Sunday, May 21, 2006

From The Archives

A piece by Bob from the early days of the Quiz league - the league is sponsored by ICI in its new guise of Astra Zeneca now:


Without doubt, the most unsung effort to achieve fame for Rainow outside of its own stony boundaries is the annual foray of the Robin Hood quiz team to death or glory in the Macclesfield Quiz League. In the dark days between October and Easter-time the observant villager might spot one of its members striding resolutely up Stocks Lane to the place of battle. Even in the blackest winter night they can be distinguished from the ordinary passer-by through a distinctive mumbling which those with keener hearing might pick out as historical data or chemical formulae, chanted rhythmically as they pass along, oblivious to all around, psyching themselves for the fray in the great tradition of the late twentieth-century combatant.

Quizzes have never been so popular. Pub Leagues spring up and flourish in almost every town. Fuelled by television panel games and Trivial Pursuits their attraction continues undiminished, and no self-respecting pub, club, or school is without its regular, or at least occasional indulgence. Most of them are light-hearted affairs, fifty or so questions offering a welcome break from the usual round of conversation and argument about Eastern Europe, Northern Ireland, Southern Comfort, Ozone Layers, Poll Tax payers, First Innings, Second Comings, Third World, Forth Bridge, Man United, Man Divided, Green Politics, Red Rum, Black Activists, White Nancy, Nancy White, winds in Rainow, rain on windows.......the diversion of the quiz can be a welcome break.

Not in the Macclesfield League. Theirs is no stroll through the family quiz page of a colour supplement. Theirs is the Pennine Way of quiz leagues, the Grand National of General Knowledge. One hundred and sixty questions over twenty rounds, specially chosen to turn a beguiling muse over a favourite tipple into a two hour ordeal of mortal combat. There are three points if the contestant answers his or her own question, and only one if conferring is necessary. Add the fact that end-of-season silverware is given to successful individuals as well as teams, and the lethal cocktail is complete.

This megaquiz had modest beginnings in the town under the sponsorship of various small concerns. Things changed rapidly, however, when the organisers decided to abandon the homely patronage of accommodating auctioneers and philanthropic publicans and set their sights on multi-national status. The league's original two divisions has now grown to an army of five marching under the proud banner of the I.C.I. Quiz League.

This you will agree is no small accolade, and their adopted international giant has taken an interest in its new foundling which does it much credit. I have it on good authority from a Rainovian in their employment that at a recent Alderley Park meeting the group Chairman announced that turnover stood at 11.123 billion pounds, sales volume rose by eleven per cent, dividends were showing a steady increase, growth was strong in the United States and continental Europe, and the knockout final would be between the Limping Whippet and the Pig and Ball Bearing.

The quizzes themselves are a minefield, and long friendships have been lost in the heat of battle. Fierce argument is not uncommon, particularly when answers are open to misinterpretation. When I was at school (admittedly a long time ago), there were five continents. Now there are seven. WHERE DID THEY FIND THE OTHER TWO?! Then there is the question of accumulated knowledge. Personally, I have always been sceptical as to what you can really learn after years of hanging around quiz games. There is no doubt that you can come across some amazing, even earth-shattering facts, but airing this kind of new-found knowledge can be tricky. It is not easy to drop these little pearls into after-dinner chat in that suave, carefree, matter-of-fact way which has all your listeners gaping in admiring silence. You would not believe how hard it is to turn a conversation on rockery plants to the fact that the only creature besides man which can catch leprosy is the nine-banded armadillo, or that Dopey was the only one of the seven dwarves without a beard. Of course the real value is supposed to be in the inner benefit gained from garnering gems of random information, and I list here a mere ten facts without the knowledge of which my life would definitely have been the poorer:

Lusaka is the capital of Zambia, and
not a Greek dish.

A Royal Enfield is a vintage motor cycle
and not a place where the Queen keeps her

Stanhope, Phaeton, and Brougham are types
of horse-drawn carriage and not a firm of
Macclesfield solicitors.

The Vulgate is a Latin version of the
bible and not a street in York.

The Transuranics are elements and not
a rock group.

A dactylogram is a fingerprint and
not a message from a prehistoric bird.

Hapsburg is the name of the Austrian
royal line and not a lager.

Mungo Park is the name of a Scottish
explorer and not Dundee United's
football ground.

Gallophobia is fear of the French, not
of hanging.

The Diet of Worms was a religious edict
and not what kept the early bird alive.

There is one question which has fascinated me ever since the day it was first asked. This was "Where is Boadicea buried?". It appears that the last resting place of that scourge of the invading Romans is the site of the modern St. Pancras station, in London.......


The Queen of the Iceni nation
lay underneath St. Pancras Station
proud and serene, she lay in state
still waiting for the 12.08

Two fearsome daughters and their Mum
had come to sack Londinium.
they'd done the job and had a feast
and all-triumphant, headed East.

The Queen consulted her adviser
Which form of transport was the wiser?
"My Queen", he said, "we're sitting pretty-
just put your trust in Inter-city!"

Her chariot of gold was sped
down to St. Pancras engine shed.
She checked the times and bought a seat,
first-class return to Watling Street.

The hours passed, she lost her daughters
Who'd wandered off in search of porters,
The Queen, her ladies, and her men
were never to be seen again.

The centuries they came and went
until some antiquarian gent
whilst studying her erstwhile race
confirmed the old Queen's resting place.

B.R., with keen anticipation
decided on an excavation.
this find would guarantee their fame-
they'd even have a change of name.

They'd call it Boadicea Station
the latest travellers sensation!
the crowds would flock from near and far
to the "Scythe and Chariot Burger Bar".

They dug beneath the London clay
and found where Boadicea lay.
around her head, a golden band
A London Saver in her hand.

The station-master, passing by
came to look, and gave a cry.
"Dear dear" he said "now don't you worry
we'll have this sorted in a hurry.

We've cleared the blockage on the line,
the train will leave at half-past nine.
and as you've had a lengthy wait,
we'll only charge you off-peak rate".

The dig had been a huge success
with lots of pictures in the press.
They took her from her hallowed ground,
she left her grave, museum bound.

The Queen of the Iceni nation
has now moved three miles from the station.
Two thousand years, but don't despair -
with British Rail - WE'RE GETTING THERE

Saturday, May 13, 2006

An Entry From Bob, Our Longest Serving Member

What a gallery.I recognise two members of the quiz league. On the right is the renowned Paul Beard - a temperamental chap (that's 50% temper....) Top left is wotsit who plays for what used to be the cricket club and is now something else. Always smoking cigars.The third one looks a bit like Tomo on one of his suave bad hair days. Still working on that one!

A long way to go yet Bob!!

First Reply To Tomo's Picture Quiz

Hello there,
I hope you don't think I'm being a bit previous in trying your quiz out. I'm not very good because I don't know anyone yet. The one on the top left looks like my Uncle Ken, who once played in a quiz match. The second one is easy, even though you tried to be cryptic. It is Karl Marx and that's what wins quizzes - Marx!I don't know the third one. Looks like him off Changing Rooms who can't decide if he's Arthur or Martha.
Ed Banger

Friday, May 12, 2006

A Contribution From Tomo Our Newest Team Member

I'm not one for paranoia; I have enough trouble with reality as it is, but I couldn't help noticing that certain celebrities have started playing in the Macclesfield Quiz League -- even dead ones. The task for the dear reader is to work out which is which. As a clue, one of them has taken her glasses off

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

From Our Regular Correspondent

Dear Nick

Thank you for your reply. I do understand when you say that you will have to consult the other members of the team and I live in hopes that they will accept me as a friend. They do seem rather a jolly lot. I was a bit surprised to learn from you that the lady of the team, Wendy, was the South Cheshire Ladies All-in Free-Style Wrestling Champion – she looks so demure, but I should have known she was a bit feisty by the size of the shield she is carrying in the photograph. She is probably one of those Amazon women that fight a lot and visit book sales websites. Come to mention it, she looks a bit like that lady who sells books on Macclesfield Market. It can’t be her though because she cheated me once. I wanted to cheer myself up a bit and I asked her if she had any books that were, you know, ‘under the counter’. She put a book in a brown paper bag and told me to give her ten quid and say nothing to anybody. I asked her what it was about and she said it was the story of a tribe of gorgeous, rampant pygmy females in Africa. I said “What’s it called” and she said “Little Women”. I took it home and read it twice before I realised I’d been tricked.

I was relieved to find out that the gentleman in the shades is not a mysterious Russian spy, but a mysterious English spy. You say that there is another member of your team since the photograph was taken. Perhaps you could get him to write to me.

Just to show you what a nice regular guy I am, this is a letter I received from my 92 year-old Gran who has recently found religion. I am sure you will find it touching.

“Dear Ed

The other day I came out of a prayer meeting and went to the Christian bookshop in Park Green and saw a “honk if you love Jesus” sticker, which I bought.
What an uplifting experience it was! I stopped at the traffic lights and was lost in thought about the Lord and how good he is and didn’t notice that the lights had changed. It’s a good thing somebody else loves Jesus because if he hadn’t have honked I would never have noticed. I found that lots of people love Jesus! Why, I was just sitting there when the man behind started honking like mad, and then he leaned out of his window and shouted “For the love of God. Go! Go! Go! Jesus Christ Go!
What an exuberant cheerleader he was for Jesus!

Everyone started honking! I just leaned out of my window and started waving and smiling at all those loving people. I even honked my horn a few times to share in the love. There must have been a man from Blackpool in there because I heard him shout something about a “sunny beach” and I saw a woman waving in a funny way.. with only her middle finger stuck up in the air. Then I asked my friend in the back seat what that meant. She said it was probably an Irish good luck sign. Well, I’ve never met anyone from Ireland so I leaned out of the window and gave him the good luck sign back. My friend burst out laughing – even she was enjoying the religious experience! A couple of people were so caught up in the joy of the moment that they got out of their cars and started to walk towards me. I bet they wanted to pray or to ask what Church I attended. This is when I noticed that the lights had changed. So I waved at all my brothers and sisters and drove across the junction. I noticed that I was the only car that got through the junction before the lights changed again and I felt a bit sad that I had to leave them after all the love we shared. So I slowed the car down, leaned out of the window and gave them the Irish good luck sign as I drove away.

Praise the Lord for such wonderful people.

Your loving Grandma

I suppose I should tell you a little more about myself. My hobbies are walking backwards, and flagging down Volvo drivers to tell them that they have left their lights on.

By the way, don’t worry about your little problem. I looked it up in my copy of the “Reader’s Digest Book of Iffy Complaints”. What you suggested should do the trick but go easy on the olive oil. In the meantime your secret is safe with me (and My Auntie Joan).

Cheer up and remember it is always darkest just before dawn, so if you want to steal your neighbour’s newspaper, that’s the time to do it.

Kind Regards

Ed Banger

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Making Recruits

The blog has awakened some interest already - here is a mail I received:

"Dear Nick

I hope you don’t mind my writing to you. It’s just that the other night I was surfing the www and happened across your site quite by accident. I thought it said “Nick’s Quickie Site”, and was a little disappointed but decided to investigate further. I know that there is not much to read at yet but I was very taken by the photograph. You all seem a jolly lot and I wonder if I might make friends with you all as I do not have many friends. I tried to imagine which one on the photograph was you and I guess you are the good-looking one with the beard and glasses who is sat in front of the mysterious Russian spy. The lady on the picture looks very nice too, a bit like my Auntie Joan only without the straight-jacket.

I was wondering if you were in need of a Quiz League reporter for next season. This would brighten up your site over the long winter nights and my fee would not be too large. You see I recently lost my job and need to earn a few readies to pay for my treatment etc. The circumstances of my losing employment are, I am sure you will agree, very sad, and will cause you and your friends to consider my request with some sympathy. For some years up until last summer I worked as a thistle-cutter in a nudist camp. This was fine and well within my capacity but one day, being short staffed, the owners told me to devise and organise a sports day at the camp. I managed to get the men’s nude sack race going, using large clear polythene bags. This was a success, though it was a nightmare for me to hold the finishing tape – it looked like sacks of King Edward’s leaping towards me. Things went really wrong in the men’s nude 4x400 yard baton relay race. There was a terrible mix-up on the third lap and one man was dragged along for 150 yards before anyone realised what the problem was. So that was the end of that job. However, I know that I could be a really good reporter and friend for your quiz team so perhaps you will consider my request and let me know. I could also meet you all and play in reserve from time to time. Although people say I am not too bright I do know that the capital of Chile is Concarne.

Yours hopefully

Ed Banger."

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Initial Disappointment

One of my fellow team membrs was rather disappointed with the content on this the first day:

"I was a little disappointed - I saw the site, thought 'I'll have some of this!", brewed myself a cup of coffee, grabbed a Hob-Nob and sat down to read all about the creator of this work of art. Looked in 'Nick's profile' expecting to hear about your poor childhood when nobody wanted you and they used to send you to school with your lunch wrapped in road maps, and how you were the only baby in the area with shutters on his pram, and the time when you were a teenager and you wrote to a lonely hearts club, sending a photograph and they sent it back to you saying thanks very much but we're not that lonely. What did I find - nothing!"

Sorry Bob - I'll try harder

Champions 2003-4

Opening Page

This blog will be used to record fixtures, results and comments on the games relating to The Waters Green Tavern Wonderers on their first season in the A league for some years.