This is not the blog I set out to write this week. I had it all planned out – from Dolly Parton at Gastonbury via sorting out my iTunes and discovering I have more jazz than I thought (I only thought I had this), the strange story of the cat, the bowl of soup and a beach towel, to brewing a new lot of beer from a ‘Festival’ kit, so neatly linking back to Glastonbury again. Believe me when I say, it would have been great.
Unfortunately life got on the way of art and Tuesday night happened. Oh, if only I hadn’t used ‘of mice and men’ last week, because the best laid plans did indeed go awry.
Tuesday night, as regular readers are aware, is quiz night. However, this week it was more like fight night – cue the music!
It seemed like any normal quiz for the reigning champions looking for their third consecutive successful title defence – in the red corner we had The Royal Blokes*, this week consisting of The Grumpy Old Man (me) and Hulk*. Iron Man* was still bumming around in Soho and Cpt. America’s* presence was still an unknown (it was early and he is to timekeeping what someone without a watch and no idea of the passage of time is to getting to a pub at 9pm on a Tuesday night, it’s not as if The Quiz hasn’t started at that time for the at least the last decade ffs!).
This weeks title contender was not Amber Nectar*, but a duo of young upstarts – in the blue corner was Quiz in your Pants. It was almost as if Lucy and her mate Michelle had turned up and entered a team:
Lucy is actually banned from attending the quiz – rule #1 of our relationship is ‘quiz time = me time’.
Anyway, the blonde half of Quiz Pants was very similar to Michelle, except she lacked Michelle’s greatest assets – her eyes (believe me, she has eyes that could knock down a zebra at 20 paces – Google search her if you don’t believe me).
The brunette half was less like Lucy and more like Lucy-look-a-like Katy Perry, given the died hair (red in this case) and tattoos. While some people go for tattoo sleeves, she had gone for more tattoo pedal pushers, but on impossibly long legs, shown off to perfection by her denim hotpants. The Two Gingers (the only other team close by, thereby being in the perfect front row seats for the titanic battle about the ensue) were like this:
It seems they took Quiz in your Pants as an instruction, rather than an idea for a Channel 5 game show (monkey tennis anyone?). On a side note, Quiz Pants marked our answer sheet with a red pen, so they may have been teachers. If they were, I’m in agreement with Busted.
I can only describe the upcoming battle as like a Muhammad Ali fight, although whether it was to be like Liston in 64 (the The Royal Blokes as Liston) or like Foreman in 74 (in which case we’d be Ali) had yet to reveal itself.
The warm up went badly, with three separate barrels of ale running out whilst the bar staff tried to pour my first pint, meaning I had the spend the night on Guinness. To make matters worse, the Coors was giving Hulk acid reflux. Then the bell sounded to start the bout (actually, The Governess* told everyone to put their phones away, and started asking questions – but that doesn’t have the same gravitas, nor is it a boxing metaphor).
ROUND ONE: WORDS AND ABBREVIATIONS
This was always going to be a bad start because, without either Cpt. America or Black Widow* we were on the back foot. At this stage I need to explain the gamble question. There is a gamble option (Question 10) on rounds 1,2 5 and 6 – get it right you double your points for the round, get it wrong and you wipe out, scoring zero for that round. However, there is a safety card option. Use this and, if you get the gamble wrong, you don’t wipe out your score. But the safety card can only be used on rounds 1, 2 or 5 – it can’t be saved for the final round.
After a reasonably comfortable first nine questions, the gamble question was about the etymology of the word ‘scampi’. We went Scandinavian with a safety card, QuizPants went for an unprotected Italian. We were wrong, they were not – our 7 (with no safety card back-up remaining) put us in 4th place, their 12 put them in the lead, and 5 points ahead. Minor setback, no need to panic just yet.
ROUND TWO: TV AND FILM
Good – historically our best round, and Cpt. America had just arrived only 10 minutes late – positively early for him. Another solid nine questions would see us score an additional seven. The gamble question was about a 1977 Play for Today about 1961 pools winner Viv Nicholson. We thought it was called Spend, Spend, Spend, but without a safety card, didn’t want to risk it. Quiz Pants risked it, without the safety card. After two rounds we were down 24-14.
ROUND THREE: COMBINED AUDIO ROUND / PICTURE ROUND
The picture round was handed out at the start of the quiz, and had to be handed in with the Round 3 answers – this week it was name the sports stars. Now The Governesses Dad* is a traditionalist. While he could make use of the internet to put the pictures together, he prefers to cut pictures out of the paper, sellotape them to a piece of A4 and then photocopy it to death. The result is dark pictures marred with even darker strips of sellotape (sometimes I’m sure he uses packing tape). But, it’s the same for everyone, and sport is our weakest subject – 7 points (nothing if not consistent)
The audio round this week was on 2000s music – not so good without Iron Man, and no good at all for an old fart like me! Despite that, I did manage to correctly identify Year 3000 by Busted. Unfortunately, I let myself be convinced it was McFly and we changed both the song title and artist – 6 points (out of 15, even our consistency had deserted us).
Halfway through the quiz and we were 27-40 down, and Quiz Pants still had their safety card. Throwing in the towel was a distinct consideration.
It was at this point that Warnie* stepped in to rescue Hulk’s medical issues. He recommended a fruit cider, claiming it would do the trick. Hulk went for it and was served a pint of Strongbow with half an orange in it! Not quite the Kopperberg he was expecting. It didn’t work and, after trying a pint of Worthingtons Smoothflow, he stuck to Coors. Now that’s what I call taking one for the team.
ROUND FOUR – WIPEOUT
Name 10 of the 15 teams to have won the FA Cup four of more times before 2008. At last, slim hope, especially with the wipeout marking system (which is so complex, I’ll not go into it here). Villa, Man Utd, West Brom and Liverpool were our bankers for 4 points. To this we added Everton, Spurs, Arsenal and the Wanderers. Finally, we went for Blackburn Rovers and Sheffield Wednesday. Nine correct answers (we got the wrong Sheffield club: Wednesday 3 – United 4) saw us get 12 points. Quiz Pants also only got one wrong (they opted for 3-times winners West Ham), but because they put the answer lower in the list than our wrong answer, they wiped out earlier, only getting 4 points.
39 played 44 – a possibility, but a slim one as they still had the safety card in hand.
ROUND FIVE – MUSIC
Again, a subject we usually do fairly well on. The gamble question was on radio stations with the fewest listeners. We went Radio 3, as did Quiz Pants. We both got it right, they were forced to use their safety card, and our 14 points for the round, beat their 12.
Going into the final round, we trailed 53-56 and the comeback was on.
FINAL ROUND – GENERAL KNOWLEDGE
As these things do, in true Hollywood style, it came down to the final punch (well, the final question), that being Which is the most southerly city – El Paso, Baton Rouge or Key West? Now both teams quickly discarded Baton Rouge as most of Texas and Florida is south of Louisiana. We went Key West, they went El Paso. It turned out that El Paso is located in the only bit of Texas north of Louisiana and Key West was the clear winner, and so were we. At the risk of mixing my metaphors, we delivered a knockout blow to win on points 73-56. It was most definitely a repeat of the Rumble in the Jungle and, while George Foreman was consigned to inventing cooking products, Quiz Pants went and chatted up the Two Gingers – that’s what a loss will do for you.
That’s not the end of it – Hollywood want to option the rights and make a film out of this. George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon were mooted in an Ocean’s 11 prequel (Ocean’s 3 presumably). However, we are only interested if we can have a say on casting. Cpt. America wants to be played by Robert Downey Jr. and Hulk want’s to be played by Gary Busey. Me, as both George Burns and Walter Matthau are dead, I’d be happy with George Clooney.
Footnote: Gamble questions always give a choice of three answers, we’re not that good! Vic Nicholson won £152,319 on the pools in 1961 (equivalent to £2.87million today) and she was bankrupt within 5 years, having spent, spent, spent. The Smiths used her picture on the cover of their single ‘Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now’. The Wanderers were an amateur team that won 5 FA Cup Finals between 1872 (the first final) and 1878. The bit about the Hollywood script is a lie – although I was really approached by a casting agent the following day (from Hungry Bear TV) and I may be applying to go on a new Channel 5 quiz show – I just hope it’s not called Quiz in your Pants!
*see Cast List