How to make small talk at an awkward family party, by Prince Andrew

IN my experience, family parties can be chilly affairs where nobody wants to talk to you. Here’s how to break the ice.

Ask open-ended questions

I have found that yes or no questions like ‘do you hate me?’ and ‘please can I keep living in the Royal Lodge?’ only bring conversations to a juddering halt. Instead, you should ask open-ended questions like ‘so how long until I return to royal duties?’ or ‘what else do I need to do for you to forgive me?’. They encourage a longer reply and you’re less likely to be told to piss off.

Avoid the news

Discussing the news is guaranteed to bring the mood down. It’s all cost of living this and Ukraine that, which is a major buzz kill. I find it’s best to completely avoid politics, religion and world events, and would even go so far as to deter family members from engaging with current affairs altogether. Especially if it’s f**king Newsnight.

Bring up the black sheep of the family

Every family has a disgrace they love to bitch about, so drop their name into conversation and get people talking. My family’s a notoriously squeaky clean bunch, but even we have a shameful stray who’s f**ked off abroad and spat on everything he’s been given. I like to bring him up at every opportunity as somehow him marrying an American makes me look good by comparison. According the the Daily Mail, at least.

Suck up to the most powerful person

Still struggling to strike up a conversation? Track down the most powerful person in your family and brown nose them like your life depends on it. If you can win them over then there’s a chance that everyone who has you in their bad books might come around. And if that doesn’t work, go moping back to the one person who continues to support you for no explicable reason. Mine’s called Fergie.

Remember you’re the favourite

The key to making small talk is being confident, so I like to boost my spirits by reminding myself that I was mummy’s favourite. Everyone loved her and she was always right about everything, so that must mean I’m really special and don’t deserve to be hidden away anymore. In fact, I should have been the monarch, instead of King Sausage Fingers. Why is life so endlessly unfair?

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Six years of research sending tanked-up scientists to shag munters proves beer goggles are a myth

A VITAL research project where scientists drank beer and had sex with partners of below-average attractiveness has proved beer goggles to be a myth.

A team of scientists received £1.2m in public funding to undertake the research, which saw them spend night after gruelling night in provincial nightclubs drinking Fosters before engaging in coitus with women they did not much fancy.

Professor Henry Brubaker of the Institute for Studies said: “It’s taken its toll. I used to be pretty drunk after four pints. Now I can sink 12 and still give a steg a proper seeing-to.

“For our research to be valid it had to be undertaken in real-world conditions. We’ve been up and down the country, from pubs in Redditch to nightclubs in Crewe, setting ourselves a minimum limit of five pints before we even look at a woman.

“Christ, the shags we’ve had in the name of science, beer sloshing around in our bellies while a dinner lady climbs aboard and takes a ride. The damp-stained wallpaper we’ve had spinning around us.

“But it was all worth it because we’ve proved beer goggles aren’t real and actually what takes place is that men, after a certain point of drunkenness, stop lying to themselves and admit they’ll shag anything.

“That couldn’t possibly have been discovered without such extensive research. I’m basically the Wetherspoons Oppenheimer. Anyone up for a pint?”