How I cheated at a Christian pub quiz.   Leave a comment

Went to a Christian Festival in Norwich at the weekend and cheated in a pub quiz.

What happened was this. Sam was working at the festival and managed to persuade me to take Syd there for an overnight visit on the Sunday, because she’s so busy at the moment that she’s barely getting to see him. In the end I relented, even though it was a dry festival. Obviously the festival was insane, with people speaking in tongues, playing Christian rock, paying to be sermonized at, smiling at each other, and all sorts of off-the-dial madness. It was just so freaky that I couldn’t even be bothered to film half of it. There was just too much data that you couldn’t even orient yourself in the weirdness. I wanted to take acid really badly. I felt like my stubble, longish hair and Judge Dredd T-shirt had singled me out already, even if I hadn’t been spotted flashing a metal devil sign at Richard. In the evening the Christians were going to have a pub quiz, and us catering posse were going to take part. Now I’m not super-wonderful at pub quizzes, but I’m not bad either, and as there was rumoured to be a music round I was kind of looking forward to showing off my ludicrous ability to recall pop facts from September 1982 onwards (before that I was in Botswana, as we all know). When the quiz started I was putting Syd to bed, and it wasn’t happening at all because he was completely bemused at this life-under-canvas business and wide a-fucking-wake. Anyways Kate gives me a piece of paper as I’m sat outside Syd’s tent and I can still hear what is going on inside the tent where they are having the quiz. I presume the piece of paper is like some sort of entry form, but in fact its part of the quiz itself, which I do not realize. All it says on the piece of paper is “Here’s something to get you started.” And then there’s a load of cryptic clues pertaining to various types of sweets and confectionary such as “marriage arrangers” or “feline predator pub”, meaning Matchmakers and Lion Bar respectively. Couldn’t be simpler for a group of quizees, but I’m sat on my own with a three year old who keeps asking daft questions about tents and the sky and so forth, and I barely get two minutes to attempt this sweetie riddle page thing. I only answer 7 out of a possible 50, in fact, but I didn’t think it bloody mattered, did I? Then Sam comes to relieve me and I go in the marquee and get stuck into the quiz proper. And we do OK and seem to be averaging getting about 50% of things right, even with the occasional God-related question thrown in. What did William Burroughs say? Something like:

“When you’re dealing with a religious son-of-a-bitch, get it in writing. Because he’s always going to have The Almighty on his side trying to fuck you on the deal.”

Anyways we get to the music round and we get every question right, so we decide to play our “joker”, which means that we double our point score in the round that we feel we’ll do best in. Finally they announce the last round, and I’m starting to think we might well be in with a chance. Then, of course, the last round turns out to be the bloody sweet thing that we haven’t filled in. No matter, for we have quick-thinking Kate with us, she of the Catholic upbringing, who ingeniously hands in a filled-out version of the form that seemed to be going spare at someone’s table. Maybe they left halfway through the quiz, who knows? Then I have to mark another team’s sheet (teams swap papers to mark them, as even Christians aren’t stupid) and they get 35 out of 50, which feels like a pretty score as far as I’m concerned. Then a girl from another team comes over to tell us that we scored 36. At this point, me being me, and despite the fact that I’ve been drinking beer out of paper cups all afternoon, I panic. I fear the worst. I fear we’ve won. Through cheating. Christians.

Then there is a delay. Then a woman comes up to where we all are and asks us if we might have forgotten to write our team name on the sheet for the last round. “Possibly,” we say, a little bit nervously. “What colour pen were you using,” she asks, “was it blue?” “Perhaps,” we reply and then all eyes look over to the table where a black pen is sat on top of the sweetie round form with only 7 answers attempted. We mutter something very vaguely at her because we are in very deep now and we can’t go back, even though there is a bit of me, perhaps the craven coward bit that is on the verge of saying something like:

“I’m sorry Christians. I’m sorry we cheated at your quiz. It wasn’t me though. It was Kate.”

Then the woman walks off and I run out of the back of the tent and hide. Then they announce the winners. We’ve won. They call the catering people to come up and collect their award, and I grab my camera and run back in the back of the tent, and get some very grainy and blurry footage of the triumph/travesty situation. Later on we all get stoned and Kate gets a bit paranoid and falls backwards off her chair and we’re all laughing about acts of God and Kate gets hysterical.

Then Syd is up half the night going “Look Dad! The moon!” and “I’m hot.” And “Oh! I’ll never get to sleep!” (Which is funny because that Faithless song has been on the stereo in the afternoon and its stuck in my head anyway) and I wake up at 7AM feeling like a very tired member of the undead. Kate is driving me and Syd back to Cambridge and as we leave the site some of the organisers come over to my side of the car to say goodbye to us, and Kate, feeling Catholic guilt and the effects of some sort of common-sense-bypass syndrome, starts to make a sort of half-confession about the quiz whilst I squirm about in my seat and smile unconvincingly and make little snorts of fake-laughter through my nostrils. Luckily it doesn’t seem to register with them.

“Just think,” says one of them, “Now you can say, with a clear conscience, that you are award-winning caterers!”

Posted August 16, 2004 by peteum2013 in Uncategorized

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