If only your neighbours were as friendly as the Balkan voting system…
Everyone’s favourite evening of glitter, gorgonzola and rhythmical gurning is almost upon us! Saturday 14 May is the Eurovision final and it's your chance to throw a party that your friends and noise-sensitive neighbours will never forget.
Dig out your wipe-clean tablecloth, empty the recycling box and prepare for all of the following…
You'll start off so full of ambition
This will be a quality gathering, full of quality wit and food to match. You’ve handpicked a variety of delicious-looking authentic recipes from Pinterest and bought a selection of natty paper flags to help mark the distinction between German knödel and Polish knedle, as if it isn’t immediately obvious. Everyone will leave full and happy, with a new-found appreciation for the culinary range of our beautiful continent (if not the musical range). Now all you need to do is find several ingredients you’ve never heard of and a spare 15 hours. Easy!
The ambition will fade
Where are you meant to find Bratislavan ewe’s cheese in Milton Keynes? Where? Soon your recipe list has been chopped down faster than Bucks Fizz’s skirts and you must resort to plan B: collaborative effort. You know, like the regional bloc voting.
Buffet diversity = nul points
Your guests are to bring ‘a variety of European dishes’ and you’ll definitely end up with five different pots of hummus, two baguettes, a bag of Twiglets (“What? They’re British”) and the most exotic cheese people could find without spending more than £3.99. “Where are the Moldovan cabbage rolls?” you will cry. “And the Latvian pankūkas? Did nobody even think to bring a tureen of traditional Finnish pea soup? Did the referendum come early without me noticing?”
Drinks table diversity = huit points
You’ll do loads better on the booze front, because this is everyone’s chance to offload the sticky bottle of ouzo, limoncello, akavit or other miscellaneous Euro-cheer they’ve been hoarding since back when duty free was still a bargain. Cheers! Prohst! Santé! Skål!
One person won't take it seriously enough
Hush there, chatty Cathy! You can tell us about your dog/baby/miracle cure for hiccups any old night of the year – this is a time for volume control and moderate chatting during pre-approved breaks. After all, what fun is Eurovision if we’re not watching in silence with a notepad for personal scores that we can later use to work out a group average? Seriously.
Subtitles are necessary
You’d be forgiven for assuming those soaring ballads and rousing folk jigs were all about love and world peace – not so. Via the magic of the red button subtitles, you’ll discover some of the entries are singing about a lovely bottle of booze they had once... It's a little-known fact that Lulu's Boom Bang-A-Bang was actually a hilarious tequila anecdote set to music. Probably.
You’ll come over all patriotic…
Maybe we will actually win! Maybe a mere 19 years after Katrina And The Waves last led us to victory, the good old Royaume-Uni might just sing and shimmy its way back into the hearts of Europe. Via its ears. Maybe this is our moment! GO ON, BELOVED SINGERS WE’D NEVER HEARD OF BEFORE THIS WEEK! You can DO this!
…but that won’t last
What a naive optimistic fool you were six minutes ago. Of course we’re not going to win. We are the smug, sensible celery hovering awkwardly at the back of the glitzy, oozy, cheese and pastry-based buffet table of Europe – why would anybody choose to vote for the celery? All national pride will now have dissipated and you’ll be drowning your stiff upper lip in a lake of molten camembert, telling everyone you’re actually a quarter Danish on your father’s side. Nobody is even touching the Twiglets.
Europe is enormous
Remember all that jollity and enthusiasm you had an hour ago? It started waning with the third consecutive interpretative dance routine and the final drop evaporated round about the time of the argument over whether the Hungarian entry was playing a hurdy-gurdy or a lute. Now your eyelids are drooping, you’ve lost track of the scores on your notepad, the hummus is nearly finished and you’re barely halfway through all the countries. These aren’t even all the countries either, just the ones that qualified! At least espresso is definitely authentically European.
The leftovers will be interesting
After such a roller-coaster night of both octaves and emotions, you'll need a good breakfast to soothe you the following morning. And what better breakfast could there be than half a bottle of lukewarm Hoegaarden, a wheel of edam and what looks like the contents of a party popper drowned in whatever was left of the hummus? Hey, them’s the perks of being the host. Enjoy!