Friday, 23 July 2010

PC or Paper ?

Sorry, I could probably have mentioned this in the last post I made. During last night’s quiz in the Rugby Club, Brian asked me whether I could compile the quiz for next week, since he would prefer to do it himself in a fortnight. It’s the school holidays at the moment, and so I was never going to refuse.

Peter Tinniswood once said “Men are buggers for Geography . “ I’d like to add my corollary to that, inasmuch as we’re very fond of stationery too. I probably love preparing for the quiz as much as I enjoy the actual compiling of it, and the delivery of it on the night. There’s the selection and gathering of the sources you’re going to use. Then the equipment, pens, pad of paper, laptop etc. The dividing up the pieces of paper where I’m going to start jotting down questions and question ideas into different sections for different categories of question. Not to forget the most important detail of all, the ceremonial brewing of the First Cup Of Coffee.

When I began to compile my first quizzes for the rugby club 15 years ago I didn’t own a PC or a laptop. So when I compiled a quiz I’d do every step of the process with pen and paper until I was ready to produce the final copy of the quiz, when I’d type it out on my old Sharp electric typewriter. The PC’s and the internet came along, and once I really started to get to grips with IT they pretty much revolutionised the way I went about doing the quiz. For one thing, once you settled on the 80 questions you were going to use, and you were totally happy with the way that you’d phrased each of them, then it became much easier to move them around, and try out different combinations in different rounds. It drastically cut the length of time it took to compile a whole quiz, so that from first cup of coffee to printing off the finished quiz you could do the whole thing in one afternoon.

Just recently, though, I’ve started compiling the quiz on paper again, and only typing it out on the PC when its ready. I can’t even remember why I switched back in the first place. Still however it happened I found that I did actually enjoy putting it together the old fashioned way again. Maybe I’m reading something into this that wasn’t really there, but I could appreciate that when you do it all in one go on the PC, then it does become a little more of a production line job than it used to be. I don’t know if it came across in the quizzes themselves, but I could see that I’d become a little more blasé and less interested in the whole process, and maybe to some extent I was just going through the motions.

So whether I’m just over intellectualising it or not, I have my pens, paper, my first cup of coffee, and the first 6 books I’m going to use as sources in front of me, and I’m going to take as long as it needs to do next Thursday’s quiz for the club. Bliss.

Having said all of that, I shan’t be going back to doing the picture handouts the old fashioned way in a hurry. I don’t know if you ever put together a picture handout in the bad old days B.I. ( Before Interweb ) but blimey, it was a labourious and rather unrewarding process. Painstakingly going through two weeks worth of old Daily Telegraphs and my eldest daughter’s latest copy of Hello or OK magazine which I had , well, for want of a better word, stolen, snipping off heads from photos of people I’d never heard of, then laboriously sticking them down onto a piece of paper with a pritt stick which was pretty useless because someone had left the top off it a fortnight ago. Then finding out I’d have to go through the whole process all over again since I’d forgotten to write the answers down, and didn’t have a clue who half of the pictures were. The internet does have its uses after all.

No comments: