I’ve mentioned Brian before. He’s the organizer/chief setter of my favourite quiz down the rugby club on a Thursday night, and also this season has been a constant feature in the Llangewydd Arms team in the Bridgend quiz league. Now, in my salad days when I was green in judgement, although not, I’m afraid cool in blood, I used to pass comments whenever anyone new took a turn at being question master . I’d always anticipate a less than satisfactory evening – and sometimes my worst fears were confirmed, and sometimes they weren’t. On such occasions Brian would always gently pull me back into line with this saying – Variety is the spice of life. Don’t knock it until you’ve given it a fair try. Wise words.
Well, that was quite a long time ago. Back 15 years and more ago when I started setting quizzes for the rugby club I was keen as mustard to do it. I would have set the quiz every week if I’d been allowed. It’s probably a good thing that I wasn’t. Now I can see what he was driving at. It's very useful to have people wanting to set a quiz themselves. Putting together a quiz for the club is never a chore, even now, but it is time consuming. Well, it is if you take the necessary trouble over it anyway. Today I’ve been putting together the quiz for this Thursday , and it’s taken a few hours. I don’t like to use a quiz that I’ve used elsewhere, or put into one of the books, I feel happier compiling a brand new one for the club. Anyway, all done now. But if I'd had to do the quiz two or three weeks ago while we were at the busiest part of the busiest term of the school year. Well, I would have been pushed to do it, that's a fact.
Going back to my original point, last night I returned to the Dyffryn Arms. John is still in Hong Kong. I put my head around the door, but I couldn’t see the team I’d promised to play for, and so I was faced with a dilemma. Play as a singleton, or try to join another team. Well, Keith who often sets the quizzes there – and does a very good job of it too if I might say so – was on his own by the bar, and so I suggested we join forces for the evening. A little later Graham, one of the other two regular setters , joined us, as did a couple of other guys. It turned out that we had a new setter doing her first quiz last night – Stacey I think her name was. A gentleman should never make wild guesses about a lady’s age, so let’s suffice it to say she was comfortably within that age bracket a chap like me would define as ‘young’. Well, time was that I would have expected the worst, and would probably have said so to someone as well. Yet actually, the quiz she came up with wasn’t bad at all, in fact I have to say that I really enjoyed it. It was the usual five rounds. The first four were categories – In the News – Television – Music – I can’t remember the other, sorry, and the last round was General Knowledge. There was also a handout, about which more later. What I liked about it was that these weren’t question just plucked out of thin air. The TV and music ones had a fair old sprinkling from across the ages, as did the TV. I was delighted with myself for dredging up that it was Ray Brookes who narrated Mr. Benn, but a lot less delighted with myself for doubting it as an answer so much that I crossed it out and put something else instead.
I did mention the handout. It had a dozen album covers, and there was apoint for identifying the artist, and a point for identifying the title. Well, yes, it's no good expecting me to come up with stuff like Arctic Monkeys - Strokes - Smashing Pumpkins etc. , but even amongst all them you had Gary Numan's The Pleasure Principle, FLeetwood Mac's Tango in the Night and ABC's Lexicon of Love. So there had still been a little thought gone into putting a few which the oldies could get.
Yes, alright, the guys and I did win, and what’s more over half the Lemurs from the rugby club were there too, so we had serious opposition as well. But it just struck me that isn’t it nice to see a much younger person firstly volunteer to put a quiz together, and secondly to do so with a bit of skill, and end up delivering a good, honest enjoyable pub quiz. After all, this is the future of quizzing. It’s something Brian and I have discussed quite a bit. One of the sad things about the quiz in the rugby club is that I’m still one of the younger quizzers there. And I’m not that far off fifty. We have one team with some younger guys. They were in their 20s when they started coming, but they must be pushing their thirties now. Alright, I could get on my high horse and say – well, that’s all well and good , we don’t want loads of twentysomethings coming in here, bringing their phone cheating and their rounds full of recent entertainment questions with them. But that attitude won’t get us anywhere. The quiz will die if we don’t get some younger teams coming along. How we do it, I don’t know. There is undoubtedly an advantage in the rugby club quiz to being over 50 – and some weeks, over 60. If a younger team did come along I could well understand them feeling a little alienated by some of the questions. But what do you do ? If you slant your quiz towards younger teams, who are just not there in our quiz anyway, you risk upsetting your regulars – and your first duty when you set the quiz in the club is to try to give them a good evening out after all.
Anyway, I enjoyed the quiz last night !