Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Oh My Word

If you look really closely you can see the balding bonce of one Prince frickin' Edward, Duke of Wessexshire

So we went to Fontwell Park races on Saturday and we went to the winner's enclosure in order to shout at Prince Edward and say out loud such treasonous thoughts as: "I could easily have brought a machine gun and shot the useless blighter down". We cheered and barracked and sure enough he turned to wave at the group of lads who were acting like attention-seeking prats. We cheered again. We felt proud at this completely meaningless exchange. A very silly man said: "We had probably made his day." Well, it was better than a flob fusillade.

I do, however, have to take issue with Chris's contention that he was the ONLY one to be up on the day. My £5 each way bet on Catherine's Run in the last race says he is talking codswallop. It coming through for me meant I was £10 on the day, so neh-neh-neeyeah-neeyeah. (Even if it was because I hardly drank all day)

Pub Quiz Disaster
Last night, I was up for a tie-break question for second place in a pub quiz.

It was against a lady in a turquoise tanktop and lime shirt. A gosh-darned civilian no less.

The question was: "Which crop is affected by the Colorado beetle?"

She said: "Potatoes", a split-second before I said it. Therefore, she won a tenner in bar vouchers. I settled for the fiver.

But I lost to a lady in a turquoise tanktop and lime shirt. A gosh-darned civilian who knows her chestnuts. Which means that I'm as rusty as a bucketful of year-old wee. Keep that mental image close to hand. It will serve you well.

What cost me, and excuse me while I embark further on this bout of navel gazing, is that I've been confusing the victim crops of the boll weevil and the Colorado beetle since I was 16. That is what made the half-second difference.

Other examples of my mounting rubbishness:

1) I said two dice are used instead of five in backgammon.
2) Brigadier comes above colonel, not captain
3) Copper and zinc make up brass, not copper and tin.
4) And most horrifically of all, that retinol is vitamin D (not A).

Yes, I am guilty of being extremely lame-arsed (despite our winning the first quiz of the night ... we were nowhere on the jackpot round, the crucial question of which asked for how many full-time interpreters work at the UN: we said 387; the answer was 98). But pub quizzes are beginning to hit my predictable chestnut-hued weak spots. It almost makes me want to get back to the How to Win Any Pub Quiz genre of literature. Almost.

Documentaries about kindred spirits
This afternoon I finally got to see Word Wars, the documentary about American and maybe I liked it because of the familiar tropes of people obsessed with knowledge-based games to an almost psychotic extent. People who study lists and books like you and me for hours on end. You can see the same characteristics in them, e.g. Morgan Spurlock-lookalike and stand-up Matt Graham's love of brain function pills and reference books, that echo in you, and which both reassure and scare. Even if no quizzer you know will leave a game in frustration to smoke hash in his hotel room or visit a Mexican prostitute while cameras are rolling, like Marlon Hill. At least yet. I loved Marlon's contention after the climactic tournament that he will give such competitions up because they are driving him crazy. A note-card comes up to say he played one two weeks later. You will shout: "That's just like me!"

It was also pretty serendipitous of them to choose a player as one of their four subjects to win the Nationals at the end to provide the "perfect" narrative arc, but I did think this was nothing more than a competent, albeit fascinating, movie adaptation of Stefan Fatsis's Word Freak, without the depth and nuance that come off the page (it is barely one hour and 20 minutes long). In the end, it was a nice little evening TV documentary that is worth seeing, though not necessarily worth buying on Region 1 DVD (I dunno, it was cheap, that has to be said).

And maybe, there will also be a fully functioning, prize-money enhanced UK national quiz circuit with absolutely hundreds of players in 20 years' time. Wishful thinking, perhaps, and something that may encourage people to stop getting proper jobs and work on the study for most if not all of their days. If you turn up the pitch some will adapt accordingly and forget about things like personal hygiene (I only say it because it is true). Though the money will never be truly bounteous, the potential is still there and worth striving for.


Post a Comment

<< Home