Just over a month ago I posted my New Year Resolutions and because when I have something in my head that I want to do my sense of focus becomes scary on a level which even I can acknowledge, last night I started work on number 4 ("Find a new Quiz night") with a little help from Val.
A quick scout round the local evening paper revealed that publicised quiz nights were a little thin on the ground. There was however one at the Melbourne, a venue which Val and I are starting to get something of a history with so, having checked that they weren't attempting to fool us and had moved the quiz to Friday night*, we decided that would be the venue for our first Pub Quiz of 2006. Which meant us settling into our Melbourne routine, a routine which principally consists of:
1. Val driving us into York (through the slightly more scary route).
2. Us going to Wetherspoons and having meals from the 2 for five pounds section.
3. At something to nine driving from Wetherspoons to the carpark of the Barbican Centre.
4. Having a Fox flashback in the car park as the Barbican was the scene of the first time we saw him perform.
5. Having a Griffin flashback whilst crossing the road.
6. Walking to the Melbourne and being able to sit in what is almost becoming our corner.
And because we had a bit of time before the quiz started we also got to have an almost as tradditional conversation on Shakespeare, because, hey we're Shakespeare annoraks and proud.
Having collected our quiz sheet [both of us noting that this was the first pub quiz we'd ever done where the quiz sheet hadn't been brought to us] we started to prepare with the sort of Olympic Athlete style preparation that comes when you give two competitive people a quiz.
Then the first blip came - the quiz was to be multiple choice. Now, I'm sorry, but multiple choice does not come into pub quizes. Multiple choice means a game of chance not of skill. And I will always chose skill over luck. Luck is out of my control. Skill isn't.
It was as incredibly difficult - in a random, how on earth could you possibly know that kind of way - as the multiple choice thing suggested. And for the second time in just over a month I was mildly traumatised for having been born in the eighties [I was possibly the only person in the pub who was, so I reckon we should have got a couple of points in lieu]. Without the multiple choice answers I'd have been able to answer outright a grand total of one of the questions [which Beatle has 'Winston' as their middle name] with Val polling a better 3 or 4.
When marking time came it quickly emerged that we'd done quite well with all the questions we could rationalise down [the name of the secret police in Iran, what 'utopia' means in its literal form, the Addams family pet] and had gotten a worrying number down to 50:50 and then plumped for the wrong answer. We'd fallen down quite impressively on the pot luck ones [the year of the first royal ascot, Larry Grayson's real name, what Keith Richards's job was before he joined the Rolling Stones]. But I felt that however far we'd fallen, we had at least not slumped to the level of the people whose quiz paper we were marking who had written 'eutopia' in the top right hand corner. Had I have been in charge they'd have lost five marks for that alone.
When it came to final scores Team Northern Glory** managed a rather impressive second to last with 15 out of 40, though since the margin of victory wasn't much more than that I wasn't too miffed. Plus I'd done well with the tiebreaker question [the cost of the new Wembley Stadium***] so really we were only a couple of chance questions away from a much more respectable placing. And as everyone got a prize we were presented with a packet of cheese crisps - and to my delight - a packet of scampi fries. I didn't even know that such a thing as scampi fries existed, so to now be in possession of such a culinary delight made the evening worthwhile.
As it was almost time for my last train home we left after this with my managing to assert my rampant intellectual snobbery [what can I say, it's something I've honed over the years] and us deciding that we were going to continue the search for a pub which might yeild better results. Better results meaning somewhere where they ask us about Shakespeare.
*This is, sadly, not a joke. They once did this with a gig.
**There were a couple of horse racing questions and if the Northern Division had a real horse - as opposed to fake fluffy keyring ones - we'd call it Northern Glory.
***So - almost - working in the construction industry does pay off.