05 January, 2013


A song for England, eh?

The BBC World Service's regular arts magazine proggie, The Strand, is filling up its copious airtime by calling on listeners to nominate their country's song, ie some piece of music which in the listener's opinion captures the spirit or character of their home country.

And sure enough, some geezer in Nairobi facebooks in a nomination for "Jambo Bwana" to represent Kenya.

To show willing and offer encouragement, presentoose Harriet Gilbert puts forward a song which in her view captures the spirit of England.  I wonder what that might be, I thought, the words "Blue" and "Mink" coming unaccountably to mind as Harriet praises England as the crossroads of the world, the happy blend of many cultures.

And sure enough, a snatch of "Melting Pot" follows.

Well, I guess we do have "coffee-coloured people by the score", Hattie darling, but Gordelpus.

Mind you I don't think they'd get away with
Curly Latin kinkies
Mixed with yellow Chinkees
 these days.  Naughty.

Come back Bidisha Nosurname, all is — more or less — forgiven.

Update 2013-01-08

"Curly Latin kinkies".  Hmm.  "Curly black and kinkies" more like.  Tharr'll learn me not to cut and paste from song lyric sites, innit.

"Born in Hornsey, London, Gilbert was educated at the French Lycée in London and at a succession of boarding schools."

Don't see her much round Woolwich, then?

Yes, I feel your pain. It couldn't be Jerusalem, or Onward Christian Soldiers, or Land of Hope and Glory. Not that I'm especially fond of any of these, but I do feel they capture something about centuries of British identity better than Blue Mink.

Flanders and Swann dealt with this problem a long time ago.

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