Scotland The Great - Alternative Anthems
- Doug Johnstone
- 22 January 2009
Flower of Scotland has run its course as our national song, reckons Doug Johnstone. Time to unearth some possible replacements
For a country with such a fine musical heritage and tons of songwriting talent, Scotland has piss-poor candidates for a national anthem. ‘Flower of Scotland’, ‘Scotland the Brave’ and ‘Highland Cathedral’? Really? Even worse, a poll to find an alternative last year elected Runrig’s ‘Loch Lomond’, followed by some Big Country guff and that horrible ‘Caledonia’. Surely we can do better? Surely we can muster an anthem to be proud of?
Here are some suggestions – some serious, some not so. A little bit of ‘Scotland’s Shame’ by Mogwai? OK, it’s not exactly a terrace chant, but there’s plenty of power in them chords. A similar downbeat sentiment can be found in Ballboy’s excellent ‘I Hate Scotland’, although the effect on the tourist market might not be that great.
A more positive message might be portrayed with Primal Scream’s ‘Come Together’. Then again it only really makes sense on a mash of class As, so maybe not. Teenage Fanclub have long represented all that’s good about Scotland but don’t really have a standout anthem, although ‘Sparky’s Dream’ is cheery enough to do the trick at a push.
If epic grandiosity is needed, surely Snow Patrol’s ‘Run’ comes into consideration, although Leona Lewis has kinda spoilt that now, and let’s face it, the boys are really Irish anyway.
If sentiment doesn’t matter too much and a singalong is all that’s needed, then Franz Ferdinand’s ‘Take Me Out’ or The Fratellis’ ‘Chelsea Dagger’ are worth a punt. The latter is already sung at footy matches anyway.
But if you’re looking for a serious, heartfelt option with plenty of verve and the everyman factor, can we really look beyond The Proclaimers’ ‘I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)’? A wee re-jig of the lyrics to incorporate a self-deprecating sense of national identity and we’ll all be walking 500 miles in the name of Scottish pride.