I HAVE a long history of mishearing song lyrics. I used to think the shoulder-dislocating New Year curtain-raiser was ‘Old Lang’s Eye,’ rather than Auld Lang Syne.

My youthful mind decided Old Lang must be some historic, paprika-haired Scot with a scary eye.

Then I became cultured and extremely well-read – strangely it was around the same time that Google was invented.

But it’s OK. We’re at the time of year when sane and rational people do silly things like opening the back door to let the old year out, and the front door to let the New Year in.

I can’t say this has ever changed my fortunes. All it’s ever achieved is smashing the window in the outhouse.

I also decided the second verse of Auld Lang Syne was: “We’ll take a cup of kindmanship,” when it’s actually: “We’ll take a cup o’kindness yet.”

I’m not sure what I thought kindmanship was. Or why my brain proof read it and nodded it through.

My brain does that sometimes. It accepts words that aren’t real until the spell check helpfully underlines my poor education.

There was none of this 15 triple A star GSCEs in my day. CSEs were like degrees, and degrees were like winning Mastermind.

That’s the excuse of thick people everywhere and I’m clinging to it.

And when it comes to public singing, I still deploy a technique learned in school – one that most men will be familiar with. It’s called the art of singing without actually singing.

It involves standing up and murmuring words vaguely reminiscent to the actual verse.The idea is to give the outward appearance of singing, without actually doing any.

Because, at the end of the day, pretending – and running the risk of being caught pretending – is preferable to the actual humiliation of singing the words for real.

I blame the hymns. Most are loaded with unfamiliar words that don’t rhyme.

And if you don’t believe me, thou doth maketh me a verse that can trippeth of thine tongue and thy will anoint thou with his righteousness.