that more people identify with. It would, I think, have to be a totally new anthem, as I can't think of anything out there already, that's totally suitable for the United Kingdom. Above all, it needs to be uplifting, and something that the British people can identify with, and want to sing.
While we're on the subject, it's also high time we had an English anthem. After all, the Scots have 'Flower of Scotland', the Welsh, St. David's Hymn etc. etc., but we do not have an official English anthem.
Let's face it, there's two immediate contenders - Hubert Parry's 'Jerusalem' and Edward Elgar's Pomp And Circumstance (Land Of Hope And Glory)
We are also the only component Kingdom of the United Kingdom not to recognise our Saint's Day officially. So how about joining the campaign to make St. George's Day a National Day of Celebration? Though quite why we should have a Roman Syrian as a national saint, I've not yet fathomed. St. Thomas A Becket Day would be more apposite. At least he was an English Saint.
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