Friday, 20 March 2009

Death By Entertainment

How Much Is Too Much ?

Yes, dear friends, once again this week I found myself chafing at the bias towards popular culture questions in a quiz which I played in on Tuesday.

I have actually mentioned this quiz before. It takes place every Tuesday evening in the Duke of Wellington pub in Cowbridge. This is usually a very good quiz. The pub itself is a genuine old building which is full of charm. The Quiz itself comprises of 40 general knowledge question, the last of which is a list question. Then there is a lucky seven jackpot round of seven questions. The score for this round does not go towards a team's final total, but any team scoring seven out of seven will at least get a share of the rolling jackpot. If no team scores 7, then the prize rolls over to the following week. Entry is £1 per team member, and then an extra £1 per team which goes towards the lucky 7. For your money you get the quiz, but you also get sandwiches at half time thrown in. Pretty good value, you'd have to admit it.

For reasons that I have explained in previous blogs John and I don't tend to go every week. This week, though, when we arrived we found that the usual question master wasn't doing the quiz. This always ills one with a slight sense of foreboding. Adventurous souls that we are, we still always prefer to see a quiz entrusted to a safe pair of hands. Now, your Dave is not one to go saying that a man or woman in their early twenties is incapable of producing an enjoyable quiz. However in my experience I have , as a rule, found quizzes produced by younger people to be less enjoyable , although there are of course some notable exceptions to this.

One of my pet hates about pub quizzes is when the question master concentrates on questions about popular entertainment - pop music - films - TV - to the detriment of other subjects. Now, please don't misunderstand me about this. Popular entertainment is an important quiz subject, and every bit as worthwhile as any other. But can you imagine the outcry if you were to produce a quiz where over 20 questions out of the 40 were all about , lets say History, or Literature, or Geography, or, Heaven help us, Science ? Well, on Tuesday night no less than 21 out of the 40 questions were on entertainment. Ah, but people LIKE entertainment, you might say. Well, yes they do, I wouldn't try to argue with that. But at what point does a general knowledge pub quiz become a specialist entertainment quiz with a few extra general knowledge questions thrown in ? Well, let me tell you this. I take my turn in producing the quiz for the Aberavon Rugby Club on a Thursday night, usually every three or four weeks. I have a formula which I use. There are 8 rounds of 10 questions. In each round, I try to divide the questions up like this : -
1 'in the news'
1 History/ Society / Politics
1 Geography
1 The Arts
1 Science / Technology / Industry / Economics / Mathematics etc.
1 Natural World/ Human body etc.
1 Sport
2 Popular Entertainment
which eagle eyed readers will see leaves 1 free question that can be about anything that might not fit into any other category.
So actually I do include more entertainment questions than any other category, but they still only make up one fifth of the whole quiz - and I think thats quite reasonable.

Since you ask, we came second, losing by two points. Yes, sour grapes, of course. However the lucky 7, which contained only 1 entertainment question, proved an easier nut to crack , so as it was we scooped the jackpot, which was far more than we would have got for winning the quiz itself. Would it be very wrong of me to suggest some kind of poetic justice taking place there ? Probably.

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