One of the Johnny Foreigner differences

The video showed a deserted street during the night, along with the voices of men and women singing Canto della Verbena (And While Siena Sleeps) – a popular patriotic folk song.

No, not some cliche about Italians bursting into song while selling you an ice cream, or failing to die until they’ve sung that aria. Rather, the language being used in the description.

Those Ooop North – Liverpool, say, Newcastle perhaps, any of those places north of Watford Gap, no matter, they’re all the same right – might let go with a few verses of On Ilkley Moor B’aht ‘At. Or a Cumbrian might celebrate with a bit of Ferry Cross The Mersey. Or perhaps Monkton Farleigh might ring with the celebration of A New Combine Harvester.

Or, even, Rule Britannia and You’ll Never Walk Alone. But because it’s English people doing these things we’d not describe them as “patriotic” songs. Even if they were we wouldn’t. Just because that’s not our own mental image of what we do. Even those WWI songs (Tipperary, Kitbag and so on) wouldn’t be described as such.

Of course, we don’t have to be patriotic because we’ve already won by being English but still. The very language being used here in the description is emphasising that them and us distinction. Only Johnny Foreigner would ever be described as singing “patriotic” songs. It’s all they’ve got poor loves, but still.

15 thoughts on “One of the Johnny Foreigner differences”

  1. Curious that it’s The Guardian. In the current edition of Newspeak patriotic=nationalist=fascist.

  2. Maritime Barbarian

    Also, inevitably, it would be “Always look on the bright side of life.”
    Allegedly sung by the crew of HMS Sheffield as they waited to be rescued.

  3. Cumbria is not anywhere close to Merseyside Tim. Your knowledge of the North should fit you for a place in Blojo’s “level up” farce.

    That way you could sink to your own (Plumbers) level.

  4. The combine harvester song originated in the South West, although the tune was, I think, written by Jonathan King and I’m not sure where he’s from.

  5. The Other Bloke in Italy

    Aye, apparently there is to be a grand sing-off in Rome this afternoon, though who is to judge it, and how, is beyond me.

    Coming back up into the village after walking the dog this morning, I found a large Italian flag hanging from a balcony. My eyes are stinging still.

  6. Err, yes, nor would anyone outside Yorkshire sing about Ilkley Mopor. That’s rather the point…..

  7. On my visit to the baseball at Yankee Stadium the band, or maybe the tannoy, struck up a tune. I turned to my companions and said “That’s familiar, what is it?”. Oops. But I was young.

  8. I turned to my companions and said “That’s familiar, what is it?”

    Was it “To Anacreon in Heaven”?

  9. Bloke in North Dorset

    Other Bloke in Italy,

    Be careful. There was a story on the Spiked podcast about a woman who took her dog for a walk and she got dobbed to the Polizei and got a huge fine.

  10. @Tim W

    Rule Britannia not patriotic, are you mad? Bath is not England, it’s a small part of England and UK. Use British not English

    Ever heard this? Start/Chorus is played all over UK

    You need to get out of your bubble more and mix with ‘prols’

    @Roué le Jour

    In woke world Newspeak patriotic=nationalist=fascist only applies to English speaking countries and Russia

    @Mr Ecks

    Agree. Tim being a West country yokel, he lacks UK knowledge

    “The Sash” is also patriotic

  11. Stonyground, it was written by Melanie Safka, who had a top ten hit with Brand New Key. She also had an album called Stoneground Words.

  12. Decades ago, G. Gordon Liddy told the story of going to a baseball game at Yankee Stadium. He took an Italian friend who was visiting. They played the Star Spangled Banner. All stood and sang along. As the people belted out, “Land of the free,” the Italian burst out laughing.

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