Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Don't Quiz Me about What Day It Is

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Don't Quiz Me about What Day It Is

Article excerpt

IHAD an uncommonly good day this week. I finished something on which I have been working during my spare time for about a year.

And then, after I had done a little victory lap in my living room, practised my award-winner's speech, and chosen my sun-bleached villa on the Amalfi coast, I got ready for a Big Quiz.

I am quite good at quizzes. When I was a child I was captain of my school quiz team, and we won actual competitions. Cambridge Bainbridge, they called me, loading me with a level of expectation I have spent the subsequent 34 years comprehensively shedding.

It turns out that my knowledge is wide, but also shallow. I know that the First World War was caused by the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo, but I have no idea why. My intellect is like a creme brulee, a thin, brittle coating of wisdom and general facts concealing a vast, seething custard of self-sabotage and ignorance.

Anyway, this makes me prime fodder for people rounding up quiz teams. So it proved last week when my friend Alistair begged me on bended knee to join his group competing in a quiz night.

A couple of years ago, Alistair and some people from the office appeared on the TV show Eggheads. They were glorious failures. I am not saying that they would have won had they asked me to be among their number, but we will never be able to prove otherwise.

In any case, a couple of the massive Egghead losers were unable to attend this quiz night and so when Alistair was forced to ask me to make up the team, I Genius in the face mere detail agreed. Among the things that make me so brilliant are my humility and my ability to set aside long-held and totally understandable grievances for the common good.

This is because I do like a pub quiz. I am an occasional member of a team which plays on a Thursday night - occasional because I usually work on a Thursday night - and so I feel I am among my people, people who cannot kick a ball in a straight line unless a curve is required but know that Albania borders on the Adriatic.

But there are three types of attendee who are always at a pub quiz. …

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