Waving Flags

Album: Do You Like Rock Music? (2008)
Charted: 31
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Songfacts®:

  • Frontman Yan (British Sea Power band members use just one name) told The Sunday Times January 6, 2008 that this song, which celebrates freedom of movement, was written to counter the antipathy with which Eastern European immigrants are often greeted: "It seems to me we need intelligent, good-looking people with taste to come in and breed with us. Basically, [some Britons] don't like them because they're willing to work hard, but we like working hard, so we can identify with them."
  • The lyric, which hails the migrants as "astronomical fans of alcohol" was inspired by guitarist Noble while watching an Uefa Cup football match on television, spotting the phrase "fans of alcohol" on a banner held by fans of the Czech team Slavia Prague.
  • The lyric, "From across the Vistula, you've come so very far" references the River Vistula, Poland's longest and most famous river, which roughly splits the country into two.
  • The band have a long-running interest in Eastern Europe, dating back to when bassist Hamilton and drummer Wood went inter-railing in the region. Part of the album was recorded in a Czech forest and the single was launched on January 10 2008 at the Czech embassy in London.
  • On August 9, 2021, British Sea Power announced they would henceforth be known as Sea Power. The band explained in a post on their website they had become concerned their name could mistakenly be linked to the rise in nationalistic politics.

    "We've always been internationalist in our mindset, something made clear in songs like 'Waving Flags,' an anthem to pan-European idealism," the group wrote. "We always wanted to be an internationalist band but maybe having a specific nation state in our name wasn't the cleverest way to demonstrate that. We very much hope the band's audience won't be affronted by this adjustment to the name."

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