In Competition No. 2936 you were invited to propose lyrics for a new British national anthem. Tom Shakespeare recently suggested that now might be a good time to ditch ‘God Save the Queen’ — ‘terrible tune, with banal lyrics’ — and replace it with something that more accurately reflects contemporary Britain. My favourite, in an entry whose tone varied wildly, was Bill Greenwell’s jaunty reimagining of ‘Hit Me with Your Rhythm Stick’ by the late, great Ian Dury, which is refreshingly lacking in jaundice, sentimentality or jingoism. He takes £35. The rest earn £30.
From Killeen to Aberdeen, on the grid in Milton Keynes,
From Indian Queens to Letterbreen, every Jack and every Jean:
Pour more fizz for Lizabeth, pour it, pour it,
Iechyd da and hail-well-met, pour it, pour it,
Pour more fizz for Lizabeth, toast her till we’re out of breath,
Roar it, roar it; roar it.
From the bars of Crossmaglen to the pine trees of High Spen,
From the Fens to Llanedwen, all the women, all the men — (Chorus)
From the bakers in Dundee to the golf at Rhos-on-Sea,
Pity Me, and Daventry, everybody, sing with me — (Chorus)
In the crofts of Muckle Roe, on the sands at Westward Ho!,
Clitheroe and Wivenhoe, all the people, high and low — (Chorus)
From the well at Derrynoose, to the station at Caersws,
In Drumgoose, the river Loose, in your home or in your hoos — (Chorus)
Down in Splatt and up in Twatt, in the pub at Pentregat,
At St Catz and Battle Flatts, we’ll roll out the welcome mats — (Chorus)
There’ll always be a UK
While there’s a crown to pimp,
Wherever there’s a club to buy,
A zombie Colonel Blimp.
There always be a Britland
While Britart markets kitsch,
Wherever there’s a budget shop,
A tax break for the rich.
There’ll always be an Albion
While there’s a public school,
Wherever there’s a Daily Mail,
A public you can fool.
There’ll always be an Airstrip,
And One shall be its name,
To preach fair play to all the world
And play a dirty game.
God save this sceptr’d isle,
Field, farm and country mile:
Lord, grant us peace.
Our dear democracy
Loathes Euro-hypocrisy —
Keep us from these.
You who seek Britain’s shores —
Know well our open doors
Must close one day.
Albion, fair archetype,
Bridles at Brussels tripe
So, from continental hype
Spare us, we pray.
We love her, yeah, yeah, yeah
The great UK K K K.
We’re glorious and grand
And we’ve folk of all persuasions,
There’s freedom in our land
And we dress for big occasions
’Cos we’re BRITISH! And we know that can’t be bad.
We’re BRITISH! And we know we should be glad.
North, South, East and West
We’re all in this together;
Great Britain is the best,
Who cares about her weather?
For we love her, though she may not rule the sea,
We love her, she’s the home of you and me.
We love her yeah, yeah, yeah,
The great UK K K K.
(To the tune of I Vow to Thee My Country)
Our fathers went before us to till this fertile land,
The herdsman and the trader, the poorest farmer’s hand,
The land is what we’ve made it and we are of the land,
The cities and the pastures, the humble and the grand.
Our democratic principles have shown the world the way,
Our laws since Magna Carta are valued every day,
It’s always been our nature to take in refugees,
Our diversity and culture’s enriched from overseas.
We’ve always fought for Europe, we did in two world wars,
With Churchill’s inspiration it was a noble cause,
We’re tolerant and practical and ought to take the lead,
We’ve centuries of history and now’s the hour of need.
We’ve always been a nation of science and invention,
Our global reputation remains beyond contention.
But we are part of Europe and should be at its heart,
For Europe needs us badly and we must play our part.
No. 2939: Animal crackers
Salvador Dalí had a pet ocelot, Gérard de Nerval walked out with a lobster. You are invited to supply a poem about a famous person and an unlikely pet. Please email entries of up to 16 lines to email@example.com by midday on 9 March.
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