Considering my job, I really don’t take part in many pub quizzes these days. Indeed, it had been a couple of years since I’d last risked my reputation in that way. So, on a Wednesday night when I was off quiz-running duty, I took myself off to a local pub and took on the world.
It was fun. I like quizzes, I realise.
It was your standard “sent out by a successful company” quiz and, I’ve got to say, the last time I’d done one of theirs, I’d found the questions pretty disappointing, but this time round, I was pleasantly surprised – they were tight, pretty clever and interesting [I went back again this week, and the questions were even better]. It goes to show – if you’re writing questions all the time, as the writers of these quizzes are, and as I do, you have good days and bad days. Some days I sit down to write questions and will only come up with a few limp and obvious ones, and then the next day I’ll write 50 questions which I know can be used and re-used. Quality can inevitably vary, it’s just about having an effective quality control system.
It’s fun taking part in a quiz on your own, albeit it’s more like a school exam than a proper pub quiz experience, where banter and discussion and working things out together is part of the fun. Notwithstanding the obligatory barflies trying to give me help when their help is the last thing I wanted, there was no banter for me.
Still, I was pleased. I pretty much nailed it, in terms of eking out the points I could possibly get, and I was pretty confident I’d win, especially when the third place team had a score 11 points lower than mine. But, no, I was thwarted, by one point, dammit, though was happy enough with a little share of the kitty. [The excellent showing of this winning team, incidentally, directly affected my performance on my second visit last night, where I took a wild risk on the wipeout round thinking I’d need everything to beat them, only to find out at the end that if I’d played it safe I’d have won].
Funnily enough, of the nine points I dropped, five of them were on football-related questions, which just goes to show that what you think is your strength isn’t necessarily so. On one of my few ghastly TV appearances, I took on sport as my speciality only to come up horribly short. And yet, I live and breathe sport, always have done, still do. I’ve written about this before in terms of writing questions, that the best questions we write are usually not on our own favourite subjects, but maybe it applies (to a lesser extent) to answering questions as well – we don’t use the problem-solving part of our brain so valuable for quizzes when the subject is something we think we already know about. Who knows?
Anyway, it was fun to get back in the game. The essence and heart of what we do is the good old pub quiz, so I shouldn’t let so long go by without one in the future.