Anthem (Ryan)

From the album Smiling For The Camera' 1975

Video    Scrap


I was born on December 13 1950 at the Fort Leavenworth Military Hospital in the U.S. state of Kansas. As well as being the city that 'hosts' the infamous Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary (known to M.A.S.H. aficionados as the place Klinger was always being threatened with), it is also the furthest west that Abraham Lincoln ever traveled.

My mother was an Australian war bride and after the war, my parents settled in Kansas where my father, a Chief Boson's Mate, was stationed at the Olathe Naval Base, not far from Leavenworth. A curiosity, considering the geographic location of Kansas in relation to the open seas, that has never ceased to amuse me.

Nine years later, my Dad retired from the U.S. Navy and my family migrated to Australia where my folks bought a farm near Albany in W.A. I had ceased to be an American, which at such a young age didn't mean anything anyway - but at the same time I can't say I grew to feel Australian. To paraphrase this song, I've never really known what that meant; and in 1976 when I wrote 'Anthem' , it seemed to me that a lot of Australians, in a sense, felt the same way.

Today Oz is a more confident nation; globalisation, the affordability of travel and the communication revolution having helped level the playing field. The cultural cringe hasn't entirely disappeared, but at the same time, despite the certainly cringe-worthy "Aussie, Aussie, Aussie" mentality of the sunburn set and the occasional 'Jumbuck Fascist', Australians have little regard for the kind of dangerously moronic patriotism often associated with the land of my birth.

Good on ya!

Dedicated to Gough and Gunston.


© 2008 Coathanger Productions