A New Scottish Anthem


Anyone who remembers the TV series Ally McBeal will also remember the urging of one of the characters to Ms McBeal to make sure she has a theme song for her life, a signature tune that sets the tone of her outlook on the world. Unfortunately, for her and her ticking fertility clock, the ‘ugachacka’ baby took prominence in this position, no matter what she tried.

However, it is a valid point. Not only can music affect our transient moods but sometimes that one song that underpins all you believe in can grab you when you’re having a bad day and remind you that life is, after all, good. I have two musical sources that do this for me: First is the entire soundtrack of the movie Local Hero, written by Mark Knopfler, and secondly the Queen song ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’. There’s no way I can feel anything but happy when I hear that.

So if our signature tune can affect us individually, it’s also true for nations.
The Scots have unofficially adopted over the past 15 or so years the song ‘Flower of Scotland’ as an anthem. It’s been used at rugby matches and the Commonwealth Games, but if you’ve ever heard its sad tones, its not one that’s going to fire up a team with enthusiasm. Its lyrics celebrate the victory of the Scots over the English at the Battle of Bannockburn – way back in 1314! Hardly a recent occurrence.

So, I propose that Scotland adopts a new anthem, one that celebrates what we Scots do well, and that is have parties! One that will fire up a team and send its members out onto the field full of verve, bonhomie and confidence. And that is why the new Scottish National Anthem should be Shang-a-lang! This groundbreaking song by Scottish ‘70s group Bay City Rollers will get any crowd shaking their shoulders, and with the main lyrics incorporating the phrases ‘Shang-a-lang’ ‘ hey hey’, and ‘Do-wop-e-do-be-do-ay’ there’s ample opportunity for similarly minded foreigners to join in. Youtube them yourself if you don’t believe me!

I look forward to a brighter future for Scotland’s sports men and women as they lift their heads from the burden of the dirge to triumphantly punch the air singing “And we sang shang-a-lang and we ran with the gang doin do wop e do be do ay, we were all in the news with our blue suede shoes and our dancing the night away.”!

2 thoughts on “A New Scottish Anthem

  1. What an interesting thought to have 'personal anthem' – there are so many I could choose for mine! I love the way you capture your very strong Scottish identity in your musical connotations. One of my fave music of all time is the Local Hero album, I've stargazed quite literally to it lying on a picnic blanket at Glencoe at night and been so luck to see what very few city people will ever see. Love and hugs, Catherine M XXX

  2. Ah but Catherine you are twice blessed! Not only are you a McGinty ;o) but also you too have discovered that Glencoe is beyond argument the most magical place on this planet. Because of the steepness of the glen it cuts out so much light that the stars can be seen as clearly as they are here in Australia. I remember a January night when I was heading south and I had to stop the car right in the heart of the Glen and just stare. The milky way was quite visible. Totally stunning! xx

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