Unofficial Anthems 1: Good Morning Britain

The Muse Olympic theme tune has been released and ho-hum, it’s the bastard lovechild of Mr Blue Sky, John Miles (!) and Flash-era Queen guitar squiggles meeting unironic Triumph-of-Will-style Laibach vocals. So usual Muse then. *boom tish*.

No it really reminds me of Laibach, in a rather unhealthy way…except I guess Leni would use a cameraphone nowadays? And wear a chavvy pink jacket covered in sponsor ads? And it all would have a terribly hip, or rather just partly terrible soundtrack (the inclusion of Sex Pistols to be vaguely shocking is NO surprise, actually…surprised Queenie didn’t get up and sing it herself given everything has to be ‘edgy’ yet completely obviously so nowadays, defeating the whole shock ethic, really. And then people play the ‘roles’ and pretend to be Disgusted From Tunbridge Wells. Brain-crushingly predictable. Surprised New Order and Kaisers are in there, though. They’ve learned not to try The Smiths though, LOL. Also Doctor Who theme? Uhoh wonder if BBC Worldwide Marketing have crashed the party? Love to know how the DJ segues between Winifred Atwell and Sugababes, that’s a genre clash worthy of Radio Clash!).

So I was thinking – what real anthems sum up Not-Great-But-Late Britain? And the Olympics? Well I hate anthems and their major chords and ‘ooh lets go to war!’ triumphalist stylings, but I think it should be something that reflects the dysfunctional and strange relationship of this Union, and the Olympics. First up in this series-of-so-many-til-I-get-bored is Aztec Camera – originally with Mick Jones, this acoustic version lets you hear the words of ‘Good Morning Britain’. Each verse is about one part of Britain and lays out the problems of the time, and the bad history, but then spells out the hope in making things better not from a false idea of past glories or cannon-fodder propaganda, but from a realistic place of a faded empire. ie. it’s shit, but we can change this.

The past is steeped in shame,
But tomorrow’s fair game,
For a life that’s fit for living
Good morning Britain.

That’s MY kind of anthem.

Not a big Aztec fan, but I LOVE this song and I wonder if any of the other Aztec back catalogue have the same political feel – I bet Bragg was livid when he heard it, it just summed up what he was trying to do in a catchy pop song, and the State of the Union as it was in 1990 – and in some ways still is: ‘Music’s food ’til the art-biz folds, Let them all eat culture’ and ‘Don’t be too black, don’t be too gay, Just get a little duller.’.

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