In the winter of 1980, I think it was, I played for a brief while for GWR RFC in Perivale, West London. It was quite an experience, bearing in mind that I was only about 16 at the time, a kid playing in a team of grown men against, frankly, some hard, ugly, gnarly old opponents. It also didn’t help very much the fact that I was, not to put too fine a point on it, rubbish. Notwithstanding that though, the guys put up with me, and I enjoyed the experience while it lasted. I became particularly friendly with another guy on the team whose name I sadly no longer recall, who was a medical student in St. Thomas’ Hospital. He sometimes brought his girlfriend, a nurse, along to the matches, and I distinctly remember her saying one time after a match words to the effect of – You know, I think you guys only want to play in these games in the first place, so that you can hold the post mortem in the bar afterwards, which you enjoy far more than the game itself. – I didn’t voice an opinion, being the ‘sprog who really should have been seen and not heard’, but in my heart of hearts I had to concede that she had a point. Even more so when she said – And what you talk about in the post mortem never bears any resemblance to the match that I was actually watching! –
This came to mind yesterday evening as Barry dropped me off home after the quiz in Newport. Now, I’m not saying that I didn’t actually enjoy the quiz, because I did, and I’m not saying that it wasn’t actually a good quiz, because it was. Which was a little surprising since last night’s guest question master is, in my experience, a little hit and miss when it comes to compiling a quiz. I’ve been to ones he’s done in the past which I haven’t enjoyed at all, then there have been others which I’ve enjoyed, like last night. But, I don’t know, maybe it’s because I’m now officially in my fifties, but I found that as much as I enjoyed last night’s quiz, I enjoyed the drive home in the car, holding the post mortem with Barry and John even more than I enjoyed the quiz itself. I don’t know that I can explain it, but there’s something about a good quiz story that maybe only another quizzer can really appreciate.
Here’s one that came out last night during the course of the conversation. This occurred, I think, a little before my time, maybe just before I moved to Wales. John, Barry, my dear old mate the late Allan Coombs, and another guy whose name I shall protect for reasons which will become obvious later on. Let’s call him ‘Steve’. Sky TV were producing a home grown quiz show. Don’t ask me what it was called – as I say, this was before my time. The four of them were in a team. Now, they did tell me the name of the host, but I can’t remember it, so I doubt that it was in any way a luminary of the world of TV presentation. Apparently this fellow was taking forever for his introductory chat, where he spoke to the other team first, and was really rather sarcastic and arrogant, making fun of whatever they said. Then he turned to my boys, and was treating them exactly the same way. ‘Steve’ became rather annoyed with this, so when he asked them something like, “Well, do you see yourself jetting off to some fabulous location if you win the big prize then?”, Steve let fly an expletive under his breath. Unfortunately he was miked up, and someone backstage must have heard it, and alerted the host, since he rounded on ‘Steve’ and said, “I’m sorry, Steve – what was that?!” Quick as a flash Steve replied,
“Tosser” Cue apoplexy from host, while Steve calmly continued,
“Tossa De Mar on the Costa Brava – I can thoroughly recommend it!”
Mind you, the host had the last laugh. According to the boys they thrashed the other team in rehearsal, but during the show they were just buzzed out of it completely.