National anthem

I ran a half marathon this morning. I finished 606th, thus continuing to put pressure on the front-runners. It was a pretty decent race, good weather and Krispy Kreme donuts afterwards. Running up the many mountains/hills is but a memory, which I’m only reminded of when I stand up, sit down, or go up or down stairs.

However, the playing of the American national anthem continues to be an issue for me.


It’s not because it’s always the American national anthem that’s played. This seems perfectly reasonable given where we live and anyway the British one is very dirgy and no-one would pay attention to it. I’m also entirely happy for it to be played before a race, partly because it shuts up the loud irritating group of runners I always seem to be standing next to. But also because it’s quite a rousing, yet emotional piece and it sometimes gets me a bit tearful and oddly patriotic.

It’s just all rather dependent on the performer. This morning’s singer managed to add at least an extra 45 seconds to the piece by trilling in a whitney houston fashion and extending notes far beyond their natural limit. It was like an American Idol try-out. This might be impressive at a junior school talent contest, but it’s not what you want when you’re underdressed in 40 degree weather, trying to keep your muscles warmed up. Bouncing up and down is not really acceptable behavior during the anthem – unless it’s being performed in a punk style. Which it rarely is.

I personally like it when they play the tape recording of the anthem, having been unable to find a teenage daughter of the race director to sing. The recording’s nice and quick, you know what you’re getting and you don’t have those awkward moments where the singer can’t quite get to the ‘and the rockets red glare..’ line, which in fairness is a bloody big octave change.

Just mentioned this to Erik and he’s got even more vehement views on it and he’s an American citizen. Which probably makes him a freedom-hater.

On a related but different note. We’re going out to dinner soon for the ‘big talk’. Not the divorce one, the one where we decide whether to move to Vancouver next year. I chose the restaurant, so the decision is rightly up to him.