Daily Archives: 1, August 2011

The Sound of Music

Grassmarket in Edinburgh

Much singing can be heard at night in Edinburgh's Grassmarket

After doing a few minutes of searching on the Internets, I’ve decided that what the world sorely needs is an anthropological study of the drinking habits of people across the globe. A cultural analysis of the inebriated, complete with full color pictures. Maybe a coffee table book.

If such a book were written, then much could be said about the copious amount of singing that goes on in the United Kingdom, following last orders.

For a time, we lived in a cozy flat (translation: apartment) in Edinburgh’s Grassmarket area, a stone’s throw from quite a few pubs. And so it was that every Friday and Saturday night, we would inevitably hear the lilting melodies of “Flower of Scotland,” Scotland’s unofficial national anthem, from roving bands of merriment makers. It was like clockwork. The pubs would close and then, cue the singing. Nothing resembling The Warblers. Always “Flower of Scotland.” Sometimes something by the Pogues.

Now I’m no anthropologist but I think it’s fair to say that such a thing doesn’t happen in the US. There are bar fights, yes. Shouting, of course. Loud chatter and giggles and the clip-clop of heels hitting pavement but strains from “America the Beautiful”? Uh, I think not.