Pub quizzes have kept a lot of pubs in business, persuading people to come out on a wet Monday night to answer trivia questions. But times are hard, and a lot of drinkers prefer to stay at home, wrapped in in a soiled duvet, enjoying a few cans of own-brand, extra-strength, supermarket lager instead. But the problem isn’t just the price of beer in pubs, it’s the shortage of trivia.
As Brian Cooper, President of the Licenced Victuallers Association, points out, “With so little to laugh about these days, the supply of trivia questions is drying up. Everybody knows the answers by now. The “comet” is always Halley’s. The “literary prize” is always the Booker. The “art prize” is always the Turner. The “medieval writer” is always Chaucer. The “famous diarist” is always Samuel Pepys. The “medical journal” is always The Lancet. And the “garden designer” is always ‘Capability’ Brown.
“The trick questions don’t catch people out any more. Where is the Island of Langerhans? In the pancreas, of course! What’s taken to every cup final, but never used? The losers’ ribbons for the cup! The questions people really want answered - “Would you cash a cheque?”, “Can you lend me twenty quid till Friday?” - usually end in fist fights.”