Sunday, May 30, 2010

Eurovision 2010 - The Morning After...

In comparison to last year, Eurovision 2010 started quite slowly...

After all, the fact that the hosts didn't try and sing and generally did their best to minimise the 'fake improvisation', meant that rules 2, 3 and 4 were only rarely touched upon. Throw in the fact that hardly anyone in the room mentioned Terry Wogan and the, frankly conspicuous, absence of Pete Waterman being mentioned and I was concerned the drinking may not be able to fully get going...

My theory, by the way, on Pete Waterman is that he realised what a turgid, mid-1980s song - perhaps taken from a selection turned down by Rick Astley in his heyday for being too cheesy - he had delivered and, like a used car trader selling you an utter lemon, decided to leg it before anyone else realised what they had taken delivery of...

However, with a range of songs that borrowed from previous entries, a selection of moustaches and leather clothing (not to mention Serbia's entry which clearly fell foul of rule 8), my early concerns were soon replaced by a realisation that if the judging was as ethnically, geographically and/or politically biased as last year (thus tripping the dreaded rule 20) then I may have to drink even more alcohol than I had imagined...

And then, it happened.

The judging. And suddenly, all my concerns about rule 20, paled into insignificance as the sleeping threat of rule 19 revealed itself. No one was voting for the UK. No one. Round after round of juries voted and not one of the buggers gave even a single point to Josh (who I actually felt quite sorry for - he ended up being given a turkey of a song and his backing had the production value of a primary school nativity play). Cue a chorus of "Royaume-Uni? Nil point!" - cue another sip of vodka (aquavit all long gone by this stage). Cue an impossible to catch slide into drunken oblivion...

Definitely some rules changes coming for next year's inevitable revision (you'll just have to wait and see). Hope everyone who played enjoyed themselves and I sincerely apologise for the current pain you may be experiencing...

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Job No. 92 - Operational Officer

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, Operational Officer? Really? Operational Officer??

After all, Operational Officer sounds like a rather dull job that would involve considerable stapling and possibly the use of spreadsheets - it's surely a job nowhere near as exciting as, for example, being a part-time Antelope Keeper, a Sock Designer or a Psychic Medium...

But you'd be wrong. Oh so very wrong. So wrong, that if you went any further, you'd be right (see my earlier circular theories).

You see, Operational Officer is actually the politically correct, dressed up for the 21st Century, term for a James Bond. Yes, that's I have applied to be a member of that sterling British establishment, MI6.

Back in Bond's heyday, a military career was an obvious requirement for such a job but times have clearly changed. Now you don't need to be able to shoot a perfect 600 in the 25 metre rapid-fire-pistol range - instead you just need a 2.2 degree and strong awareness of global politics. Which, on one hand, is rather disappointing but - on the other - suddenly opens the door to people like me (who only score 592 on a good day...).

Now, having watched plenty of Bond films (and even worked on a James Bond videogame) I felt that I knew what MI6 would be really looking for - someone with the ability to play world class poker, the desire and skill to drive fast cars to the very limit, their own pair of speedos and an irresistibly magnetic effect on women (particularly of the Eastern European persuasion).

So...just my poker skills to work on then...

The website was pretty clear that I shouldn't talk to anyone about the fact that I was applying but I figured that they wouldn't have a problem with me blogging about it - after all, this is a typical spy ruse. Here I am blogging about applying to MI6 - who, therefore, would ever believe that they would hire me? Ha - and thus I am able to hide in plain sight! I'm sure they'll be impressed by my reasoning...

But, before I could go out and order my Tom Ford suit and Omega watch, I needed to craft an application letter that would have MI6 scrabbling to hire me before I was snapped up by a less reputable agency such as the CIA...

Dear Sir/Madam

For Your Eyes Only

I am writing in order to apply for the position of Operational Officer, as advertised in both the Guardian and on your website.

I possess an MA and a strong awareness of Global Politics. Above and beyond that, I have a good knowledge of a wide variety of card games, possess a full clean UK driving license, own several pairs of swimming trunks and have a basic grounding in the essentials of a variety of Eastern European languages (certainly, enough to allow for meaningful interaction with foreign operatives).

I look forward to hearing from you soon...


Oliver Davies.

Based upon that, I am fairly confident that MI6 will waste little time in calling me in for a more detailed assessment and, before you know it, I'll be slapped on a plane to an isolated tropical island where an ex-Soviet General, now transvestite Voodoo priestess, is camping it up in an underground layer, guarded by giant piranhas (equipped with lasers)...

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Job No. 91 - Bad Debt Collector

I have a theory relating to films, a theory that first coalesced around about the time that I first watched Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus. The theory holds that the relationship between a good film and a bad film is entirely circular; which is to say that a film can be so bad that it comes all the way back round to being good.

Pah, you say (or some similar utterance), I've had that theory for years! But wait, there's more...

You see, because the relationship is circular it means that, if you watch a film that is truly, deeply, utterly, mind-numbingly and soul-destroyingly bad (please, watch Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus in its entirety so you truly understand) then not only does it come all the way round to being good but it keeps going - until it has come all the way back round to being bad again.

Now, you may be asking yourself why, I am making reference to this fascinating cinematic theory (which, even now people are likely scribbling down and trying to turn into a PhD). Well, the answer is simple - the circular theory, as I realised today, can also be applied to the relationship between suitable and unsuitable jobs.

Which is why, tempting as it may be, I cannot apply for the position of Gay Travel Guru, as advertised on

So, instead, I have today turned my attentions to a job which, initially, I thought would be a cinch for me since it required that I be completely inept - Bad Debt Collector in La Porte, Indiana. After all, it's not often that you find a job in which they are actively looking for people who are bad at their job (with the possible exception of politics, in which it appears to be a prerequisite) so I was quick to begin crafting my application letter.

Until a worrying thought crept into my head. What if they didn't want a bad debt collector but, instead, wanted a bad debt collector? A quick visit to an online dictionary and I was left in a quandary - were they looking for someone who would fail to achieve an adequate standard in their debt collection, or someone who would carry out their duties in an evil and sinful manner?

Choices, choices.

So, I decided to play it safe and, after a quick watch of Pulp Fiction, crafted a letter that would hint at my ability to seamlessly adapt to either interpretation:

Dear Sir/Madam

I am writing with reference to the position of Bad Debt Collector, as advertised on

While I am not formally trained in the noble art of debt collection I have the sense (from your job advertisement) that this may not necessarily be a negative and, indeed, could be a positive. I feel that I could attain the very nadir of your expectations and fulfil the demands of the role.

I appreciate that the path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the iniquities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men and, thus, I feel that the position of Bad Debt Collector would be a perfect opportunity to strike down, with great vengeance and furious anger, those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers.

I look forward to hearing from you in the near future.



Now, I just have to sit back and wait. I have a feeling this could be the one; unless, that is, they want me to lay my vengeance upon them...

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Oliver's Eurovision Drinking Game 2010

Well, it's that time of year again and, after the sterling success of my Eurovision drinking game last year (and the vague hangover that followed), I decided that I should really follow up with a revised version of the game which can be played while watching the BBC coverage of the 2010 Eurovision Song Contest. As before, some of the rules are slightly UK-centric so, if you intend to play this in another country, just ignore rules 1, 5 and 19 and knock back three shots before you get started.

Now, a word of warning; this game is based upon the consumption 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. Play this game at your own risk…

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

2. For true authenticity you need several bottles of Akevitt or Aquavit (a favoured Norwegian spirit made from potatoes and carraway seeds) but, assuming your local Tesco has failed to replenish its Akevitt supplies, I would recommend a decent vodka. If in doubt go with Stolichnaya...

The rules are very simple. You take a sip of Aquavit (or vodka) if:

1) Pete Waterman is mentioned. Drink an entire shot if the camera picks him out in the audience.

2) Either of the hosts attempts to sing.

3) Either host pretends to be surprised at something said or done by the other in a clearly well rehearsed piece of improvisation.

4) Either of the hosts loses track of their autocue.

5) Anyone sitting in the room with you mentions Terry Wogan. Drink an entire shot if someone says something along the lines of ‘It’s not the same without Terry Wogan’ - he's been gone for two years people! Deal with it!

6) The video shown before an act contains shots of people in traditional costumes. Drink two shots if anyone is seen doing the traditional Norwegian Halling dance. And, yes, I know it looks eerily similar to some of the scenes from Monty Python's Silly Walk sketch...

7) You see an elk. Drink an entire shot if it’s a person dressed in an elk costume.

8) You aren’t entirely sure whether the singer is man who looks like a woman, or a woman who looks like a man.

9) A country is represented by a singer from somewhere else in the world.

10) The act involves people on stage banging large drums or industrial objects acting as large drums.

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

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

13) The act possesses a large moustache.

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 (i.e French singing in a song by Malta). One sip per language. If in doubt, 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 an ode to world peace. Drink three shots immediately if there are any children on stage at any time during the song.

18) 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.

19) Every time you hear "Royaume-Uni? Nil point!"

20) Every time a country gives top marks to someone for geographic, political or ethnic reasons. Drink an entire shot if they give them to Russia because they’re worried they won’t get any gas next Winter otherwise.

21) 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.