30 for 30 – as I reach my fourth decade of being, I’m writing about some of the things that made the three that came before what they were. 30 – mostly trivial – things that have been a part of 30 – mostly trivial – years.


Newtown Town Hall - venue of many Pub Quizes
I love being part of a pub quiz

What isnit about Pub Quizzes that attracts a certain type of person?

When you look at it, coldly and from a distance, it is a strange thing. A man* asks you questions about obscure stuff. What is it supposed to be a test of?

Yet, you see all sorts there. To take a little step towards sexism, it is usually men (yes, I’ve been to pub quizzes with women, but it is predominantly men, and men get most excited about it). Trivia, I think, is a particularly male pursuit – and I’ve yet to read anyone discuss why.

For reasons best left alone, I used to have a subscription to Zoo magazine. The last page was always a Fact Page. Did-you-knows?, facts and figures, etc. One I learnt that I still remember is:

If a daughter is taller than her father, it’s actually considered a physical deformity.

(I’m not sure how accurate the Zoo magazine Fact Page is, but I’ve yet to meet a girl that is taller than her father.)

Men love facts. Yet – I don’t go to pub quizes to learn. I go to test what I’ve learnt.

Do I learn just to be tested? That’s the question. Do I plough throw my music reading, absorbing all I can, just so I can be tested? The only time that stuff really comes into use is at a pub quiz.

But I don’t read those articles thinking, BAM, locking it away for a future music pub quiz.

Maybe the bigger angle is the test. I naturally love trivia – and here’s my chance to see how much.

Lond ones were hard. We had a great team for a while. Jay covered sport and all things dude. Dan Ryan also helped with sport but was great with news and current events. Me – I had music, TV and film. Daniel Hampton backed me up on those topics and was a great all-rounder.

Best of all though was our approach. We were all on the same page.

What British city had a mechanical spider walk through it’s streets?

We talked it through and decided the best guess as Liverpool, that year’s British city of culture. But it was the way we worked it – with cold logic. And we were right. We were ego-less as well. No one argued an answer just because it was their’s.

The problem then? We needed a token British. “Apparently” easy questions like:

In 2005, what was voted on the BBC as Britain’s favourite children’s animal?

Highlight for the answer (Bagpuss. What the hell is a Bagpuss?)

What city with the postcode SY is in Shropshire?

(Shewsbury. What the hell is Shewsbury?)

We had a series of ring-ins – thank you Feds, Stewey, etc – but we never did find that magic guy. We came 2nd or 3rd consistently, often just one or two questions behind. It was frustrating.

That is the other part of it – the deduction.

What band name is the anagram of Acre Fay Forty?

(Fear Factory)

What comes next in this list?


(MS – Matt Smith, the initials of the the Doctors in Doctor Who in order)

Another defeat for the ‘test of knowledge’ theory. This is deduction. We are pocket Sherlock Holmes’s. And I hated tests in school. Yet I happily put myself through this stuff.


Sydney was great for Pub Quiz. So many places, so many pubs. Beating the members of Gomez at the Annandale at age 20. The Quizmaster – BT – mockingly derided us with a barbed “must have written too many young people questions.” Then there were mammoth nights at the town Hall hotel, including one where Barry and I drunk our winnings in one night.

Industrys quizes are quite something too. I was once at a quiz team with Billy Brimingham, the Twelth Man himself.

I am – let’s face it – pretty good. Not only do I love facts, I love the drama and the rigmarole. At a new quiz, I love finding out the tyoes of rounds. A lyrics round, anyone?

It’s almost hilarious then when Jay and I were in France (with Dutchie and Nat in tow) doing a pub quiz – a really easy one. It was a tourist crowd, so it had to be. But God, we barely got a question wrong. We almost doubled the next team. We were hopelessly drunk and arrogant too. People must have hated those loud, obnoxious drunks at that table. The fact we won must have ruined some nights.

I got my own back in Boston though, playing against a Harvard crowd. Aftar an almost flawless first round (including identifying the band Red Rider – Tom “Life is A Highway” Cochrane’s band), we died quickly and the night got less fun. There was a maths round. And the name-the-author round was mostly non English books.

Let’s go do a pub quiz one day. I love them. I don’t see that stopping. And lately I have been looking at the theatre of it.

What is it about us, as men in particular, that are drawn to it? Maybe by the time I get to 40 for 40, I can propose some findings.

* I have never, ever, had a female Quizmaster.

1 Comment on 30 for 30: Pub Quiz

  1. I seem to recall my disco expertise played a key role in the winning of the winnings which were drunk.

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