This it how it ends: you, your best mates, and that weird bloke you met in the smoking area who was convinced he knew one of you and stuck around for so long that you all felt terrible about sacking him off when the club closed. Your sitting in a lounge that feels like it's getting smaller as the seconds go by. Not wanting the night to end, you've piled everyone into cabs, stopping off for tinnies, tobacco, and massive bags of crisps that you all know no one is actually going to eat.
Things are going well. Really well. Every song is amazing, every moment a moment of the most tender kind of friendship. Then it happens. It goes quiet. Really quiet. So quiet that all of you can only think about how quiet it's gone, and that's making being not-quiet seem like an impossibility. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Someone speak. Please. Anybody. If somebody doesn't speak soon then before long somebody else will bring up the idea of getting a taxi and then before you know it you'll be back in a freezing cold bed, shuddering under a duvet, staring at the ceiling. Say something!
"Donald Trump...is bad..."
Not as easy as it looks, is it? So, in order to avoid yourself rehashing the same conversations you have weekend after weekend about the future of the left, cultural appropriation and your own anxieties, here are 50 fool-proof conversation starters. Just don't ask anyone if they had a good night, please.
50 FOOLPROOF AFTER-PARTY CONVERSATION STARTERS THAT AREN'T "DID YOU HAVE A GOOD NIGHT?"
1) "Hey, here's one for you, if the universe is expanding, what is it expanding into?"
2) "Do you reckon the banker on Deal or No Deal is actually real? Or do you think he is a complex part of Noel Edmonds' extended nervous breakdown?"
3) "Now what the heck did Bill Murray actually say to Scarlett Johansson?!"
4) "Have you seen Stranger Things?"
5) "Can you believe the gall of FIFA—crooked FIFA—lecturing the British on their morals! Our players should wear their poppies with pride...stuff the rules!"
6) "Does anybody have any tobacco?"
7) "Do you think you could fit your whole fist in your mouth?"
8) "Who would win in a fight between a fired up and feisty Phil Mitchell or a fired up and feisty Grant Mitchell?"
9) "Are you seeing someone at the moment or are you single?"
10) "Who's the most famous person you've ever met? Discuss."
11) "Hey, here's one for you, if you could buy happiness, would you? Because I've always believed that happiness can't be bought."
12) "Do you reckon soldiers should get footballers' wages?"
13) "Now, who the heck is Banksy?!"
14) "No, but, have you seen Stranger Things?"
15) "Can you believe what the government are doing? I mean I've stopped reading the papers recently because it all got a bit depressing, but there's a bloke on Twitter who I really trust and the stuff he's been saying..."
16) "Does anybody have a Rizla?"
17) "Do you think you could watch an entire episode of You've Been Framed and not smile or laugh once?"
18) "Who would win in a fight between God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit?"
19) "When you say 'in a relationship', is it serious?"
20) "Let's play Desert Island Dips. You are stranded on a desert island, and you can only take one bread derivative, one potato derivative, three dips, and a luxury item. Discuss"
21) "Hey, here's one for you, will humankind ever stop fighting wars? Or is violence an inherent facet of our nature?"
22) "Do you reckon that the food on Kitchen Nightmares really is as vomit-inducing as Chef Ramsay makes out?"
23) "Now, what the heck? Did the guy on Serial actually do it or not?!"
24) "Have you, like, seen Stranger Things, on Netflix?"
25) "Can you believe some killjoys are saying the iguana vs snakes chase scene in Planet Earth II was a hoax? Don't these dusty old sods realise that Attenborough is a national treasure? When he dies, we should get a day of mourning and he should get a state funeral! He's like a big cuddly grandad!"
26) "Does anybody have a filter?"
27) "Do you think you could cut off your own hand and drink your own piss like James Franco in the movie where he played a vlogger who falls down a hole?"
28) "Who would win in a fight between the little lad with the glasses from Diversity and the big lad who did opera? No, not Paul Potts. The one who sang with a girl. Looked a bit like Rik Waller but wasn't Rik Waller. Him."
29) "Well are they here now? Because we could all be in relationships, but if they're not here then what's the difference you know..."
30) "Which actor would you get to play you in a movie of your life? NB: They have to have appeared in Coronation Street at some point in their career. Discuss."
31) "Hey, here's one for you, what if we were the aliens? Think about it like that and it's pretty fucked up."
32) "Do you reckon that you could die from eating too many bananas in one sitting?"
33) "Now, what the heck was in the suitcase in Pulp Fiction? Seriously. What the fuck was it? I need to know. Amazing movie, dude, but that's been bugging me for yonks!"
34) "Did you say Stranger Things?"
35) "Can you believe 2016!?"
36) "Does anybody have a lighter?"
37) "Do you think you could keep it down? We're trying to watch an entire episode of You've Been Framed without laughing."
38) "Who'd win in a fight between Jamie Jones and Richy Ahmed?"
39) "No I don't want to meet them...I was saying me and you should...alright mate?"
40) "Some people think after parties like this one are actually quite tragic, because they're an explicit show of how terrified we all are of being alone at the end of the night. Discuss"
41) "Hey, here's one for you: why can't you ever remember the moment you fall asleep? Sure you can remember what you did in the lead up to falling asleep, but when it comes to the next morning you can never remember what actually happened in the second you fell. It could be a moment of absolutely internal agony, or complete euphoric bliss, but we never, ever, remember. I find those blank spaces in my memory deeply unsettling."
42) "Do you reckon that there really is a dead munchkin in the background of The Wizard of Oz?"
43) "Now, what the heck are we going to about the bloody environment?!"
44) "I...because...what...but...have you seen Stranger Things?"
45) "Can you believe that the sun's nearly out? Mad isn't it, how time works. Isn't it really fucking mad how, when you think about it, time isn't real? Isn't that mad. It is, isn't it? Isn't it mad. Tell me it is. Please. Tell me. Now. Please."
46) "Does anybody want to smoke this cigarette for me? Because it's just dawned on that ten minutes have elapsed and I'm actually just watching arid strings of tobacco drip onto the carpet."
47) "Do you think you could fly a plane? If you were the only person on the flight left conscious, nowhere else to turn, just you and a tunnel of metal hurtling towards the ocean floor, do you think you'd be up to it mate?"
48) "Who'd win in a fight between James Bond, Bruce Wayne and the adult man wearing three-quarter-length shorts and a massive water-proof watch asking you this question?"
49) "So, um, where did you two meet then?"
50) Calling an Uber. Discuss.