Techno version of Australian national anthem sparks chorus of disapproval

Click to follow

Plans to play a techno dance version of the Australian national anthem at Sydney's New Year's Eve celebrations have provoked a chorus of outrage, with some critics branding it sacrilegious.

Plans to play a techno dance version of the Australian national anthem at Sydney's New Year's Eve celebrations have provoked a chorus of outrage, with some critics branding it sacrilegious.

The three-minute rendition of "Advance Australia Fair" will be included in a programme of background music to the annual fireworks display over Sydney Harbour, which attracts one million spectators.

But while few Australians are fond of the anthem and even fewer know the words, the re-mix has prompted anger. "Aren't there some things in our culture which are sacrosanct?" thundered the Daily Telegraph, a Sydney tabloid. "Aren't there some things we don't meddle with?"

The disco version of the song was approved by Sydney's lord mayor, Clover Moore, who has already been attacked for "scaling down" Christmas festivities. Locals say the street decorations in Australia's largest city are pitiful, and some claim that their children burst into tears when they saw them.

Ms Moore has refused to respond to criticism of the revamped anthem, leaving the creative director of the New Year's Eve celebrations, Leo Schofield, to face the music. He defended it as "really beautiful, a beautiful mix", saying: "Only a curmudgeon's going to object." But callers to a phone-in radio station were unimpressed. "Treason" and "a bastardisation" were among the more polite terms used to describe the reworked song. The state opposition leader, John Brogden, said it was "offensive and completely inappropriate".

The Prime Minister, John Howard, called it "terrible", and said it would be impossible to sing along to. "I have a very strong view that the national anthem should be sung and played in a way that facilitates maximum audience participation," he said.

Comments