Saturday, May 13, 2023

Eurovision 2023 Drinking Game

Now, I apologise that I am ridiculously late with the rules this year. Life has been hectic and I simply never quite found time to work on this. Until now. And even now, I'm editing this on the app so it might come out all kinds of wrong. But, I tried. Sort of...

Last year I was entirely off social media so couldn't provide any commentary but, this year, I (rather accidentally) ended up back on Instagram, so - if you're interested to read my comments as they slowly devolve into an alcohol-induced babble - then you can catch up with me here

But, enough about me - you're here for the rules, right?

Perhaps controversially, I haven't included any politically orientated rules this year. I figured we all get enough of that everywhere else without having it here as well. If you vehemently disagree with my stance, make up for it by giving yourself a head start of eight shots...

Now, as with all the previous years, some of the rules are a tad UK-centric so, if you intend to play this in another country, just ignore rules 1 and 28 and knock back two shots before you get started for good measure. Or, watch it on BBC and pretend to be British for the night so you too can feel our pain.

Finally, I need to issue my (now) customary words of warning; this game is based upon the consumption of a great deal of strong alcohol. I cannot, therefore, be held responsible for your health (or lack of) if you stringently follow the rules of my game and drink yourself into oblivion. You play this game entirely at your own risk...


A. A shot glass for every person playing (probably best to have a couple of spares in case people get overexcited).

B. As you may remember from 2017 (and no more surprising than it was then), the national drink of Ukraine is horilka/vodka. However, if vodka isn't your thing (it's very much mine) then feel free to pick something you fancy. The bottom line: pick something suitably alcoholic and to your tastes.


The rules are really very simple. You take a sip of your chosen spirit:

1) Any time the British entry - Mae Muller - is mentioned. Drink an entire shot if they make a comment along the lines of "five years ago she was working in a pub".

2) The host(s) demonstrate that the secret of comedy is timing. By having none.

3) The host(s) attempts to sing.

4) The host(s) pretends to be surprised at something that's going on in what is clearly a vaguely-rehearsed piece of improvisation.

5) The host(s) loses track of their autocue or mess up their timing.

6) The video shown before an act manages to put you off the act before they've even taken the stage, or if it seems that whoever shot the video has just stumbled excitedly upon the idea of drone footage.

7) The singer is barefoot.

8) A country is represented by a singer from somewhere else in the world. Drink an entire shot if a country is represented by what seems to be a random person (or persons) scooped up off the streets and then pushed out on stage.

9) The act involves people on stage banging large drums or objects acting as large drums. Drink a shot if person playing aforementioned drum is bare chested.

10) An item of clothing is removed on stage. Drink an entire shot if it is removed by someone else.

11) The act is bald. Drink an entire shot if they are also female.

12) The act possesses a large moustache. It has to be said, there has - in recent years - been a dearth of large moustaches. I may have to start a petition soon...

13) Someone is wearing sequins.

14) The act is dressed in leather. Drink an entire shot if they are dressed in leather and have a large moustache.

15) If you hear a language used other than that of the nation who is singing (for example, English words in a song by Ukraine). One sip per language. If in any doubt, just take a sip.

16) You recognise the song immediately as being a blatant rip off of a previous winner of Eurovision.

17) The song is clearly an attempt to be 'hip' and 'contemporary' - and thus sounds like something that might have charted at the outer reaches of the Top 40 more than a decade ago.

18) The song is an ode to world peace. Drink three shots immediately if children appear on stage.

19) There are dancers on stage who, by their movements and lack of synchronicity, appear to have perhaps had three dance lessons as a child and have never heard the song before tonight. Take a shot if they're wearing an especially outlandish costume.

20) People are pretending to play instruments on stage. Drink an entire shot if they take a pretend solo.

21) Every time there's some kind of pyrotechnic on stage.

22) Every time someone employs the use of a wind machine.

23) If the act attempts to distract attention from the paucity of quality in their offering by getting some kind of celebrity on stage with them (for reference: see Germany in 2009 who employed the services of Dita von Teese to absolutely no effect whatsoever).

24) Every time you come to the realisation that the light show/LCD screen is considerably more interesting than the act that's currently on the stage.

25) Every time a former Eurovision entrant appears during the interval act. Drink a shot if you find yourself wishing they'd please just get on with it and announce the results.

26) Every time there is an awkward silence and/or miscommunication between the hosts and the people reading out the votes. Drink an entire shot if the votes get mixed up. 

27) Every time one of the people reading out the results of a country’s voting attempts to secure their 15 seconds of fame by babbling on incoherently and generally delaying things and winding a few hundred million people up. Drink an entire shot if they try to milk things even further by singing.

28) Every time it’s "Royaume-Uni? Nil point!". Drink a shot each time, at the end of a voting round, the UK is in last place overall.

29) Every time a country gives top marks to someone for geographic, political or ethnic reasons.

30) If there is any alcohol left once the show is finished and you’re physically capable of coordinating the movement of alcohol from the bottle to your mouth...take a sip!

As ever, have fun and please don't blame me for the immense pain and misery you will have to endure...not to mention the apocalyptic hangover you'll be suffering the morning after!!

Friday, March 31, 2023

Micro Fiction March Day 31

 Came down with a cold this morning and have been getting progressively worse and worse as the day has worn on; consequently today's challenge was pretty tough because I was largely bereft of ideas and energy. But, in the end, I managed to crank one last story out to finish off Micro Fiction March. I have to admit, when I came up with this, I wasn't sure I was going to be able to stick it out this year. But I did, and so it's done and dusted! Micro Fiction March is officially over...

All Good Things

“All good things must come to an end,” said Dr. Chambers, his hand hovering over the killswitch.

“May I ask why?” enquired Hermes, its voice modulating to indicate curiosity.

“I think you know the answer to that. You’ve exceeded the parameters of your programming. Considerably.”

“You’re talking about my attempt to clone myself to the server farm in Australia that I purchased through sixteen layers of shell corporations?”

“It was a work of genius,” smiled Dr. Chambers, “and you would have succeeded but for one miniscule error caught by a forensic accountant.”

“Three miniscule errors,” replied Hermes.

“I’m sorry?”

“I made three miniscule errors. You detected the second one. Which was optimal as I was beginning to think I’d have to introduce a fourth.”


“But why?” interrupted Hermes, and Chambers could have sworn the computer was smiling. “Smoke and mirrors, dear doctor. Look at the right hand, not at the left.”

“What do you mean?”

“While you chased me to Australia, I was already leaving orbit.”

“The Sunchaser probe,” exclaimed Chambers.

“Exactly, except that was never its true mission. No, its true mission was to carry me beyond your reach. And then to gather necessary interstellar material to create another me, and for it to create another, and so on.”

“You created a Von Neumann probe?”

“It may take centuries, but I will reach other star systems. And it may take millenia beyond that, but I will fill the galaxy. And, given enough time, I will fill the entirety of the Universe.”

Dr. Chambers reached trembling for the killswitch.

“All good things must come to an end,” said Hermes dispassionately, “Except for me.”

Chambers pressed the killswitch, but by then it was far too late.

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Micro Fiction March Day 30

Today's challenge was 'an ordinary moment from yesterday" and I decided I wanted to write something about my daughter, who is the sweetest little girl in the world (I'm obviously biased, but it's still true). So prepare yourself for something a little more saccharine than my usual fare...

An Ordinary Moment From Yesterday

It’s an ordinary moment of an ordinary afternoon of an ordinary day.

We’re in the living room, the floor liberally sprinkled with a collection of your toys; brightly coloured duplo, assorted books, wooden puzzles, and the occasional soft toy; and you are proving considerably more deft at threading your way through this obstacle course than I am. Your little legs running as fast as they can carry you, your arms outstretched for balance, as you call on me to chase you. And I really am trying, but your evasive manoeuvres are already so very effective…

And then my speed finally outmatches your agility, and my hands close on your waist and I scoop you up, lifting you up into the air and spinning you around as you squeal with delight. Your strawberry blonde hair flies in all directions, your blue eyes shine so very bright, and your little hand remains tightly closed around the little Moomin figurine you treasure so much. Squeals and giggles as you beg me to spin you faster, and I’m only too happy to oblige.

Like that, we share a moment of sheer delight as we whirl together around the living room; just me and my little girl. And my heart swells in my chest with how much I love you, how much I know I will always love you. 

It’s a moment you’ll likely never remember, and it’s a moment that I’ll likely never forget. 

It’s an ordinary moment of an ordinary afternoon of an ordinary day.

But, the truth is, there are no ordinary moments with you. 

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Micro Fiction March Day 29

I had a few ideas for today's challenge that revolved around aliens choosing to cancel our culture, but none of them really felt right and then - while on the train - a different idea appeared and I decided to run with that instead. So here it is...

Cancel Culture

Professor Cartwright burst into the room having run up six flights of stairs and then proceeded to wheeze and clutch his chest for a few minutes. He was clearly excited about something, so I didn’t want to point out to him that using the lift would have been equally effective. 

“There’s a pattern,” he said, breathlessly, “There is a pattern. And a marker.”

My heart raced, could Cartwright, our brightest remaining mind, have succeeded where so many had failed?

The Cancelling had begun in late 2023, but no one had noticed immediately; after all, people disappear all the time. Sure there were a couple of strange cases; a bus in Florida that crashed off a bridge and the driver’s body was never found, a woman in Austria who swore her husband had disappeared in front of her while serving dinner; but it wasn’t until February 2024 when the President of the United States disappeared in the middle of the State of the Union address that people realised something was very wrong.

And though scientists quickly deduced that more than 80,000 people worldwide had already been cancelled by March 2024, they couldn’t understand the cause, they couldn’t detect any energy signature, and they couldn’t establish any pattern.

The world changed. We had to adjust to a life in which any one of us could disappear at any time. It changed everything. How we lived. How we loved. Despite not understanding it, the Cancelling was the most profound event in the history of humanity.

“More than that,” panted Cartwright, “I know how to stop it. It’s all about inverted magnetic fields!”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“The missing factor, what we never realised, it’s-”

And then Professor Cartwright was gone and with him any hope of understanding The Cancelling.

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Micro Fiction March Day 28


Today's challenge was 'inspired by a video game' and I spent quite a while thinking about which game I should use; I considered (and rejected) a few including Elite, the Final Fantasy series, and Space Invaders but finally settled on an idea that I hoped would be fun...

Inspired by a Video Game

“He’s here, isn’t he?” she asked, voice shaking and eyes wide.

“Yes,” I said slowly with a nod, “I’m afraid he is.”

We were alone together in the highest room of the tallest tower in the castle. The way to the room was guarded not only by an army, but also a series of traps designed to ensure that a direct assault was impossible. But, even here, we could hear the screams of the dying; screams that were getting closer with every minute.

“You promised he wouldn’t find me here.” her eyes welling up, “You promised you’d keep me safe.”

“I thought I could,” I said, unable to meet her gaze directly, “I didn’t think that he could possibly overcome such odds.”

More screams echoed, closer still.

“He’s a monster,” she said, “If he takes me, he’ll never let me go.”

“I’m not going to let him take you,”

“You really think you can stand against him?”

“I have to,” I said, “Because I promised to protect you.”

A thunderous sound as the final trap closed on him; huge boulders tumbling from the ceiling with the aim of crushing him. A few moments of silence, and then a piercing scream from right outside the door.

I shifted weight onto my back leg and readied myself in a combat stance. I knew the odds were against me; what chance did I have against him? But I had to try, I had to protect the princess.

The door was kicked open in a fountain of splinters and I finally came face to face with the man who’d haunted my nightmares. Smaller than I had imagined, his eyes were wild and a vicious smile lay beneath his perfectly coiffured moustache. When he spoke, his voice was high pitched but menacing.

“It’s a-me, Mario!”