“I think we need a new national anthem,” my brother stated as we drove away from our parents’ place last night. I’ve known my brother (who declines to be named in my ‘blog so “my brother” he shall remain) for more than 40 years, so the abruptness of this assertion, the positing of this notion with no preamble, came as no surprise to me.
“What’s wrong with the old one?” I asked.
“Advance Australia Fair has a bit of a boring tune,” he said.
Then I understood. Mum, Dad and he had just been watching Julie Andrews and Rock Hudson in Blake Edwards’ DARLING LILLI (1970). And not for a dare. When I explained to Mum later that the reason I hadn’t watched most of it was that I didn’t really like Julie Andrews, she wasn’t impressed. No one is. It’s a hideous admission of a stunted emotional life.
I was in the adjacent room on Dad’s computer and I could hear the soundtrack with an awful clarity. There was a scene where what I presumed to be French soldiers sang La Marseillaise. Let’s face it, few national anthems can beat that one. I vaguely heard Dad saying something similar.
However, when I said, “the old one” in my conversation with my brother, I meant God Save The Queen. This is how the conversation went after that.
TJK: You used to sing God Save The Queen in school?
PJK: Yeah, didn’t you?
TJK:We sang Advance Australia Fair.
PJK: For my first three years at primary, every Friday assembly. “Send her victorious!”
TJK: She is Queen of Australia.
PJK: “Hap-py and Glorious!” You never did that? You were only two years behind me.
TJK: No. I missed the free milk programme, too.
PJK: “Long toooo reign over us…”
TJK: Whatever the song is, it needs a better tune. You know what I used to like singing? The Road To Gundagai. Although if you look at the lyrics, the protagonist or the singer seems to be on their way to heaven so that’s a problem. But the song is tuneful. Pleasant. And it mentions Australia.
PJK: Don’t all national…
TJK: I don’t think England cracks a mention for the first verse of God Save The Queen.
PJK: What about the sheep-stealing anthem? Waltzing Matilda.
TJK: Don’t like the tune.
PJK: Queensland version.
TJK: Still don’t like it.
PJK: What if we got someone to work on it, like Tim Freedman from The Whitlams.
TJK: No Aphrodisiac!
PJK: Not appropriate.
TJK: Better than that–Blow Up The Pokies.
PJK: That’s very Aussie.
TJK: Or maybe something about how we want to blow up everyone else.
PJK: That’s too negative.
TJK: Something for the Stop the Boats crowd. Fuck Off We’re Full – of Bogans.
PJK: What about the theme to Kingswood Country?
TJK: Working Class Man sung to the tune of Advance Australia Fair? Or the other way around. Whatever Hillsy does in his act.
PJK: Well, if Adam Hills came up with it, you know it’s good for Australia.