The name of this blog can only be read while undertaking a Noddy Holder impression – sorry, but at this time of year, that’s the law. This is from the same government that stops you from discharging a large calibre cannon within 300 yards of a dwelling house, being drunk in charge of a cow or importing potatoes from Poland. If you don’t believe me check this out.
Anyway, as there was no blog last week (Christmas shopping!), this week’s is a Dickensian Christmas Trilogy and encompasses more than just a quiz.
The Ghost of Christmas Past:
The traditional end to the quizzing year is the Christmas Quiz. That annual feast of questions about things that have happened years ago, shoehorned into the quiz by some tenuous link to the end of year celebrations e.g. a question about the footballer Roy Carroll. First, the results:
Beer – Wonderland, DNA, Laphroaig … Quiz – 2nd
My Christmas Ale of choice this year has been Wonderland, however this week I was convinced (I don’t really take much convincing to be fair) to try the DNA, or to give it it’s proper name – Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Charles Wells DNA New World IPA. It would be fair to say that the name was by far the best thing about it. Give me Rosey Nosey or Donner & Blitzed any day.
The quiz itself was a bit of a let down. The timing was not great as the universities had not kicked out, meaning the usual intake of students was missing and The Pub* seemed very quiet. Despite that, there were a large number of teams, even though we did enter three of them! Parker*, who’s becoming a semi-regular attendee, decided for the second week running to enter his own team and put down intelligently wrong answers, for both the amusement of himself and the team who marked him, and in an attempt to get no points. The reasons for this are vague and it didn’t work anyway because he got one point in error – sometimes the intelligently wrong answers are actually right.
Iron Man*, who as regular readers will know has always been suspected of batting for the other side, this week decided to bat for the other side and put in his own team – it was his works Christmas do, but as the owner of the company he gets to decide where to go. A pub meal and a quiz sounds like the ideal Christmas do to me (will The Seven Year Bitch* please take note of this when organising next year’s company event). Given Iron Man’s love of ‘the musical’ we initially thought that his team was Les Quizerables (definitely the team name of the night), but it was actually Test Icicles (good … but not right, as Roy Walker would have said – what surprised me is that when he said ‘say what you see’, no-one ever said ‘terminally unfunny Irish comedian’).
This left The Royal Blokes* with the core of Hulk*, Cpt. America* and myself, joined later in the evening by Murtuagh* (so named because he keeps a boat in his driveway). The night before The Quiz, I’d watched some countdown of the best selling Christmas songs on Channel 5. When it came to the No.1 song, it opened with someone saying that a standard pub quiz question was ‘who sang the first line’, and it was him.
Move forward 24 hours and The Governess* asked the self same standard pub quiz question – who sang the opening line of Band Aid’s 1984 hit ‘Do They Know it’s Christmas?’. Not a problem, definitely Paul Young, and he’d only told me that the night before, so I knew it to be un-controversially true. This was an opinion shared by most of the teams but, sadly not by The Governess or her Dad*, who declared it was Boy George. While I’d pay to see Paul Young vs Boy George in a celebrity boxing match, it’s not a nice sight when your wrong answer gets almost the entire pub up in arms about it. What made it worst was that The Governess, despite being shown the video on about 20 different phones (during the break of course, otherwise it’d be cheating) refused to relent. Her argument was that if no-one got a point then it makes no overall difference (apart for those who lost a point for putting Paul Young, those who gained an undeserved extra point for putting Boy George, and those who were laughing because they put neither).
Note to The Governess – Boy George is the second featured singer.
To add insult to injury, in a later round, we had the questions “When is epiphany – 26th Dec, 1 Jan or 6 Jan” and “what event does twelfth night celebrate”. The answer to the first was 6 Jan (so far so good); and twelfth night – the 12th night after Christmas – is 5 Jan. So, how can the answer to the second question also be epiphany? Having a wrong answer is fine (well its not, but you know what I mean), but having contradictory answers in the same round, then refusing to acknowledge this is the case, takes some doing.
Gamble questions were also removed from the Christmas Quiz, to make thing ‘fairer’, but were replaced by a random answer in each round which doubled your score! That’s why, despite coming second, we were 23 points behind Amber Nectar*. This week it was The Royal Blokes who left The Pub moaning about things.
The Ghost of Christmas Present
The night after The Quiz before was my work’s team Christmas meal, that annual event where your day is extended to include a meal with the same people you spend every other working day with. Despite what impression you may have just got, not only was I looking forward to it, it was also a good night out, despite the walk between the pub where we had the meal and the pub where we went from a drink afterwards being a 10 minute epic through a driving rainstorm. To describe the weather as biblical is underplaying the storm somewhat.
Beer: Wilder Ness, ESB, Bengal Lancer and Oakham’s Citra
Oakham’s used to do a wonderful beer called Old Tosspot, especially for the festival market, but this seems to no longer be available. The Citra was ok, but the Bengal Lancer was by far the best beer of the night.
In a trilogy within a trilogy (which has something very Windmills of your Mind about it) there were three standout moments in the team meal. Firstly, one of the party’s pre-order hadn’t been noted by the pub. So the waitress approached the table and asked, very nicely, which one was (for the purposes of this blog I shall call him) Dave. Dave’s rather shocked response, which apparently was due to an unfortunate incident at the age of 18, was to cower back in his chair and ask, both worriedly and loudly, ‘why, are you a stripper?’ Now, there are times when unexpected nakedness in women is to be applauded and celebrated (later on in this blog for example), but this definitely wasn’t one of them.
I presume that, because the waiting staff brought out meals and, on every occasion, asked which one was Dave before handing over his meal, there was a fair amount of additional saliva to add flavour to his choices.
The second stand out point was the fact that the pub advised us that they had a choice of over 900 types of gin. Not really believing that, I did say quite loudly that they were probably all Gordons – this probably relegated me to the extra flavouring category as well. One of the team order a gin that cost £25 (yes – £25!!), but it was served in a bath – a real, albeit miniature bath, with a small beer jug to dip in and scoop out the gin (which had added pansy’s for effect). My Citra was also served in a jug, rather than a straight glass, so it must have been that sort of place.
The final, and arguably the most memorable, point was in the second, drinking, venue, where a girl at the bar looked like a younger, red headed (dyed, not ginger) version of Elvira, Mistress of the Night. For the uninitiated, here’s Elvira:
she was similarly dressed as well, but the snake had to say outside – it’s just health and safety gone mad really!
The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come:
As the final part of my Christmas Trilogy, I want to talk about Christmas calendars – those gifts that keep on giving for all those months yet to come. This year One Direction finally toppled the behemoth that is Sir Cliff Richard off the top of the Christmas calendar charts (there is such a thing and Cliff has had the best selling ‘male celebrity’ calendar from 1998 to 2012 – yes, really!). In true BBC tradition I would like to point out that “other calendars are available”, particularly that of Camp Hill Ladies Rugby Club:
The above picture is from their 2014 calendar and, while it may not be the best produced calendar in the world, it didn’t deserve this reaction it got from the Daily Mail. As I have already intimated, I have no problem with ladies getting naked, in fact I’d say it’s got to be on my top ten favourite list, all things considered. However, it seems that the British tabloid press also have no issue with naked ladies, as long as they confirm to the “Peta, 24 from Essex” image. In my opinion and experience, the vast majority of women don’t confirm to the tabloid norm AND THAT’S OKAY. The ladies at Camp Hill RFC certainly don’t (including a friend of mine who appears in some of the pictures). That’s ok as well.
So if you want to (a) tell the Daily Mail to stick it up their arse, (b) help an underfunded sport club raise some money, and (c) have a collection of twelve (yes ladies and gentlemen, a whole twelve) pictures of naked ladies, then click here and buy one. If not for me, or for the deserving ladies of Camp Hill RFC, do it for Sir Cliff Richard, and together we can all topple One Direction (or something like that – inspirational speeches are not really my thing).
Footnote: Noel Harrison (the singer of Windmills of your Mind), and his actor Dad Rex, are the only father and son combination to individually win an Oscar. This week also saw the death of Joan Fontaine, one of only two sisters to win an Oscar. This leaves Joan’s sister, Olivia de Havilland, as the last surviving Hollywood leading lady of the 1930s. While the 1938 Adventures of Robin Hood is my favourite of her roles, you can see Olivia on Christmas day on Channel 5 in the epic Gone With The Wind. Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You” joined the exclusive ranks of million selling singles this week, almost 20 years after its first release. This makes it the 9th 1 million selling Christmas single and only the 142nd single to sell 1 million copies ever. Finally, this years double edition Radio Times has announced on it’s front page that it’s ’90 years of Christmas’. While I wasn’t there in the stable, I’m sure that Christmas wasn’t invented in 1923. If it was, what is this Christmas classic all about?
This is the last blog of the year, due to there being no quiz for two weeks and both my homebrew and damson gin being ready on Christmas Eve.
*see Cast List
Additional Note: I’ve entered this weeks blog into the WordPress Weekly Writing Challenge – which can be found at this link. My three things are my Christmas Trilogy and my glimmers (Paul Young vs. Boy George; ‘Waitress in Stripper Mistaken Identity’ fiasco; and my general annoyance at the Daily Mail) each form an integral part of each trilogy entry. The rest is just my usual randomness heavily salted with links to YouTube clips. If my inclusion (assuming the blog is good enough) results in one more charity calendar being sold, then it’s been worthwhile.