National Anthem

Published by: Dolly on 3rd Jul 2018 | View all blogs by Dolly

I wouldn't say I've been glued to the telly recently, but I have been watching some of the games taking place, and been caught up in the oddity of national anthems. I'm not all that familiar with languages, I have enough problems with English. All the same, some of them do sound weird, even though I know which country its from. The most familiar are the French and German, but I've never heard the Croatian and Japanese anthems before and was completely thrown by them, probably by the language and their understanding of music, although everyone seem to join in the fun.

The English for their part seemed belt it out with gusto, well some of them did, and I wondered if people at home hummed tum-te-tummed along with it, or sang it out loud. There might be of course, others, with patriotic fervour coursing through their veins, who would leap to their feet in front of the telly and sing it louder than anyone else while saluting.

There was a time, back in the good old days of one telly channel when the presenters wore dinner jackets and dickey bows, or if you were female, an evening gown, when they played the national anthem and the end of the day's viewing, which usually occurred around nine thirty or ten at the weekend. Honest!

This also occurred in cinemas at the end of the last showing, and you were supposed stand as a mark of respect and not move until the anthem had finished. Some people though, would stand up near the end of the film, walk backwards up the aisle, and time it so they reached the exit just as the film finished and the anthem began and could make a quick getaway! Honest!

I did wonder if the queen ever sang silently along with while it was being sung to her, and whether she altered the words slightly, along the lines of: 'God save our gracious me, long live our noble me, God save our me, send me victorious happy and glorious

god save our me!'



  • poggle
    by poggle 18 days ago
    LOL. Or she might have made up some silly words long ago, extremely disrespectful of herself and mind-sing them when the NA starts up. One wonders (in a Queenly way) if these would include any really bad (or 'bed' as she would say) ones ...
  • Athelstone
    by Athelstone 17 days ago
    The National Anthem at the end of broadcasting persisted well into the 70s. By this time it was the practice to have some kind of religious or 'philosophical' programme as the final item at some point before midnight, often either an out and out sermon, or sometimes a 'chat' between a group of people. And of course, back in those days of VHF television, even when BBC2 started, giving us a third channel in 1967, there was no guarantee that your television could receive it. And there were only three channels for another 15 years until Channel 4 was launched. For those born too late or with poor memories, the anthem almost made it into the C21st, at least on the BBC, who stopped it in 1997.

    I remember the playing of the anthem in cinemas very well. I also recall that in those days, it was usual to have two films: an opening warm up or B-Movie then the main feature, even with a really long film, you expected an introductory movie of some sort. Sometimes the warm-up was better than the feature. Whatever, then came the National Anthem. There was a spoof version of Frankie and Johnnie were lovers, which had the line 'they were killed in the rush for the exit, when they played God Save the Queen'.
  • Squidge
    by Squidge 17 days ago
    Dolly - Russell Howard sang what he thought might be going through the Queen's head when the anthem was played...
  • Mat
    by Mat 17 days ago
    Still played on the radio.
  • Dolly
    by Dolly 16 days ago
    Hi Poggle. You could be right, I hear the queen has a wicked sense of humour!
  • Dolly
    by Dolly 16 days ago
    Hi Athelstone. I remember the two film programme well, and if you went to a 'posh' cinema, the Odeon for instance, during the interval between films, girls would come down the aisles with trays of ice cream, and a Wurlitzer would slowly rise up from the bowels of the cinema stage and musically entertain you while eating your choc ice in anticipation of the coming film!
  • Dolly
    by Dolly 16 days ago
    Hi Squidge. I'll have a look at that.
  • Dolly
    by Dolly 16 days ago
    Hi Mat. Are we talking radio 4 here?
  • Mat
    by Mat 16 days ago
    Hi Dolly,

    I'm afraid so, yes. I have a manageable Radio 4 habit, and I dabble in 5, but yet to plunge the full Radio 3 wanker.
  • Athelstone
    by Athelstone 16 days ago
    4 while I cook, 5 for cricket. 4 also for the morning news and the smug, insufferable, self-made bigot, John Humphreys; I like to start the day in a really bad mood. We didn't run to a Wurlitzer in Newbury, although we did have two proper cinemas for a while. The posh one was the Regal - all flock wallpaper and plush carpets, ushers and usherettes - and ice cream in the 'intermission'. I saw various Tarzan films, and 20,000 leagues under the sea, and was scared shitless by Babes in Toyland (probably best not to google that phrase now). And of course, the inevitable national anthem rounded the show off. Curiously the more downmarket cinema was an Odeon. That's where we had Saturday morning pictures. My dad didn't like taking us to feature films there, except when there was no choice because the Regal wasn't showing it. We saw Mary Poppins at the Odeon, braving a queue out of the door, along the wall and across the car park. Those were the days when a bloke would come out, count along the queue and announce 'We can only take up to this gentleman' and the rest of the queue would sigh but stoically wait the 3 hours or more (Pathe News, first film, intermission, main feature) for the next sitting. Then stand through the national anthem.

    The first time I met my grandfather, we watched television together while my dad did something or other out in the garden. I have no idea what it was we watched, but at one point the national anthem played and Grandad jumped to his feet. Right at that moment, my dad walked in with his paper and slumped into a chair. 'For heaven's sake, man,' snapped Grandad, 'Get to your feet.' We all stood in a row for the anthem, my brother and I shocked as we had never imagined it was possible to order our dad about. Grandad, turned his head and favoured us with a wink.
  • Mat
    by Mat 16 days ago
  • Lizzielion
    by Lizzielion 16 days ago
    The Playhouse, Felixstowe. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Pathe News, ice cream in the interval (with those little wooden spoons) and the National Anthem to finish off. Aah. Lovely.
  • Dolly
    by Dolly 14 days ago
    Hi Squidge, I'll have a look at Russel Howard
  • Dolly
    by Dolly 14 days ago
    Hi Athelstone. The Palace Theatre in Longridge, near Preston had a refurb which took it back took its original glory, plush seats, and seashell lampshades on the wall, and a stainless steel ticket machine that spewed out a 'proper' cinema ticket. You could also buy a mug of tea, and the first time we went I was impressed by the playing of the national anthem before the film. Everyone stood up for it, most holding a mug of tea, which was the best part of the evening. Very British!
  • Dolly
    by Dolly 14 days ago
    Hi Lizzielion. I have the same fond memories!
  • Athelstone
    by Athelstone 14 days ago
    Newbury is a town where over the years the council has been quite comfortable in bulldozing C14th buildings for now-unused car parks and bus stations. An early C20th cinema never stood a chance and no trace of the building remains. I haven't lived in the town for over 40 years, but the map suggests that there's a Poundland where it used to be. So, well done Longridge. Towns are dynamic things and I don't want to stand in the way of change. After all, we wouldn't have most of our iconic and much loved architecture if somebody else's favourite building, or field, or stream hadn't been sacrificed. But there's good and bad. Sometimes change is good and sometimes restoration is as well.

    Lord grant that Marshal Wade
    May by thy mighty aid
    Victory bring
    May he sedition hush
    And like a torrent rush
    Rebellious Scots to crush
    God save the Queen

    Apparently this has never been part of the national anthem, just a popular addition for a short period towards the end of 1745 (when it would have been 'King' of course).
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