The Pub Quiz – A Christmas Blog!

Posted: December 19, 2011 in Chawn, Dan Meets Celebrities, DVD Bonus Features, Schooldays
Tags: , ,

It’s Christmas. Nearly. It’s December. Or ‘Christm-ember’. A time to come together. For over-21s to suddenly realise how many people they know, because they all organise group catch-up nights. It’s been 10 years since I finished school. Nearly. Nearly ten years since we had a funeral for the class football we used for over a year. Since we saw each other every day. The Legendary N1 Lads. Who’ve organised a group catch-up night. I’m excited! And especially can’t wait to see Woz and Dave. I have arrived at the pub late and immediately spotted Keiran and Ash by the bar. Ash still looks like Top Gun Tom Cruise and Key has London hair. I walk over, and see Phil walking in simultaneously through the other door. I smile. For the connection is still strong. We’re like Will Smith and Charlize Theron. Only not former lovers. And with less good superpowers, like being able to reach stuff or save lives. We’re chatting when Key and Ash realise something. They’ve organised a catch-up night… on quiz night. We share a mental growl. Resolute. We will not be moved! We will take part in the quiz! And we will win!

We don’t have long to book in, and it’s still only the four of us. There’s no sign of Woz and Dave, let alone Blakey or Mo. I’m hoping to see Derbs but it’s been unlikely since he turned into the abominable yamyam with rare, blurry Tesco sightings. We sigh, and agree wistfully that the guys aren’t coming, and that some things never change. We stump up £1.50 each and form a quiz team. A winning quiz team. They hand me 6 english pounds and I icebreaker through the crowd of sweaty-shirted 40-something men to pick up the last quiz pack. Quizmaster asks me a key question.

“Yeah, Keiran’s playing.”

“No, what’s your team name gonna be, mate?”

A team name. We haven’t come up with a team name. No wait… yes we have!

In year nine!

I smile.

“The Rejects.”

I return with a pack, and 4 raffle tickets for the grand prize at the end of the night. “I’ll give the raffle tickets to Phil for safe keeping!” I announce, partly because I know we’ll never get called up, and also because these days Phil’s a professional! This could be his chance to forever put to bed his gravity issues – or ‘gravitissues’. He puts the tickets down and smiles. Relishing this new level of responsibility. Key looks at me blankly. “The pack says we need a team name.” His eyes widen.

“…what have you called us, Dan…?”

I smile.

“The Rejects.”

He smiles.

“The Renford Rejects.”

I carry on smiling. Some things never change. And how poetic that obscure kids’ TV references can bond two men so! By which I don’t mean they turn them into James Bond, although I wish they did! Except then there’d be at least two of them. And that’d cause as many problems as it solves. Bigger financial strain on Whitehall. Also they’d probably start a militia, and what are Ian McKellen and Alex Ferguson gonna do in a fight? Actually Fergie’d be fine. And Ian was alright in X-Men. As long as he wears a hat. So then all the James Bonds would have to stop hatmaking forever! Which would annoy Judi Dench. But then, everything annoys Judi Dench.

We set to work on the picture round. Keiran knows a lot of them, including Kate Winslet’s husband. There’s a picture of a woman with Patrick Stewart. I recognise the woman. Instantly.

“That’s definitely Joss Stone.”

Kieran is writing Jessica Simpson as our answer as Quizmaster, dressed as Santa, starts to boom in a shockingly dull tone throughout the pub. He’s a good quizman, in that he has packs; but he really is the priest with the boring voice from Father Ted. I smile. We’re all so very clever. All of us were in top set science. We can’t not ace this quiz. Any questions about the renal system, the phrygian scale, Kelly McGillis or dancing with Ronaldinho and we will eat them like a bowl of delicious Strawberry Mini-Wheats – the finest cereal in the world. Unofficially. They’ve never been allowed to compete in the championships. They’re not even slightly Communist. I’m not sure there is a Communist cereal. Maybe ‘Lenino’s. Like Jay Leno and El Níno, but with less raisins.’

The first question comes up. I have no idea, so look at the rejects. At blank faces. Oh no! The rest of the questions aren’t so bad. We know enough to keep us interested. “What are the names of the four ghosts in Charles Dickens’ Christmas Carol? They must be the exact names.”

I burst into life!

“I watched it last Friday night with the Chawn youth!”

“Played, Dan! What are the names?”

I forget the names.

I sing the song from the film to remember. “We’re Marley and Marley…” which surprisingly doesn’t start a conversation about Laura Marley. “Jacob Marley! The Ghost of Christmas Past, Ghost of Christmas Present, and Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come.”

They look at me like a cow looks at an oncoming train.

“Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come? not Future?”

“No! I remember hearing “Christmas yet to come” and thinking “that’s interesting.” Besides, in the 19th century they didn’t use the word ‘future.’” I am quoting hymns to prove my point when Key looks it up on his phone. “Dan, says it’s Ghost of Christmas Future”. I look at him. Like an oncoming train that doesn’t want to, but has accepted the inevitability of hitting a cow.!?!”

They go with my answer, probably out of pity, as it’s looking less likely that there’ll be any questions about Zach Braff, or Hungarian children. I only knew the Joss Stone answer, and they didn’t even believe me. They want me to feel involved. I smile.


We’re having a great time together when the quiz ends. We’ve opened the sealed envelopes and there’s nothing on the table except the answer sheet. Not even… the raffle tickets. “Erm… Phil?”

30 seconds later we are turning tables over hunting the tickets. “Why d’you give them to Phil for safe keeping, Dan? Some things never change!” I remember something. “Hang on, Ash… I can remember the numbers!” I rip off a piece of envelope to make copies. “Counterfeit tickets? You just know we’ll get called up now!”

A few minutes later the tickets re-appear, and Phil is relieved. I am gutted because it means we won’t get called up now. Flipping fate. Boring Voice starts to read answers, and we mark our own. “What were the names of the ghosts in the Christmas Carol? They were Jacob Marley and the ghosts of Christmases past, present, and yet to come.” I smile, for I am no moron.

Quiz Hopkins finishes reading the answers and is about to call out the raffle ticket number to potentially win £50. I’m jaded with disappointment after finding out it wasn’t Joss Stone. Still, it’d be nice if…



Oh well.


We’re discussing Docker The Mole, Harding and classic Miss Price moments and paying no attention to Boring Voice’s boring voice when two words fly into my ears like a child bursting into a room and getting his head stuck in a dartboard.

“The Rejects….”

I grab the tickets and pelt to the front, processing what’s happened as I run. The raffler got the question wrong! And the second question gives the lucky winner a £34 prize! And we’ve been called! But… oh. Flipping heck. I’ve answered two questions tonight, and got one wrong. yet here am I running to the front. I am suddenly the Chief! The Biggest Reject! I reach Quizanthemum and pick envelope number 3. The question is read out.

“What Kimberly-Clark brand has changed the animal in their ads to a CGI one after 40 years?”

Oh no! Who? This is Kieran’s question! He once applied to intern with Superman and The Pink Power Ranger. I’ve never even heard of them! But then… have I? For some reason I can picture toilet roll holders with the name on. Toilet roll holders… from… school! This can’t be a coincidence! Somehow I am going to get this answer!

It… It’s… fate!

I am staring blankly at Quiz Lorraine and thinking about children’s toilets when I’m knocked by a man heading to the loo. A man that’s said something under his breath. In a voice I’d know anywhere. The voice of a maverick.


Boring Voice bores into me with his eyes. I say it again. A bit more quietly. “Ahem… Andrex?” I look suspicious, but I see no reason why I should! This has been a team effort all night, and now The Rejects have teamed up for one last toilet time! I must fight for this! For the memory of Derbs! For the moles! For that class ball!

“Well… I’ve seen Kimberly-Clark in toilets; and the only thing I can think of that’s toilet-related is toilet roll. Andrex make toilet roll, don’t they?”

I’m wearing my I’m-meeting-Adrian-Chiles-face to look like I’ve taken a stab in the dark. “Is that your …final answer?” A moment of doubt. I do what I always do in these situations. I gamble. “Erm. Yeah.”


“That’s right, the answer’s Andrex!”

I am shocked, and shocked that I’m shocked. I act even shocked-er, looking at the answer to see if it really was right. I snatch the 34 quid and run back to the boys. I drop the swag on the table, and shake Ash’s hand. He waves away the attention. “We had the need. The need for speed.” Key overflows with excitement as he splits the cash. “Guys, we’ve done it! We’ve won the pub quiz!” I take my £8.50 and look up at Key. He is smiling.

I look at the scoreboard.

And see us in last place.

I smile.

Some things never change.



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