Last night my friend Marcus Berkmann, the Spectator columnist and quiz master from the Prince of Wales Highgate pub quiz (the toughest one in London), held a quiz at The Frontline Club in Paddington. I’ve been wanting to go to this journalist’s private club for a while, for they have interesting events, talks and film showings.
“for a bottle of wine” he replied jauntily
“but I will only drink a glass. I’m driving.” I managed to respond, feeling wrong-footed. I’m old fashioned enough to expect to be bought a drink by a gentleman.
He back-tracked “oh I suppose you can buy a glass then.”
A glass of Chardonnay was £4 and very nice too.
“Doesn’t matter” he insisted and pocketed the fiver.
“Oh they just made that up, the French. They had a choice between a 4 year old girl, direct line to the throne, and an older man who was already running the country and they just made up this law, pretending it had been around forever” said Helen.
“A good quiz” says Marcus “is when anybody feels they have a shot at answering the questions. At the Prince of Wales I aim for the lowest score to be about 40% and the highest 80%”
“Do you change the quiz depending on the audience?”
“Yes. I knew the teams here would be well-travelled and well read. The range of scores here is between 50% and 85%”
Our team won by one point. It was hard for me to be taken seriously at first by the rest of the team. They didn’t know me, plus I look younger than my age, which can sometimes be a disadvantage. Older men assume I’m a young flippertygibbet! Helen was shit hot, particularly at the ‘books of films and their authors’ round. Sir Les Patterson also managed to pull a few great answers out of the bag. I excelled at the French ‘text speak’ round, a lucky one for me, as I have spent so many years in France. The perfect quiz team, one that can answer general knowledge, is gender balanced with a wide age range. You could say it’s a practical exercise in democracy.