Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Brain of Britain Appearance

Before I start, it is worth mentioning that this post contains Spoilers about yesterdays episode of Brain of Britain. If you want to listen to the episode you will find it HERE









Five years ago, I made my first appearance on Brain of Britain. It was shortly after I had taken steps towards competing in more competitive quizzes and I was full of enthusiasm and trying to enter as many broadcast shows as possible. Things didn't go to plan and I ended up bottom of my heat with 3 points. I was determined to come back 5 years later (the necessary waiting period for re-application) and do myself more justice.



The show you heard yesterday, was only recorded last Monday (16th April) at the BBC Radio Theatre in London. During the audition process I had stated I was happy to travel to either venue (Salford being the other) and having been to Salford for the recording in 2013, it was nice to go somewhere different. The Radio Theatre itself is a fantastic venue, and as always with these recordings, was full to the brim.


My main ambition going into the heat was to better my performance from 5 years ago. In that time I have done a heck of a lot of quizzing and improved my scores in the GP’s dramatically from where I started (although still highly inconsistent). Despite nerves getting the better of me at a recent TV recording, I felt quite relaxed, until the theme music hit. I wasn’t as nervous this time around, but still had the “blank mind” issue that has plagued me before.

I must admit, the first priority was to score a point. I think the “fear of zero” needed wiped out, so was happy to pick up the Sampdoria question on a bonus. I made a couple of schoolboy errors…..When asked for a character for the Lolita questions, I somehow managed to get in my head they were looking for a historical figure and when it came to the Dennis Meanace questions, I was completely down the wrong tracks looking for a cartoon-duo for some reason!


The annoying questions were the Right Said Fred/Taylor Swift question which I only recently read but couldn’t recall in the time, and the Great Expectations question which just didn’t come to mind. Salt N Peppa too is something I will have answered right before, but by that point in the show I think even if they asked me my own name I would have passed!


Even on my best day, I would still have been nowhere near to Mark Coopers commanding score. The way Brain of Britain works, it helps if you haven’t got other keen and experienced quizzers in your heat, and Mark gave a masterclass. Anthony Fish too, I later found out, is a keen GP attendee and regular quizzer which explains his stellar comeback towards the end of the episode.


However, I have no complaints and again the whole experience was fun, meeting great people and taking part in one of my favourite broadcast quizzes. I will still be under 40 the next time I am eligible to re-apply which will hopefully work in my favour, and I would love to have another stab at doing my self-justice. Somehow I need to master quizzing under pressure, and despite leaving Brain of Britain terribly disappointed I didn’t do myself justice (especially with recent GP scores), it certainly hasn’t put me off!

Saturday, 21 April 2018

The Albert, Sunderland - Hosted by me!


Image may contain: text

Although I write questions for various pubs, companies, apps and such like on a regular basis, I have never until recently had the fancy to run my own quiz night. But a stroke of luck landed me in contact with The Albert Pub, located in Sunderland city centre, and after a brief discussion I have agreed to host a quiz on Sunday Nights.

If you are in the Sunderland Area, The Albert is a superb location and the quiz will commence on 13th May with a nice jackpot to start us off, and prizes galore. I will post more details nearer the time.


Friday, 20 April 2018

Quiz Review - Music Quiz, The Grange Sunderland

Image result for the grange sunderland
Location: The Grange, Sunderland
Time: Sundays, from 8.30pm
Lying around 1 mile outside of Sunderland City Centre, the Grange is part of the Sizzling chain and probably the closest pub to my home. I have know about the existence of the Sunday Night Music Quiz in the venue for some time, and eventually managed to get round to attending last weekend. I am usually quite strong on music quiz questions, not so much on audio rounds, so didn't know what to expect. I convinced my other half to come along, and we were one of about 8 teams competing for a prize of a meal voucher for the pub itself.
I will start with the positives....the format is great with a lot of different styles of rounds to keep players occupied. Pictures, themed audio rounds, traditional audio rounds, list rounds...clearly effort is made to putting together a fun quiz. In all there are around 20 music quiz questions, 16 pieces of audio, 10 pictures in the picture round and a handout round. Last weeks was a list of Oscar Winning songs and you simply had to identify the films from which they came. I did enjoy it on the whole, and my other half also did (which is a rare when it comes to quizzing)....however there is one big criticism.
It was pitched at far too low of a level....this isn't me being arrogant, but we scored 57/60 and came 5th. There was a 4 way tie for first place on 58/60 and the lowest score was 54/60. I am all for an easy first half to get people suckered in and thinking they can win, but a harder second half is a must if thats the style. I personally would much rather come 5th with 70% of the points and have learned a think or two, than be 5th with only 3 points dropped. It is very easy to write an easy quiz.....the skill comes in writing a quiz that is going to produce staggered results.
I will give it another go, and if you are in the area it is well worth attending. If it is always so simple though, I maybe will look elsehwere

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Quiz Review - Board Inn, Sunderland

Image result for board inn
Location: Board Inn, Sunderland
Night: Tuesday Night
Time: 8.30pm
For a reason I may go into in a future post, we have began the search for a new home for Tuesday Night quizzing and we began last night at The Board Inn, a few miles outside of Sunderland City Centre.
If you have read one of my quiz reviews previously, you will know that  don't necessarily like to be overtly negative about pub quizzes, after all one of the aims of the blog is to promote quizzing in the North East, but I am struggling with this one.
The quiz itself was fairly well attended with 9 teams, which is about the norm around these parts. The quiz kicks off at 8.30pm and consists of 3 General Knowledge Rounds, a Music Round, a Picture Round, a Wipe-out Round and a Jackpot.  The pub itself is in a nice location, serves up hot food at the interval and has plenty of parking....but sadly the quiz is let down by the quality of questions.
I will start with the positives....the picture round is a standard guess the famous person style round and the music round is nicely broken down into decades (2 questions on 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s) and I always like the inclusion of a Wipeout Round as it brings some tactics into play.
But far too often during the quiz last night, the questions were too obscure, too unguessable and lacking in the clues that could be worked out. There was very little to "think about" if you get my drift, it was either a case of you knew it, or there was not way you were going to guess it. The questions came from a very very narrow syllabus, with no sport and questions that seemed more tamed towards the Hosts interests than the audience in question (always a fatal flaw in quizzes). An anagram round demanded a specific answer of "Tropical Fruit" when asked what a Carambola was being the perfect example of the questions just not being up to scratch.
With 9 teams playing, and many reserved tables, the quiz is popular and if you decide to go I would suggest booking a table, but I certainly won't be returning as the quiz itself isn't worth the time and effort. 

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Brain of Britain - Monday 23rd April 2018

Image result for brain of britain
I will get round to catching up on my run down of the series so far, but just to let you know that for any avid listeners, I recorded an episode of Brain of Britain this week. My second attempt after first taking part 5 years ago. Ill post a full entry on the recording process after the airing. It airs this Monday, 23rd April on BBC Radio 4.