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Robert Burns Lives!
Auld Lang What?! from Sainsbury's Grocery Chain

Edited by Frank R. Shaw, FSA Scot, Greater Atlanta, GA, USA

As a young boy, I used to hang around the public library in my hometown of Mullins, South Carolina and, as an adult I have enjoyed building a personal library over these many years, including approximately 8,000 Scottish books. I gave my religious books to an African- American minister, longtime friend and sheriff of Fulton County, Georgia, as they represented another part of my life that had ended years before. Books have always played an important role in my life and still do as I approach my 80th birthday. My collection will probably keep growing until I die. Some books will more than likely trickle in to my home probably from book dealers here in the States and the United Kingdom even after I’m gone. Perhaps a few don’t understand my passion for books, but I do not expect them to. If I had not picked up this habit of buying books many years ago, I would have much more money in my bank account today, but one thing is for sure, I would not be richer! I learned this from author and newspaper man Pete Hamill who is right on target.

Beanie Crosby, my friend from high school days in the 1950s, wrote me some time back saying “when I saw you at our class reunion it brought back so many good memories. Memories I will cherish the rest of my life. Let’s get together and reminisce about the good old days.” Since we played basketball on our high school team, there would be many such memories to recall. Beanie ran my campaign for student body president; we won! More memories! Sixty years of memories. Talking about all these experiences is what Old Lang Syne means.

Some say Robert Burns is more praised than read. It is also said he “is the most recited Poet by drunken men”. Burns Clubs worldwide have become a favorite whipping post by his critics. So as we approach our annual Burns Night Suppers, let us look briefly at the one song that defines Burns. Whatever Burns Night is to you this year, make it your best one and be able to remember it the next day! Many thanks to the good people at Sainsbury’s grocery chain in the United Kingdom for recently posting the article below on their website and to Alastair for sending it to me. (FRS: 1.10.18).

Auld Lang What?!

Research from Sainsbury's has revealed that the tradition of singing Auld Lang Syne on New Year's Eve is in danger of dying out.

Research from Sainsbury’s has revealed that the tradition of singing Auld Lang Syne on New Year’s Eve is in danger of dying out, with only 3% of people in the UK knowing the words despite a third of revellers planning a rendition as the bells chime 2018 in.

The majority can bravely belt out the chorus and first few lines at best whilst raising a glass of fizz. But Sainsbury’s found that it’s the younger generations that will need the most help as 42% of millennials admit that they don’t know a single word. And more than half (56%) of 18-24 year olds don’t know who penned the classic and a further 3% think Mariah Carey is its lyricist.

When presented with lyrics from the song the majority of the younger generation had a hard time recognising them, with more than half (54%) failing to identify the chorus, despite it featuring the words ‘Auld Lang Syne’.

Further errors include mistakenly identifying lyrics from The Beatles (40%), ABBA (60%), Taylor Swift (34%), Little Mix (30%) and even Snoop Dogg (45%) as lines from the Robert Burns’ classic.

Native Scots didn’t fare much better: just 7% said they know all the lyrics, while over half (54%) admitted they know hardly any. However, eight out of ten Scots correctly identified Robert Burns as the man who wrote the song.

To help keep the tradition alive and enable everyone to have a tuneful New Year, Sainsbury’s has created a handy song sheet available to download here so everyone can be primed for a solo at the stroke of midnight this year – even those who thought the song traditionally sung at midnight is “YMCA”.

A Sainsbury’s spokesperson said: “We want everyone to have a great New Year’s Eve and singing Auld Lang Syne – or ‘Old Land Sign’ as some people thought – is as much a part of our celebrations as a glass of fizz at midnight. We’ve revealed that many are missing out on this tradition because they don’t feel confident of the lyrics, so Sainsbury’s has created some handy song sheets so no-one has to hum along at the stroke of midnight this year. We hope all our customers ‘take a cup of kindness yet’ and have a very happy New Year.”

Whether you’re one of the third of Brits toasting with a glass of fizz at midnight (30%), or of the 4% who’ll be raising a tea or coffee, Sainsbury’s can help you with everything you need to have a fun filled New Year’s Eve. Top offerings from the supermarket to make every New Year’s Eve celebration special include:

• Taste the Difference Champagne Brut NV £18, currently down to £16.50 until 1st January
• Taste the Difference Prosecco Conegliano 2016 £10, currently down to £7.50 until 1st January
• by Sainsbury’s 12 Mushroom Arancini, £2.50
• Taste the Difference 12 Mini Steak, Port & Stilton Pies, £4.50
• Taste the Difference 8 Dinky Crab and Asparagus Cocktails, £7

Top Five lyrics Brits confused for Auld Lang Syne:

1. “And every time I see you shine. It's like the lights of midnight On New Year's Eve” – Snoop Dogg
2. “May we all have a vision now and then. Of a world where every neighbour is a friend” - ABBA
3. “We would be warm below the storm, in our little hideaway beneath the waves” – The Beatles
4. “You made my heart break and that made me who I am” – Little Mix
5. “It's like a kaleidoscope of memories, it just all comes back” – Taylor Swift

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