Sunday, October 12, 2003

Sometimes form is as important as content.

I can’t ever remember hearing the Japanese national anthem before today’s Scotland game, but the mournful, beautiful version sung by the choir and two singers was deeply affecting. Words like ‘Heimat’ floated unbidden into my mind. Shaven-headed Japanese props had wet faces and some others were only just holding onto it (my observation, based on years of watching Wales, is that players who cry during the anthems are also doomed to cry after the game).

The choir then did ‘Flower Of Scotland’ in EXACTLY the same style. It was bloody awful. Just as if the Mike Sammes Singers (older UK surfers will remember and perhaps shudder) had given it the inimitable ‘Sing Something Simple’ treatment. The players sang along but looked embarrassed.

Yet the tune and words hadn’t changed. It’s just that ‘Flower Of Scotland’ simply cannot be sung like a lullaby - not at a rugby match anyway. It needs to be sung as by a marching army.

If they sang the World Cup version at Murrayfield England would put sixty points past them. When they’d stopped laughing.

UPDATE - just heard a Talk Sport presenter (English) saying that it sent shivers down his spine. Does he mean it or is it a plot to emasculate the song ?

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