Skip to Content

Culture House Daily

Spectator competition winners: an alternative to ‘Auld Lang Syne’

6 January 2019

9:30 AM

6 January 2019

9:30 AM

Your new year’s challenge was to supply an anthem to usher in 2019, starting with the first line of ‘Auld Lang Syne’ and continuing in your own way.

‘Is not the Scotch phrase “Auld lang syne” exceedingly expressive?’ wrote Robert Burns to his friend Frances Dunlop in 1788, referring to the words of an old folk song that he had heard, written down and later sent to James Johnson, who published it in the Scots Musical Museum. These days, of course, those words are sung with gusto by the inebriated the world over on New Year’s Eve — an expression of fellowship and nostalgia.

Not much of that in the entry, needless to say. Though the occasional sliver of cheeriness (C. Paul Evans, Tim Raikes) leavened the gloom, the mood was mostly waspish and weary. The winners pocket £25 each. Happy New Year!

Brian Murdoch
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
And never brought to mind,
Twenty-eighteen’s anither year
It’s guid tae leave behind.

They talked Brexit in parliament,
Six hundred folk and a’,
And gin they talked til kingdom come,
It wouldnae gang awa.

A parcel of befuddled rogues!
Naebody kens for sure
How much and when we’ll a’ be screwed,
And whit’s it all been for.

The cup has got nae kindness in’t,
The brose is awfu’ cauld.
I’ll bet that eftir Hogmanay
The new year’s like the auld.

D.A. Prince
Should auld acquaintance be forgot?
Each year we ask the same:
should we from habit send a card
to every listed name?
They send us one each year, so we
for fifty years or more
have done the same, with cheery words,
while wond’ring what it’s for.

You went to school with him, while I
have never met the guy.
I, briefly, worked alongside her
(and always wondered: why?)
But if we drop them, will they think
we’ve died/remarried/worse?
That ‘auld acquaintance’ Christmas list
hangs round us like a curse.

Basil Ransome-Davies
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
It may be for the best.
Some friends are magic, some are not,
And some are just a pest.
It is not cruel or unjust
To purge the old, dead wood.
As Stalin did it, so we must
For our and their own good.

This New Year let us all confound
Each wretched faux-ami
Who never, ever bought a round,
Or bored us endlessly,
Or badmouthed us with lying lips,
Or bogarted the bong —
To all those dud relationships
Adieu, farewell, so long.

Max Gutmann
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
’Twould be a waste of time.
We’ve things far better to forget
In the year two-oh-one-nine.

Forget the warming of the globe;
Forget the rising seas.
Forget the US president
Has a brain like cheddar cheese.

Forget that vicious autocrats
Flout democratic rules.
Forget the bone saws Saudis use
In their journalism schools.

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
Perhaps you’ve lost your mind,
Which might not be an awful choice
In the year two-oh-one-nine.

Frank McDonald
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
And never brought to mind?
Why, yes, they should, and quickly if
They’re of the German kind,
Or French or Spanish, Dutch or Greek
Or even Portuguese
We’ll find alliances elsewhere
And trade with whom we please.
We’ll give a hand to friendship in
The far-off land of Oz
And be the Brits of former days
Composing our own laws.
So let us drink to sovereignty
And hail the coming year
With shouts of joy as we return
To be the way we were.

Alanna Blake
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
As mony since have been,
For memory is fading fast
An’ age has dimmed our e’en.

We twa hae sown our youthful oats
But that was lang ago
When winter winds blew gentler notes
An’ Christmas aye brought snow.

So gie’s a hand to help me up,
Come close so I can hear,
We’ll raise anither brimmin’ cup
Tae one more bloody year.

Your next challenge is to take as your first line ‘Happy the man, and happy he alone’ (John Dryden/Horace) and continue for up to a further 15. Please email (wherever possible) entries to by midday on 16 January.

Show comments