What should London’s anthem be?

If it goes independent, obviously. And who knows post-Brexit?!?

London Calling?

West End Girls?

Dizzee Rascal’s Fix Up, Look Sharp?

“Er… What?” I hear you say. Yes, Dizzee would be a strange choice. But he’s mine, and for a good reason, which you can learn by listening to Adrian Lacey’s great London Podcast at his site, via iTunes or here if you’re using Android.

I’ve never been asked the question before, which is surprising given so many cities, at least in the US, have anthems.

Adrian gave me one of the best podcast experiences I’ve had, taking me back to my childhood school in the London suburbs to stand in pouring rain (that wasn’t his fault) and explain where my love of music came from, doing a full, fascinating interview about the book, and even getting me to do a reading.

In the episode, he also goes out on London’s streets to ask people what their anthem would be. And he tells a brilliant story about his (white, lower-middle class, British) parents trying to write Nigeria’s anthem when it became independent.

It’s a real fun and interesting listen. And few podcast presenters go to such efforts, so, seriously, head here to hear it.

Adrian’s done some amazing other podcasts on everything from the Fire of London to Bob Marley’s London home, so check out other episodes if you can. Huge thanks to him if he’s reading.

Turning Japanese

Mount Fuji and cherry blossoms!

There’s been lots of national anthem news I should have posted about lately. Crimea lost an anthemgained one for a few days, then replaced it with Russia’s; Bangladesh broke the world record for anthem singing, so joining a bizarre anthem war that’s been raging in South Asia for a few years…

But instead of doing that, I’ve been stuffing myself with facts about Japan.

I’m off there in five hours – eek! – to learn about Kimigayo, probably the world’s most controversial anthem, which teachers have been refusing to sing for almost 70 years.

I’m sure the traditionally shy and retiring Japanese will be happy to talk to me about it!

I’ll write something when I’m back, but in the meantime enjoy the cherry blossoms. They’ll apparently be peaking when I hit Osaka. Come on!