The Withington Pub Quiz League




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From Gerry Collins (22/09/14):

In the good old days I could wax nostalgic up to 7 times a night.....

I read with interest Kieran's History of the World in 10 and a half Quizzers which appeared at the very end of last season. So many years, so many questions, so many forgotten answers.  For any fellow old gits who sometimes find the present tense and the past perfect here is my half-remembered version of yesteryear. The rest of you, the better adjusted, should switch channels immediately or leave the room.

I first heard of Withquiz when I got chatting to Barry Whitehead at the upstairs quiz in the Swan in the 1980s (vague memories also  of meeting Kieran for the first time at this venue).  A few months later I met Barry again one sunny (in the past all days were sunny) Sunday afternoon in the Red Lion and he invited me to enter a team into Withquiz for the following season.  We duly did, and made our debut in what I think was the 1987/88 season.

The Swan was our venue and the team was stamped '2nd Class' right from the onset.  Post Office through and through - all that is except Marian who had a PhD in American Literature and could never understand why there were always more questions about cricket than there were about the collected works of John Dos Passos.  We were all stalwarts of the monthly quiz held at the PO sports and social club on Quay Street, a frolicking drinkfest cum quiz won all too regularly by a dourly professional outfit called Wilson, Keppel and Betty, better known in Withington circles as Mike Heale and his BT engineering cronies.  The fact that he chose to call his team Wilson, Keppel and Betty surely dispels the hoary old myth that Mike was no lover of modern music.  Imagine our unbridled joy when we discovered that this was the team that had to be beaten in Withquiz as well.  As Kieran says,  Mike was a hard man to impress; you just had to persevere and sure enough,  just a few years before he died Mike told us that the quiz we had just set "wasn't a bad paper".  Success!

This is true: despite being the archetypal oldies of the quiz world (though we weren't always greybeards, I used to be a dead ringer for Conchita) I still think of us as being Withquiz upstarts.  And if that doesn't prove how old the Withington Quiz league is, then nothing does.  Many have moved on, many have joined, but the nucleus of what we know as Withquiz  today was already in place at that time.  We seemed to be the newbies for quite a while followed, I think,  by the Pigs and  the Historymen  (although elements of both teams may have been previous players in various teams - more info please, Gary and Ivor).  Snoopy's Friends (Tony with family and friends) eventually became the new kids on the block followed by the Chorlton Cricket Club who only survived a few seasons but managed to create a lasting impression and are still sadly missed.  TMTCH then became the  precocious babies of the league followed by the Calluna Pussycats (neutered after a season) and the universally challenged  Meat Raffle.  Here's hoping that Rachael and pals will sit down in the Turnpike in about 50 years time, pay not more than 5 New Scottish Euros for a round of drinks and write a definitive history of WithQuiz.