Rhodri Marsden: If you've got nothing to say to your friends, a pub quiz is great

I can pinpoint the precise moment of my pub-quiz disenchantment

Share
Related Topics

As Dan arrived at the pub and saw me sitting with two other friends, a pen, paper and a sheet featuring photos of 20 celebrities from the 1980s, his forehead creased with irritation. "I was hoping that the pub quiz was yesterday," he said. I knew what he meant.

I'd weakly agreed to participate, but had originally come to the pub with the intention of engaging in amiable chat about, I dunno, feminism, or dealing with beetroot stains. I didn't want to sit quietly under near-exam conditions, occasionally exchanging whispers about how many teeth a turtle might have, scribbling down "eight" while furtively looking around to make sure no one was eavesdropping, then later finding out that turtles don't have any teeth and mumbling, "Oh, bollocks." But here we were.

The quiz has become a staple of pub entertainment, and I suppose that if you've got nothing to say to your friends then taking part can conveniently paper over the conversational cracks. It's a bit like a couple in a floundering relationship deciding to take up leatherworking in a desperate, last-ditch act of shackling. But the film rounds, the search for a team name wittier than Quizzee Rascal, the repeating of "questions 4 and 7 please", the swapping of answer sheets with the smug bastards at the adjoining table – they all serve to transform social interaction into a series of administrative tasks.

And while you may think that quizzing strengthens bonds between friends, it doesn't. It divides you into two groups: those who couldn't care less and those who suddenly scream out "DEBUSSY!" like they're a drill sergeant.

I can pinpoint the precise moment of my pub-quiz disenchantment. Four or five questions into a geography round of a quiz a few years ago, the quizmaster asked the obediently silent drinkers what the capital of Namibia was, but he pronounced it "Nambia". He repeated the question, and again he pronounced it "Nambia". I remember looking out of the window, thinking "I've spent £2 to sit in a room and listen to a stranger test me vigorously on my general knowledge, but I think he's getting Namibia confused with Zambia."

I didn't stick around to hear how he pronounced "Windhoek", and on the way out I saw a sign he'd made to advertise the quiz. It read "BRIAN OF ISLINGTON". (I don't think he was called Brian.)

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Iraqi soldiers trained by the US were routed by IS’s smaller force  

War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

Patrick Cockburn
Christmas Day cinema-goers seem to have mistaken the complexities of the right to free speech  

There's a time to speak and a time to keep quiet

Paul Vallely
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015