Monday, January 04, 2016

From O. Reader

All things national...

As R knows, while respecting local identity and culture, I don’t do national anthems. However, there has been a lot of recent interest in rugby this side of the pond. And - for a day or so, England was out of the World Cup and Wales was still in! So someone sent me a phonetic version of the Welsh National Anthem. It was reportedly used by supporters who - shame, shame - don’t actually know a word of Welsh. It was written by a Welsh poet from Swansea with a good sense of humor - and this is the slightly cleaned up version.

My hen laid a haddock, one hand oiled a flea,
Glad barks and centurions threw dogs in the sea,
My guru asked Elvis and brandish Dan’s flan,
Don’s muddy bog’s blocked up with sand.

Dad! Dad! Why don’t you oil Auntie Glad?
Can oars appear on beer bottle pies?
O butter the hens as they fly.

Devotees of British “culture” and gaffs will remember how not knowing the actual Welsh words harmed the career of a British politician, John Redwood, many moons ago. Appointed as Secretary of State of Wales, he attended some function when they played the national anthem, about which he was obviously clueless, and he desperately tried to mouth along, hoping that no-one would notice. Alas for him, the cameras focussed right up to his mouth and stayed there, and it was a delight on national news for several days.

Yup - my hen laid a haddock indeed.


  1. An occasional reader2:58 PM

    Paul Robeson had a lot of contacts with the Welsh. Some of the people I have sung with remember him appearing at the Welsh Eisteddfod very many years ago when he got his passport back and was allowed to visit the UK again. He made a film about Welsh miners, filmed in the South Wales coalfields, called Proud Valley, made by the Ealing Film Studios. I now live where the South Wales coalfields used to be, and went to school in the same street as the Ealing Studios, and - wearing another hat - used to call on many of the minor actors and film crews who once worked there. But, don't get me started...

  2. Don't get you started? Sounds like a future post to me ...

  3. An occasional reader1:35 AM

    I always felt a bit sorry for Paul Robeson. He made a concerted stand for civil rights when it wasn’t fashionable, and did some courageous things. But, attracted to the stage-managed appearance of no discrimination when he visited the Soviet Union, he was taken in by Stalin. By the time civil rights became the hot topic with Martin Luther King and others, he was old, tired, and sidelined.

  4. Intriguing story. Rugby, civil rights, anthems. I didn't know Paul Robeson, thanks OR.