this blog is

20 December 2004

Verisimilitude Provocation Or Something



Girt by controver-sea

I feel obliged to blog this. I’ve been meaning to explain to my non-Australian readers (assuming there are any, other than spambots) as to why I picked as a domain name. Recent events have finally prompted me to do it.

Basically it’s a nerdy allusion to a line from the Australian national anthem: “Our home is girt by sea”. To most people with a working sense of humour this line is a creaky old relic that always prompts a bit of a snigger. To me, it also adds a bit of charm to an otherwise pretty uninspiring tune. “Girt” is just a great word, and I think it’s time we revive it in daily usage. Hence the blog name.

Obviously others feel differently about our nation’s anthem. A hissy fit has burst out at the offices of the Daily Telegraph newspaper and (I assume) various talkback radio stations around Sydney in the last couple of weeks. Clover Moore, the new Lord Mayor of Sydney, is girt by great vengeance and furious anger over various transgressions, the latest of which is a “techno” remix of the national anthem.

There’s much to amuse in this story. Firstly of course is the cringeworthy remix itself, which the Tele have been kind enough to post on their site (scroll down). It’s as if Scooter auditioned for Australian Idol. Just excruciating. Luke from Sub Bass Snarl was quoted as calling it “cheesy”, which is putting it mildly. It’s not Kraft mild cheddar. It’s stink-your-fridge-out, pungent baby-chuck gorgonzola.

Almost as amusing as the “story” itself are the responses. A certain Howard J. Powers (possibly aspiring to be the next Angry of Mayfair) penned the following to the Tele’s online forum (I go digging through it so you don’t have to).

The national anthem done 'techno' is another pointer to the decline in standards in Sydney under Clover Moore's mayoralship. Is nothing sacred anymore? The bones of our departed soldiers killed in two world wars would be turning over in their graves and if they could speak would collectively say "Is this what we made the extreme sacrifice for?"

Surely this is just a troll by the Tele staff? Surely the invocation of our WW 1 & 2 diggers - whose opinions are apparently more valued than the poor buggers who gave the supreme sacrifice in other wars, such as those fought after 1984, when Advance Australia Fair actually was our national anthem - is enough evidence for a troll? The white pages does list an H Powers of Oatley…

Never underestimate the calibre of the Tele’s readership. Not given the calibre of the writership anyway. Two of this week’s opinion columns (Ackerman and Day) manage to associate the word “Grinch” with Clover Moore in the first sentence, before inexplicably ranting about something completely different (and incomprehensible).

Not that it matters, but I feel it should be pointed out that our esteemed Lord Mayor apparently did not have a personal hand in selecting the tunes to play during the NYE fireworks. As is the custom in such events, decisions about the entertainment have been outsourced to Leo Schofield.

Next year I vote for a all-Australian Anthem NYE. Fortunately we have plenty of material to use. In a letter to the Herald, Matt Lorentzen recalls (link mine):

In 1997 an amazing collection of remixes was released by the ABC under the title of Anthem: Celebration of Australia. This collection included a big band arrangement by James Morrison, an R&B mix by Melbourne band CDB, a classical arrangement by Carl Vine, a Wiggles rendition, a country version by the Bushwackers and many more.

Now if that doesn’t have you running off to eBay I don’t know what will.


Posted by
Matt Rubinstein
2004-12-20 08:12:32 -0600

Every time someone has a spray about “girt” (quite frequently in recent times due to the controversy) it puts me in mind of this inestimable blog. I too think “girt” is the best thing about the Nash Anth. Long live the strong verbs I say.

Someone in the SMH rather cleverly pointed out that the Anthem has been brutalised for years in the context of sporting events – anyone who’s heard Shannon Noll having a crack has to agree – so what’s wrong with giving it a bit of a reinterpretation? I’ve managed to avoid hearing the new remix and am fully prepared to imaging it blowing, but that’s the implementation; there’s nothing wrong with the idea is there?

I personally would like to see a Girtby remix.

Posted by
Ludwig van Nemotode
2004-12-20 08:12:32 -0600

Kimberley Beazley was enamoured by “girt” as well if I recall rightly. If I had any talent I would write a track that sounded nothing like the anthem and call it the Nemotode Remix.

Posted by
2004-12-20 08:12:32 -0600

Girt, Girth and Girdle are all related words and come from ME girden, OE gyrdan; c. G gürten.

Kim Beasley may be enamoured by “girt” but could use a girdle to girt his girth!