Tag: Independence

Who will sing for England

 

I watched a documentary about The Proclaimers over the New Year. I take an interest in musicians and how they achieve success in the creative field. I’m not over-judgemental and try to find aspects to admire even if I don’t like the final product. Hence I can appreciate the clever construction of a song or piece of music which is not to my taste at all. I exclude the tuneless Bananarama from this. For those of you who do not know, The Proclaimers are a couple of identical Scottish twins who burst onto the scene with great energy (a must-have in my book) in the late 80s with their anthemic song “I’m gonna be”, which most will know better as “500 miles”. They arrived as something different in the music landscape, heavily influenced by punk, folk music and the musical political activism of Kevin Rowland of Dexys Midnight Runners (“Come on Eileen”.) They made a deliberate decision to sing in their broad Leith accents. In the documentary they came across as intelligent, articulate and rather dour, by no means an unwelcome attribute in these days of emotional incontinence. Talking heads were wheeled out to show that the band generated a strong Scottish fan base, not least by openly espousing the cause of Scottish independence. Krankie described how they had radicalised her and many of her generation. As we know, their intervention was not decisive on the 55:45 vote which, much like Brexit, apparently remains open to “interpretation”. Nevertheless, the twins produced a pivotal song called “Cap in Hand”. Here is the chorus:

But I can’t understand why we let someone else rule our land
We’re cap in hand.

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Independence

Stuart Beaker, Going Postal
Finland, Land of a Thousand lakes

Throughout this year BBC Radio 3 have been celebrating the centenary of Finnish national independence, their declaration of freedom from Russian rule on 6th December 1917. Being Radio 3, Sibelius’ name and music has been much invoked, including of course the unashamedly nationalistic Finlandia which has become the de facto anthem (despite his long-held opposition to the sung version, apparently only given up after many years – unaccountable beings, composers..)
I quote from Kids Britannica (free excerpt):

(1865–1957). To the world Jean Sibelius is one of the great composers of symphonies. To his fellow Finns, however, he is far more. They revere him as one of Finland’s greatest patriots. His music, inspired by Finnish myth and literature, roused national fervour and helped the Finns preserve their spirit despite the iron rule of Russia (1809–1917). His tone poem Finlandia is one of the noblest expressions of love of country in all music…

The BBC have habitually, and approvingly, referred to him as ‘fiercely nationalistic, a patriot’. The titanic irony of this in the face of their studied neutrality in the recent Catallonian saga, and their open dismay at our own current situation, has apparently passed the broadcasting grandees by.

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Postcard from Barcelona, No 2

Spanish police take on dangerous far-right neo Nazi

A week ago I wrote to you about the Loony Tunes Boat and the Catalan referendum. Messages from my son who lives there:-

Today its taking place. My son messages me as follows.

  • “Fucking fire brigade here fighting with police”
  • “Because police are battering civilians going to vote”
  • “They’re battering everyone even grandma and grandpa
  • “Apparently the Spanish police even sang a war chant before battering everyone”

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Postcard from Barcelona

Sido, Going Postal

My son works in Barcelona. Things are hotting up Catalonia, what with an “illegal referendum” being held on independence from Spain.

The problem faced by the Spanish authorities, is how to intimidate the Catalonians without causing a stink. You need to get heavy but not attract a lot of attention right?

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