Welcome to Election Night 2016 - a night when the hopes and dreams of some candidates will be crushed into the ground like a discarded cigarette butt, and an entire nation will sit glued to the telly until silly o’clock in the hope that something exciting might happen in a municipal hall somewhere in Scotland.
It’s a night when Returning Officers get their second in the spotlight, and when the media pulls an all-nighter up on the balconies of sports centres, surviving on nothing more than gossip, coffee and the occasional cigarette break. We do it so you can relax in your onesie on the sofa. The world isn’t quite ready for the sight of Brian Taylor and his BBC chums broadcasting in their onesies, and let us hope it never is.
But how to survive those endless hours when nothing actually happens?
From the polls closing at 10.00 p.m to the other side of midnight the nation awaits the breathless, breaking news ’’we’re going live to Cumbernauld!’’
Then - and only then - do we sit up, strap ourselves in and get really interested in who is going to Holyrood and who is going back to their admin job on Friday morning, their hopes of one day becoming First Minister stuffed firmly into life’s envelope of disappointment.
So, allow us to help enhance your election night experience with a few ideas to keep you a) sane b) awake and c) possibly a wee bit more tipsy than you should be on a school night.
Get your supplies in, move the coffee table closer to the sofa and enjoy our own Survival Guide to Election Night 2016.
1 Warm up for the night ahead with an opening - and easy - sweepstake. Guess the time when the first pundit or politician will use the phrase ‘’It’s early yet - let’s see how the night turns out.’’
2 Award yourself a drink at the first exit poll findings. Make it champagne if your party is suddenly doing better than expected. Make it a double if your lot is about to tank and it’s barely 11.00 p.m.
3 Make everyone on the sofa yell ‘’rubbish!’’ at the telly every time a party spin doctor says ‘’too close to call.’’
4 Pass round the KP Nuts every time a politician claims to have had ‘’a positive response on the doorstep’’ (Extra scoop if they also chuck in ‘’we were the only party with a positive message.’’)
5 Organise a party game by building your own Swingometer made out of an old Rice Krispies container, a wooden spoon, three rubber bands and an off cut of lino you bunged up in the attic.
6 Pass round the Bombay mix every time you see footage a party leader posing while casting their vote or leaving the polling station with a cheesy smile on their coupon.
7 Start a sweepstake - guess the time Tommy Sheridan will first pop up on your telly. Put us down for 1.10 a.m.
8. Join in the speculation on turnout - make up your own number and percentage and beat the experts at their own game. Winner gets a drink of his/her choice. Mine’s a bottle of Bud ...
9 To stave off boredom waiting on the first result coming in from a town you last visited when you were a nipper, make up your own manifesto using only your childhood Etch-A-Sketch which is still in a box in the garage. Take a picture and post it on twitter. Warning: You may end being elected First Minister by an easily impressed social media audience
10 Talking of social media, fall out with someone on Twitter.
11. Spot someone you know at the count - break open a cold tin, raise to to the telly and shout ‘cheers!’
12 At midnight begin a new game entitled ‘’Can you name that Tory Grandee in the studio?’’ Clue: First name probably ‘Lord.’
13 Have a drink every time you spot Alex Salmond on a TV gantry waiting to be cued in for an interview.
14 Create your own bingo card and tick ‘em off
‘One only poll that counts ...’
Returning Officer’s big moment drowned out by cheering winning party enthusiast’ ...
Losing party leader asked if they’ll quit ...
It’s shaping up to be a bad night for ...
Where does Labour go from here’ studio debate ...
First interviewee cut off mid sentence to go a live result ...
Footage of party activists staring earnestly as the votes are counted (all parties needed for a full hoose) ...
Footage of candidate who didn’t expect to win suddenly running like a loon round the hall in celebration ...
15 Go to bed. Yes, we know it’s almost dawn and your neighbour has just slammed their front door shut, but you need to sleep - you’ve got to go to work in three hours!