Sunday, September 10, 2006

A sense of patriotism...

I'm not sure where I'm heading with this one as I'm not exactly sure if I'm supposed to be proud to be English or British or perhaps both. What are the English are supposed to be good at exactly to make me feel proud? When the British are good at something, it seems that any individual responsible is seldom English. As an English nation, we don't have a national anthem or parliament to ourselves, but those are maybe points for discussion another time.

We certainly seem to have a bit of a mixed identity where sport is involved. As English, we were happy to gloat and support our football team in the recent world cup, but as Mr Henman has failed to achieve a Wimbledon tennis final once again, future hopes are now pinned on the young Brit, Andrew Murray.

Seany epiphany alert.

I was lucky enough to catch the second half of the Last Night of the Proms and it's the first time for years I remember taking time out to watch it. My attention was initially caught by Nicola Benedetti, not for her physical appearance (delightful though it is), but for her performance of Meditation by Thais; one of my all time favourite pieces of music. In short, it was beautiful. However, the fact that this enormously talented 19 year old hails from Scotland, or Great Britain if you prefer, wasn't the motivation behind this post.

It was soon time for the big finale and as sure as Queen would always finish with "We are the Champions", we heard the traditional choruses of Land of Hope & Glory, Rule Britannia and Jerusalem.

Now in recent years, and I'm guessing as a result of overwhelming demand for "Last Night" tickets, they have held simultaneous outdoor Proms in the Park concerts. So in addition to the 6000 or so in the Royal Albert Hall, massive crowds were also assembled outside in London, Swansea, Glasgow and Belfast (oh, and Manchester) and all were united in frantic flag waving and singing their hearts out.

For a fleeting moment I actually felt an overwhelming sense of national pride. I'm not exactly sure for what nation; English, British, or whatever, the point is that it really doesn't matter. As individual countries or as a United Kingdom, we certainly know how to have a bloody good sing-song...


Anonymous said...

Well, I too saw Nicola Benedetti and was also moved by her music. However, although I partially recognised the piece I didn't know what it was called. I spent ages on the BBC website trying to find this out to no avail. Thanks, Seany, for posting this.

Pete said...

Land of Hope and Glory... really gets me going that!