QUIZ NIGHTS

Robert Duncan reflects on the triumphs, disasters, and just plain irritation of these chances to show off…

QuizFirst of all I will point out that my darling Cathy is far better at quizzes than I am. University Challenge, if you can call that a quiz, used to be something I could quietly excel at because (a) I would answer just after the bloke who buzzed said it, thereby implying that I knew it anyway, and (b) I was fairly chuffed to get the same wrong answer as the competitor. But Cathy, huh… She goes off on one (to bow to modern parlance) and answers everything in sight. It’s the same with Only Connect, Mastermind, and a load of others. I just sit there, going on mercilessly if I happen to get something right. There have even been times when she’s demolished me on my favourite subject, history of art, which I’m meant to know a lot about because I spent half my life in galleries before she was even born.

Cut to our very favourite time of the year, when we board the boat to Santander and spend a couple of nights on what we consider to be a mini cruise. All right, it’s not the Queen Mary, or hopefully the Titanic, but it’s brilliant – and is a great curtain-opener to the big move down to Spain for the summer. Kids secure in their cabins battling it out on Xbox or something, we repair to the bar, and the inevitable quiz. We normally do well enough to look round smugly at our fellow passengers, because we do know who painted The Night Watch or The Persistence of Memory, and Cathy does know the capital of Zimbabwe or somewhere because she’s been there, and we happen to know who sung the Siamese Cat song in Lady and the Tramp.

But the time that has gone down in history was the History of the Musicals quiz. Boy did we shine… we beat everyone hands down with such tricky posers as ‘What musical did ‘Try To Remember’ come from?’ (the Fantasticks) and ‘who sung Deborah Kerr’s songs in The King and I? (Marnie Nixon) We carried away the Brittany Ferries pen, bag and playing cards with immense pride…

Where am I going with all this? I hear you ask…

The fact is we are going to Jamie’s school quiz night tonight. At my tender age I rub shoulders with a bunch of very jolly and understanding young parents, and we have formed a team that could be world beating. Well, village beating anyway. Already we have locked horns on the name of our team. Nikki wants Amuse Bouche ( or maybe Abuse Mouche. That’s quite funny) and in the course of discussion we decided that we’re all a bit arty, so The Artists was suggested. I said we’d probably drink a bit so how about The Piss Artists? But my current favourite thought is That Lot Over There – which could be amusing when the quizmaster is referring to us.

And that’s it. I’ll complete this riveting text in a day or so, when we’ve done the school quiz. If I remove this last paragraph you’ll know that we failed miserably. Well you won’t actually, because I’ll abandon the whole stupid idea.

Watch this space…

Hello again. Well, we didn’t fail miserably. We just failed. We were right up there near the top, considering our abject failure with the sports questions, and we wuz robbed on the entertainment round. But it’s not the winning that matters, it’s the taking part (and if you believe that bollocks I’m very disappointed in you.) One shining success was the team name – That Lot Over There. Unknown to us, five extra points were awarded to the most original name and we won that. (Now let me see, who came up with it? Oh yes…) It did mean we were in the lead from the start, but as the social side and accompanying wine and food took over, we slipped away slightly, becoming more interested in the business of fun, and let the snobby lot on the next table with the fine fare and candelabra get on with it. If they were so determined to win they should have brought bloody Bamber Gascoyne along. Tired but happy we made it home, followed by texts and emails saying ‘Did I say that?’ and ‘She didn’t did she?’ Such fun…

I leave you with three quiz questions to test your general knowledge:
1. What year did the Titanic sink?
2. How many people were lost?
3. What were their names?