The gentle art of quizzing

A long while back I recounted the events of the Amboss “near pub brawl” and the time when the legend that was Tom ridiculed Dylan Thomas’s whisky drinking record. To be fair, he was qualified to make the criticism, and would have murdered DT in a quiz or a drinking contest.

It seems appropriate to recount how he introduced me to Withquizzing,

We both lived in Prestwich, playing and winning many pub quizzes there. Tom came back to live in Withington, and suggested I join his quiz team, which he assured me was “really good”.
The first game was away against Keith Glazzards team. A baptism of fire, treacle and brimstone, but I was unsuspecting. I arrived at the appointed time, but of course there was nobody there. I asked the barman whether there was a quiz match that night? “No idea”.

Twenty minutes later I was getting worried, and went to the wide pavement outside. No sign of anybody. As I stood there a black cab pulled up at the kerb twenty feet away. It was empty apart from the driver, or so I thought. The driver turned/reached backwards, and then looked forwards again. A few moments later the cab passenger door swung half open. A hand appeared underneath the door, and gingerly placed a 1/3 full plastic pint pot on the pavement. Tom crawled out of the cab on all fours, kicked the cab door shut, picked up the glass, stood up and greeted me. “Been at the cricket” he said, by way of explanation. “We always start the quizzes a bit late”.

We went into the pub, and he introduced me to Rebekah and Ian, my teammates. On the wall was a league table from the previous season.
“We” were at the foot of it. Quizzes are tranquil affairs, but only those who served in Vietnam could imagine the atmosphere when Tom and Keith played against each other. Twenty five years later I still shudder at the memory of that first game. I can’t remember whether we won or lost, but Ian and Rebekah assured me “it’s not like this every week”.

I carried on playing, and about 5 years later we won the league at the Griffin, in my last season before work stopped me playing in Withington.
As we walked out, arm in arm, it was my great regret that Tom had left the team after the near pub brawl incident, and hence was not able to share in our/his success.

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