Apparently every nation has to have an anthem. Presumably this is so that footballers can stand awkwardly before important matches, incoherently mumbling the words while a TV camera probes their faces in close-up before they're allowed to get on with what they came for.

Britain's national anthem, God Save the Queen, is a relic of the 18th Century, the words of which adapt to suit the gender of the monarch of the day ("her" becomes "his", "queen" becomes "king" and so on), without altering the sentiment that he or she is "Happy and glorious / long to reign over us".

You might call protest singer Grace Petrie's God Save the Hungry an antidote, a revision or a revolution. But there's no doubt that it's a rejection of the fundamental proposition of Britain's age-old national anthem. "There's a long and shameful list of folks we need God to assist," she says. "But those who sleep in palaces at night...? I think they're doing alright".

Petrie's song calls on the God she admits "is not [her] thing" to save not the Queen, but maybe instead to do something about "refugees perishing in foreign seas" as well as "the homeless and those with disabilities".

Right-wing nationalists will doubtless consider any attack on the monarchy and the national anthem to be sacrilegious, but this is not a song that sneers at our national pride. Quite the opposite. In fact, this song doesn't openly advocate the dissolution of the monarchy. It merely points out that they, of all people, are the least needy. The conclusion of God Save the Hungry directs Petrie's ire at former PM David Cameron and his privileged cronies whose systematic erosion of Britain's free health care and education system has betrayed the "brave soldiers" who gave their lives to make Britain great.

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About the curator

After graduating from the University of Keele in England with a degree in Politics and American Studies, Jon worked as editor of a music and entertainment magazine before spending several years as a freelance writer and, with the advent of the internet, a website designer, developer and consultant. He lives in Reading, home to one of the world's most famous and long-running music festivals, which he has attended every year since 1992.

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