Tuesday, September 15, 2009

It Must Be Said

When the Brain&Mouth Alliance Disintegrates

This week poor little indie boy - well, he does kinda look like one - James Link of Durham University became the most terrified University Challenge contestant I have ever seen on the show.

Surges of sympathy duelled with near hilarity as his stream of incorrect starter buzzes descended into a pit of head-in-hands despair.

There's an unwritten rule I've just devised a few moments ago: you should never ever put your head in your hands on UC. Then repeat the "what have I done?" gesture on at least two more occasions. Or at least you shouldn't do it while the camera is still firmly aimed at your swiftly bowing head.

Ducking under the desk, as if dodging an incoming Spartan spear or Iraqi brogue, is a safer option.

But, having said that, he perservered, his confidence untattered itself ever so slightly and he got a couple right (resulting my saying "Go on, James!"), and for that he must be both congratulated and saluted (and at least he didn't make an oh-dear boo-boo on the scale of the Virginia Woolf/Middlemarch???!!! answer the otherwise impressive Chen of St. John's blurted out).

However, the heads down/hands up image - reminiscent of a frightened little rabbit shying away from an hunter's giant shotgun - will live forever in my memory.

Henceforth, visibly terror-stricken UC contestants will be known as "James Links", as in "The James Linked demeanour of the opposition suggested they were doomed from the outset". (Sorry James, it was obvious you tried your best. TV recordings can make fools of the finest minds. Just look at me. On about, er, 13 deeply regretful occasions. Oh the pain of a bad incorrect answer - for there is a scale spanning good ones and bloody awful seriously WTF? ones - will always linger. That dull eternal pain eating away at me from the inside and, trying to kill the resurgent memories: la-la-la-la-la ... rigged Spanish Eurovision Song Contest winner ... la-la-la-la).


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