Pub quiz of doom


Quizzes are, in my opinion, a very pleasant way to spend an evening, particularly if you do so alongside nice people.  There is exercise for the brain, there is pleasant company, there is camaraderie, rivalry and a soupcon of tension.  There can be banter, lively debates about the correct responses, moments of amused frustration when the right answers are revealed and even a thrilling tie-breaker.  So, in company with four lovely people and a slightly bewildered guide dog, I was looking forward to a good evening as we descended upon the Olde Beverlie pub.  The event turned out to be highly amusing, but not really for the expected reasons.

The team was merrily chortling, and even weeping with laughter, very early on in proceedings as the quizmaster announced the rounds, so that we could choose where to play our joker.  “Round 1,” he told us “is General Knowledge 1.”  Fair enough, most quizzes could do with a round or two of general knowledge questions.  “Round 2 is General Knowledge 2.”  OK…  Perhaps it would have been better to mix the rounds up a bit, but we can cope.  “Round 3 is… General Knowledge 3.”  Oh, dear.  By this point, murmurs were going around the venue and it was with a sense of great anticipation that we awaited news of round 4.  Sure enough, General Knowledge 4.  “Are you sure?” shouted one team as our table slowly lost control and displayed varying levels of mirth.  Undeterred, we were informed that the next round, predictably, would be General Knowledge 5.  Thankfully, round 6 would be a specialist round, where the joker could not be played.  But round 7 would be… General Knowledge 7, of course.  Though surely it should have been General Knowledge 6 as there was a definite lack of that number?  No, 7 it was and would remain.  Then there’d be General Knowledge 8 and the Who/What/Where Am I round, just for a touch of variety.  “So you’ll be playing your jokers blind.”  No kidding.

At this point, I should mention that not only did the quizmaster have the most boring voice imaginable (frankly, I’ve heard more interesting voices emanating from the software that reads scanned books aloud) and microphone technique that belonged in a wedding scene from a second rate romantic comedy.  Nobody had ever told him that microphones and speakers are not very good friends, so the entire evening had a soundtrack of squeaks, whistles and groans from the sound system, sometimes varied by the quizmaster whistling into his mic. – not an activity that is likely to win you many friends.

Having had Mr Deadpan and his Public Address Orchestra tell us the names of the rounds, we paused while team names and monies were collected.  Our table agreed that the laughter brought on by being told that “Round 8 is General Knowledge 8” was worth the one pound admission fee in itself.  This was just as well, for the evening had truly peaked at this point, though the team that aptly named itself ‘Generally Knowledgeable’ certainly made a bid for Mr Deadpan’s comedy crown.

Questions were read in a barely comprehensible fashion, partly due to the ever-present feedback and partly due to the quizmaster’s accent, which grew thicker and thicker as more alcohol was consumed.  They followed relentlessly one after the other, with no breaks between rounds until the half way point of marking and collecting scores, which was probably demanded by the barman so that the quizzers could have a chance to buy some refreshing beverages.

Because our quizmaster is a natural comedian, he would sometimes tell us the wrong answer to a question, then say, with barely a moment’s pause “just kidding, it’s…”  There are times when this could be funny, but when you’re mumbling into a badly-used microphone and displaying signs of inebriation, it’s just annoying.  Comic timing is not a skill that appears to be necessary to host a quiz.  To be fair to the man, he did appeal for someone else to organise a future quiz or two to give him a rest, but he really was the worst quiz host I’ve ever encountered.  The event had amusement value, but largely from cringing in horror at his extraordinarily politically incorrect comments or growing ever more frustrated with his microphone technique.  It’s not a pub quiz I’m likely to attend again.  Consider this an official unrecommendation.

If you do go, they’ll probably have reached General Knowledge 74…

[UPDATE: For a different, more amusing, view on the same event, see Lyndall’s post Publicly Quizzical.]

    • randomvic
    • August 13th, 2008

    Gosh, having read both accounts it sounds positively soul destroying!

  1. So not a contender for the new host of Countdown then….

  2. Ugh, no. That would be a very bad move indeed.

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