An annual grumble.
I was told that retirement gives you more time for the things you like to do - so I’ll make the most of that and have my annual New Year’s gripe about Auld Lang Syne.
It’s a tribute to Burns’s genius that the emotions conveyed in his words are so universal and deep-rooted that most of the Americans, Chinese, Japanese and Indians who sing them (or local versions thereof) apparently think the ballad is one of their own ancient folk songs. Once again, Scotland is denied the credit it deserves!
Of course, it’s the wrong tune that’s played these days. The jaunty dance tempo is totally out of kilter with the reflective sentiments of the words.
In fact, the dance tune doesn’t even fit his words. Hence the need, at the end of the first verse in the modern version, to replace the poet’s original “And auld lang syne” with “For the sake of auld lang syne.”
We should therefore be grateful to the first Sex In The City film for raising the profile of the original tune – the one Burns wrote the words for. Mairi Campbell sings it beautifully – check it out on You Tube.
I can recommend Ronnie Browne’s version too. Even if this original melody is the perfect background for remembering past times and old friendships, I have to accept it’s a lost cause to imagine it would ever replace the current version at Hogmanay.
And I suppose we all should celebrate that the most popular song in the known universe is Scottish.
So I have to concede, reluctantly, that we are stuck with the dance tune. I must admit though it’s great for a knees-up at midnight on the big night.The international anthem of the still-able-to-sing sozzled!
But as part of my reflections on this year’s Hogmanay celebrations, can I make two wee requests of all patriotic Scots for New Year 2013?
Firstly, can we learn the words of at least the first verse? I’ve got the poem in front of me and I can assure you that “La Dee De Dum Da Dee ………” does not follow the first line.
But if that’s too much of an ask then, at the very least, can all those who call themselves Scottish please, please, please pronounce ‘Syne’ with an ‘S’ and not, please, NOT with that horrible ‘Z’ sound.
How did my Hogmanay go? I brought in 2012 on my own, malt whisky in hand, listening to Ronnie Browne’s rendition and remembering all those friends I used to have before I started my course of instruction on the tune, words and pronunciation of Auld Lang Syne.
Happy New Year, Jock! And yourselves as well , of course.
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