Monday, 11 August 2008

First entry to the Guide

Last night I returned to The Pheasant in Pen-y-fai, near Bridgend. There was a little bit of confusion after I arrived when it turned out that the question master had left them in the lurch. Still another of the regular QMs dug out a quiz, and it went ahead.

How do I rate this quiz ? Well the venue scores well, since its light, pleasant and very welcoming to newcomers. Another bonus point is that there are 4 rounds, there’s no charge for playing in the quiz, and yet each round has three prizes. The prizes aren’t all that much to write home about, but it’s the fact that there’s a good share out which is so appealing.

I don’t like the fact that the first round is just music - 30 songs – name the artist and the song, but then its not all about what I like, and the regulars enjoy this. There’s usually at least one picture round, another themed round, an a general knowledge round to finish. So you could end up with as few as 20 General Knowledge questions in the whole quiz. That’s not the way that I like it, but that’s just the way it is. The quiz varies a little from week to week as different QMs take turns to set their own quiz.
Overall I’d give it 2 and a half question marks in the good quiz guide.

It works like this : -

Good Quiz Guide Key

? - ? - ? - ? - ?
Quiz Heaven. You’ll never want to miss this quiz once you’ve played in it.

? - ? - ? - ?
This is a very good quiz, and one you’ll want to come back to. High standards , time an trouble have been taken when setting it.

? - ? - ?
A good standard for a pub quiz to achieve. An enjoyable evening, despite one or two minor gripes

? - ?
Bog standard quiz you could get anywhere, but not terrible.

Not a good evening. Poorly organised, only worth doing if you’re really at a loose end.

No mark
Avoid it like the plague. Poorly planned, inaccurate, terrible quiz master, horrible venue.

In reality, very few quizzes I've ever been to would be guaranteed five marks, but then hardly any would get zero either. In fact, only one occurs from the top of my head, and I shall quote from my diary. This was our one and only visit to the Three Horseshoes in Moulton, on 28th October last year : -

"We arrived at The Three Horseshoes at about 8:20. Now, Moulton seems to me to be in the middle of nowhere. I can’t imagine that the pub gets a lot of passing trade, but it’s a big place. When we arrived there were just 5 of us in the pub – me, John and Phillippa, the barman, and a fellow eating a very late Sunday lunch. We asked, and it turned out that nothing was going to happen until after 9 o’clock, when they’d start giving out the picture round- depending on how many teams turned up – apparently it wasn’t unknown for there to be just two teams there.

Getting on for 9 o’clock, a few teams started to arrive. Eventually the question master came up and started to have a little chat with us. He was very welcoming – called John ‘sir ‘ of all things. Still, he did say ,
“ Oh – you’ll enjoy this – “ which is a bad sign, and then “ It’s a fun quiz “ – which is an even worse sign. My fears weren’t exactly allayed by his next comment – “ there’s no Geography or Science or anything like that . “
For ‘fun quiz’ read amateurish, and unenjoyable, most of the time. Still, we were there now, so we had to stick it out. He gave out the pictures, and then proceeded to circulate amongst the teams, telling them the answers to any of them which they didn’t know !
We noticed that there was a sign above the bar saying that the Sunday quiz was the longest running quiz in the Vale of Glamorgan, and that it began promptly at 7:30. Even allowing for the clocks going back this was ridiculous ! Finally the quiz proper ( and I use that phrase in its loosest possible sense ) began some time after 9:30. He had background music ! I kid you not ! A CD full of old rock and roll ‘classics’, which he turned up to full blast while he was reading out the questions. Now, alright, all of this was not my cup of tea at all, but if the question master had been a good one, it could have still been alright. What can I say ? He fell into every trap a question master can fall. This fellow must have thought he was on TV or the radio. He put on this voice which was straight off Radio 1 c. 1975. Then he started bleating on with every question, eg.
“ Ok , now all of the questions tonight are easy. Easy , Easy , Easy. Did I hear you say they’re easy? That’s right ! They’re all easy ! Now , question 1, your first question tonight, is easy ! That’s right – the first question I’m going to ask you tonight. . . is an easy one. So, here we go . . . with an easy question to begin with. – “ and so on. He engaged in this pseudo-banter with some of the other teams – only he was getting no response from any of them.

After the first 30 questions, he took a break, and he made a beeline straight for our table. Half of me wouldn’t have been surprised if he’d had a look at our answers, and said “ We don’t like strangers round yere !” , but no. He was after an ego boost. He wanted to know if we were enjoying it. Well, none of us are very good liars, but we all managed sickly smiles, and damned him with faint praise. John managed to say “ Its alright, yes. “ He took this as praise, and continued,” Yes, its different from other quizzes. “ I said “ Its certainly different . “ and Phillippa had to stifle a fit of the giggles.

To cut a long story short, we got three questions wrong, but had a 3 point joker question right, which gave us 49 points. Then came the question master’s piece de resistance. He took in all the marked papers, and began to announce the scores. The last placed team, he serenaded with a song I remember from school, recorded by the never to be remembered Ivor Biggun, entitled “The W*nker’s Song “ . I leave the rest to your imagination. Something which didn’t make sense at first was when he said that normally they’d give a bottle to the last placed team, but he didn’t have a bottle to give them tonight. The next best teams both had 38. So when he announced we’d won, he said,
“ Your winners tonight – and they gave all of you a thrashing – scored 49 points. I think that they only came here for the money. So, I’d like to ask the captain of the Boyks to come up and collect the winnings. “ I went up, and the guy shook my hand, and presented me with a bottle of sparkling perry, with the words, “ You thought you were getting a cash prize didn’t you !”

Each player had to pay 75p to enter. OK , its not a lot. But there must have been enough players there to have collected about £15. Where on earth did all of that money go ? There was nothing to say that it was a charity quiz . I mean, as far as I know, they spent out about £1:50 on one prize, and the rest of it perhaps went into the question master’s pocket. I can’t prove anything, but this is what I think happened. He said that normally they’d have a bottle for the last placed team, but they didn’t tonight. So I think that he had a look at our paper, saw how well we did, and decided that we were pros, and he didn’t want us coming back. So he pocketed the cash, and gave us the crappy bottle of wine. I don’t know, but I was just laughing so much when I came out of the pub that I couldn’t stop."

Have you ever played in a worse quiz ? Answers on a postcard to the usual address.

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