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.

The anthem behind the Mia Khalifa controversy

This is a picture of porn star Mia Khalifa with a dog:

Pron star Mia Khalifa and a puppy in a car

And this is a picture of her arm featuring the chorus of Lebanon’s national anthem (“All of Us! For our country, our flag and glory”):

Mia Khalifa's national anthem tattoo

If you’ve been reading the news over the past fortnight, chances are you’ll have come across Mia and the storm she’s caused in Lebanon after becoming the number 1 ranked actress on Pornhub. That tattoo hasn’t helped calm things down.

I’d say getting your anthem inked on your arm is probably the most patriotic thing you can do. But Mia’s parents appear to disagree not even touching on it in this statement about her career choice: “We disassociate ourselves from her actions which do not reflect her family beliefs, her upbringing or her true Lebanese roots. We hope that she comes back to her senses as her image does not honour her family or her homeland.”

There’s numerous articles you can read about this furore – here’s one featuring lots of Lebanese academics – but what none of them have done is actually tell anyone what the Lebanese anthem sounds like, or even asked if it’s worth getting tattooed on your body. So in the spirit of public service, here it is!

Yes, it’s not the best, is it? Too much stop and starting – a bit like I imagine there is on a porn shoot.

But that chorus: if you’re patriotic, can you actually get better? I mean, it covers everything you need in 10 words.

As a random aside, did you know the Lebanese army has a website featuring the 31 (!) anthems it plays on a regular basis? No? Neither did I until about five minutes ago. But it’s thoroughly worth a visit. There’s even an Anthem of Armoured Vehicles. Literally amazing.