Today’s folklore adventure was all about a pub quiz. A pub quiz? Yes, a pub quiz. But what does a pub quiz have to do with folklore? Well– Were the questions about folklore? No (although some were definitely about legends). Did you have a dance break to strap on some bells and wave around some handkerchiefs? No. Do you know the three actors who played Darth Vader in Return of the Jedi? Yes, David Prowse, Sebastian Shaw and James Earl Jones. Was the quiz master actually the Dungeon Master out of Knightmare? No, but he did do a very sinister laugh at one point after shouting NO HALF POINTS! Okay, so what is so folklorey about a pub quiz?
Before I started this project proper, I wrote a post called Yes, You Do Do Folklore where I explained Gerald Warshaver’s three ‘levels’ of folklore, and pub quizzes come under Level One – a customary practice, or something that is not self-conscious folklore (the post also contains a very bad poem written by me to illustrate the three levels concept, you have been warned), so I’m going to point you in that direction, rather than rehash it here.
But what made this pub quiz extra special is that it’s also a personal tradition of my friend Sarah. You’ve already met Sarah, she is the most excellent woman who made The ‘Wealthy’ Hangover Cure – Lidl version for 7 January. And tonight she invited me to join her friends in the first Popbitch Quiz of 2020.
Q. What is Popbitch?
A. Popbitch is a weekly newsletter (and website) that contains well researched and mainly scandalous gossip. They also have a fascination with asking celebrities who would win in a fight between a badger or a baboon (Team Badger, obviously). Every week they advertise their quiz nights, and for the past, I don’t know how long, I’ve wanted to go to one.
Q. Who else besides you and Sarah were on the team?
A. Tonight the team also consisted of the equally excellent (and in alphabetical order) Dan, Emma, James, Kate, Lauren and Oly.
Q. Is the team always the same?
A. No, sometimes the team is bigger, sometimes smaller, it depends who’s around. But everyone on the team used to, or still does, work for the same company (although some of them not at the same time).
Q. How long has the pub quiz been a thing?
A. Sarah has been quizzing for about 2 ½ years, not always at this particular quiz, but the team all like the Popbitch one as it’s a bit different, it’s the right level of difficulty, geographically it ticks the boxes, the venue food is good (it looked and smelled amazing), Tuesdays are a good day and the MC doesn’t drag it out, given it’s a school night.
Q. What was the team’s name?
A. The Festival of Megxit.
Q. What sort of questions were you asked?
A. How many Oscar nominations did Cats get? Is this the title of a Morrisey song or a badly translated Hollywood film? Which celebrity used to dip his penis in Listerine before sex? Oh, and there was a making round where we had model ‘Prince Harry’s first post-royal Instagram endorsement post’ out of plasticine, a paper plate and a cut out Instagram frame, and a round where we had to identify celebrities from their court appearance sketches.
Q. Did you answer any questions?
A. I sucked. Although I was pretty confident that the Listerine question wasn’t Cliff Richard.
Q. Did you win?
A. We came fourth! And so we all got to pluck a lucky dip prize out of the Jade Goody Bag. Mine was a CD of Moon Safari by Air.
Q. Did you have a good time?
A. I had a brilliant night. Everyone on the team was so welcoming and fun, and despite being deceptively competitive, didn’t mind at all when I kept volunteering the wrong answer or looked blankly at an emoji. As folklore goes, I would really recommend this kind.