It really is a hideous, hideous anthem. So hideous that it looks like the work of some Stalinist committee whose members were later convicted in a show trial and got 20 years in some frozen gulag.
It also uses the word 'girt' which as far as I know is the only song in human history to use that word for the definition of encircling something.
It's not inspiring. It's insipid. Yes athletes piss tears when they sing on their 1-2-3 podium, but chances are its because they're thinking 'holy shit, I spent four years of my life leading to this, it was decided on the basis of a fraction of a second, and now that I am done I can go off and sex/drink myself silly until it's time to go home.' And I don't blame 'em. And look, AAF was certainly a patch on the previous miserable bit of gear God Save the Queen, which is as relevant to the Australian condition as the actual royal family is.
And at least I suppose AAF mentioned the country, unlike GSTQ. Alas AAF then goes on to list principal exports and resources like a poorly crafted year seven assignment. Golden soil and wealth for toil to me translates as listing our top two GDP earners for the last three quarters.
It fails to mention indigenous Australians, hardly anyone knows the second verse, and, most importantly it's tuneful oration is as boring as anything can possibly be set to song. It sound like a funeral dirge, which is exactly what it would be perceived as by spotty gormless youth chewing gum and assembly bored to tits by the minutia that is High School mid noughties who are now supposedly about to be forced into singing it. See the SMH story here
Hell I can remember as a tacker pretending I knew the words and flapping my mouth open and shut in the manner of a goldfish in acute heat distress. I even got an award for my apparent dinky-di patriotism, which being a non-discerning member of year one I gleefully accepted.
There is nothing quite like injecting a bit of forced patriotism into the school system is there? That's what inspiring countries like North Korea do. I wouldn't be surprised if the Howard Hagiographers attempt to stick a 'Dear Leader' reference in a newly minted third verse on the anniversary of the 30th year of his rule, of which the date will coincidently be 01/01/30 thanks to all our calendars changing in worship of him 12 years before.
For those of you not from around here, here are the official two verses of AAF according to wiki.
Australians all let us rejoice,
For we are young and free;
We've golden soil and wealth for toil,
Our home is girt by sea;
Our land abounds in Nature's gifts
Of beauty rich and rare;
In history's page, let every stage
Advance Australia fair!
In joyful strains then let us sing,
"Advance Australia fair!"
Beneath our radiant Southern Cross,
We'll toil with hearts and hands;
To make this Commonwealth of ours
Renowned of all the lands;
For those who've come across the seas
We've boundless plains to share;
With courage let us all combine
To advance Australia fair.
In joyful strains then let us sing
"Advance Australia fair!"
Not only is it pathetic but it conjures up strait laced Victorian era colonialists singing in time to a brass band in the park as kids run past playing stick and hoop as confused aboriginals trained to be domestics and in uncomfortable servitor dress look on in incomprehension at whiteys wearing woollen clobber on a day tipping near 40 degrees c. I do note however with some irony the middle bit of the second verse stands in stark contrast to our current policy of 'nail 'em up I say' immigration policy.
Joyful strains my distended painfully rubbed raw rectum. The only thing joyful about mumbling this is that almost religious in ecstasy buzz you get when it's finally over.
I am rarely jealous of the yanks and the French, though both have bills of rights that Howard today noted could be 'misinterpreted or have unintended consequences' such as stopping him from detaining those overdressed brown people that do the weird chanting five times a day when he's trying to listen to the cricket.
But the yanks and the French have anthems that are rocking awesome. I get a lump in my throat when I hear the Star Spangled Banner go off, or the La Marseillaise, the latter's lyrics including the joy one gets when you slit the throats of your enemies (not that the French will ever again be able to do that unless their country has been occupied by the Germans again four wars running).
A song which would be far more appropriate and, unlike AAF actually engenders feeling of pride in our nation (and which actually overtly mentions our brown folk not only existing but being here first) is I am Australian by Bruce Woodley of the Seekers, our wholesome non drug taking 'no sex for us please' answer to The Beatles.
Check this out. It truly is awesome. And unfortunately I believe the rights are owned by some company who use it as backing music in a vain attempt to convince us they are not some sort of grubby operation whose soul is held in a jar shared on alternate Tuesdays among the "…Share Holders…" – that mysterious group of people who for some reason dislike things like environmental accountability and fair and equitable labour laws.
In fact let's see who owns it … ah there we are. According to wiki the company in question is … Telstra.
Anyway, the lyrics.
|: We are one but we are many
And from all the lands on earth we come
We share a dream and sing with one voice
We are Australian :|
I came from the dream time
From the dusty red soil plains
I am the ancient heart
The keeper of the flame
I stood upon the rocky shore
I watched the tall ships come
For forty thousand years I'd been
The first Australian
I came upon the prison ship
Bowed down by iron chains
I cleared the land, endured the lash
And waited for the rains
I'm a settler, I'm a farmer's wife
In a dry and barren run
A convict then free man
I became Australian
I'm the daughter of a digger
Who sought the mother lode
The girl became a woman
On a long and dusty road
I'm a child of the depression
I saw the good times come
I'm a bushy
I'm a battler
I am Australian
I'm a teller of stories
I'm a singer of songs
I am Albert Namajera
And I paint the ghostly gums
I'm Clancy on his horse
I'm Ned Kelly on the run
I'm the one who waltzed Matilda
I am Australian
I'm the hot wind from the desert
I'm the black soil of the plains
I'm the mountains and the valleys
I'm the drought and flooding rains
I am the rock, I am the sky
The rivers when they run
The spirit of the great land
I am Australian
Less like the year seven assignment on the Australian economy, much more like a rip snorter of a song that captures beautifully the country and its people. And while you can in fact sing Advance Australia Fair to the tune of Working Class Man by Chisel (thank you Adam Hills), even with that in its corner, I Am Australian takes AAF by the scruff of whatever part of a song could be considered the scruff and washes out its mouth with carbolic soap like an angry 50's housewife response to hearing her kids striney voice echoing some curse word they learned from a drunk who bellowed it at the pub down the road for not letting him into the lock in after 6pm.
Left: Ivan Milat in his cowboy hat (from The Age). In article reference below.
You know what Telstra. You're selling the last bit of the govie stake soon. How about this? As you fully embrace the status of a 'fear my presence lest thou taste my wrath' commercial entity perform one last act of humanity. Give up the rights as your gift to the nation to this song, and let the movers and shakers in our fair society try and insert this in the national consciousness. I bet us Ozzer's would embrace this bad boy as ours and give AAF the much needed bullet behind the ear and buried in a shallow unmarked grave deep in Belanglo State Forest.
And you can't give a corpse a more Aussie farewell than that.