17 Apr

I live on the outskirts of Peterborough, on a housing development just over 20 years old. It comprises several hundred 3 and 4 bedroomed houses and quite a few old-person’s bungalows. A quiet, respectable suburb with its own little row of shops comprising 2 hairdressers (male & female) a Pharmacy, a veterinary surgeon, a newsagent, an excellent Chinese restaurant, a Fish & Chip shop and a PUB.

Now our Pub was built at the same time as the rest of the estate but also at the same time as a very large Office complex a few hundred yards away by footpath. In fact the very Office development that my company relocated me to in 1993 – the reason we decided to live here!

Plainly the developers had in mind the lunchtime office trade as the Pub was built as one large internal bar space with a fenced off area for dining – not the cosiest of arrangements for the local evening trade but they put in a few sofas so all SHOULD have been well.

And, indeed, all was well for a few years; I visited it regularly at lunchtimes (colleagues still relocating were at a nearby hotel and I only had a two minute walk home – so drunk driving wasn’t an issue) and large numbers of us would attend the regular Thursday night Quiz Night. With some success it has to be said even though the prize was only vouchers for eight pints of beer!

However, as more of my colleagues bought houses all over the area the numbers dwindled and while this meant the beer vouchers stretched further, the management of the Pub decided to mess about with the rules of the quiz to make it “more inclusive”.

What this meant was that the “thick” customers felt that they had no chance of winning with US there and demanded what is termed “a level playing field” – i.e. they wanted an unfair advantage over people who knew more than them! How does that work with a General Knowledge quiz? I’ll tell you. Multiple choice questions on Manchester United and UK Soap operas followed by tie-break questions on Manchester United and UK soap operas, that’s how!

Perhaps wrongly, my friends and I all said “Stuff it!”, and went elsewhere. Unfortunately this meant that the Pub was left entirely in the hands of the resident Thickys and all their Thicky mates and by them inflicting their wishes on a succession of landlords it doesn’t even HAVE a Quiz night any more – just Karaoke nights and what would seem to be 24/7 widescreen football, presumably with UK soap operas in the half time breaks! This is NOT, under any circumstances, what a respectable, Middle Class, Middle Aged, Middle Income housing estate wants from its local Pub but WE no longer matter!!

SO! In about 1996 my group of dedicated quizzers moved down the road a mile or so and took to spending our Thursdays in a village pub where the attitude was “If you didn’t win, you didn’t know enough! Tough!” We liked that and became accepted regulars with, as before, a fair measure of success.

Because most of us drank Guinness at the time and that brewery was then running an advertising campaign with the slogan “Pure Genius” we adopted that as a team name. Over the years this became abbreviated to “The PGs” and there are now very few participants who know what the initials originally stood for.

Team members have also changed – people have moved away from the area and new members have been co-opted in. My elder daughter is a regular member now and several of her friends from her schooldays also take part. I seem to have created a self regenerating Quiz team for all time – although just recently I sometimes cannot get anyone to go at all and there is no way I’m going to take on the teams I’ve been battling against for fourteen years single-handed!

Last night however, for the first time in four weeks, I managed to get there with a team of five, although one only stopped in for a quick pint on his way home from his job in London. This is not a big team by current standards – many of our competitors have double that number – but it is, of course, quality rather than quantity that matters!

Rather disappointingly (see earlier post entitled “Wow!”) we were not asked who did the voiceovers for the original series of Battlestar Galactica but even if we had it would not have been enough to lift us the five or six extra points we would have needed to overtake the twelve-man super-team who won it.

Second place is good, however, as they have a strange prize system where the top three teams all get the same thing! A bottle of wine. Sometimes (as last night) quite a good one; other times stuff you wouldn’t want to paint your fence with!

That was the satisfactory part. The unsatisfactory part is that, possibly due to my age, it seems to take quite a number of pints of cold Australian lager to stop my head from overheating when I’m doing a quiz. While I don’t tend to notice any effects of this at the time, waking up, getting up and going to work on Friday morning are major chores (What chores? Thanks, I’ll have another pint of Fosters!! – I thank you!).

No! This does NOT mean I have a hangover! I don’t DO hangovers!

Just tell that cat across the road to stop stamping its damned feet!


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Posted by on April 17, 2009 in Uncategorized


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