The proud tradition of a pub quiz is something we took for granted in the pre-Covid times. All those hours watching The Chase paid off, as you sneak out a one-point victory over a team called Quiz Team Aguilera. The one little victory meant a lot; it was vindication.
For people who were bad at sports in school, it was the same as winning the county final, but with pubs a no-go for the foreseeable future, society has had to adapt. With the miracle of modern technology, we can now recreate the pub quiz experience from the comfort of your own home. Lockdown has given quizzers of the world ample time to brush up on their weak spots.
We no longer need to fear a rogue pint wiping out our teams answer sheet in the middle of a round; the only problem you must contend with now is the wi-fi acting up. No more will we be denied wins by not knowing who sang ‘You Get What You Give’ (you can have this answer for free: they’re called New Radicals) nor will failing to remember basic Junior Cert science cause a winning streak to combust.
Table Fish has been helping to run a quiz twice a week, every Tuesday and Friday night since lockdown started. The quizzes are free to play, but contestants are encouraged to “pay what you feel.”
It’s easy: you log onto https://www.table.fish/ just before 8pm, and the questions will appear in your browser as the quiz starts. The questions are asked in a YouTube stream, set to relaxing lo-fi music, by quizmaster Chris.
Event organiser Richard and his friends, Ric and Katie serve as correctors and researchers, quizmaster Chris serves as the Chris Tarrant role, while Aidan sets up the technical side of things.
“We started table.fish after some of our mates who work in the tourism and hospitality industry were laid off due to COVID-19. Your contribution helps us pay our mates to write, edit and score our questions, and everything else goes to charity” the website reads.
Richie explains “It’s not huge, and its capped, but it’s kept us working through part of the week.”
“Along with one or two other residual things that have come in, it’s basically resulted in me being able to earn through work when so many in my sector haven’t had that opportunity. I’m really conscious of just how lucky I’ve been to have this opportunity,” he added.
There has been a philanthropic element to it, too. Over €3,000 has been distributed to charities since the quizzes began.“We thought that charity would be a nice way to redistribute money if we went over our target, but we’ve run quizzes where well over 50% of all takings went to charity,” said Richie.
Knowing I was taking part in a quiz with a conscience and a chilled can in hand, The Mickey Joe Harte Appreciation Society (read: just me) set off on last night’s quiz voyage.
64 questions, 8 rounds of 8, let’s get it.
I’m not an expert on anything, apart from 80s slasher movies and the music of Limp Bizkit, and quizmaster Chris was recognising teams that had played before.
I was in for a challenge, with It’s So Lonely, Lonely, Lonely, Living In Athlone, the hotly-tipped favourites among the 100+ strong field. Sure enough, I scrapped a measly 4 points out of 8 in the first round on general knowledge.
One question that threw me was “what famous Psalm starts with the verse, “The Lord Is My Shepherd?” For once, I rued being a lapsed Catholic, and answered “John 3:16” because I have vague notions of seeing it behind goalposts at GAA matches.
Losing a lead early on in football or GAA isn’t that big a deal, you can scrape it back, but in pub quizzes, the standard is upped to Olympic. You need to be averaging at least 6 out of 8 per round to be in with a shout of being among the top teams.
The second round wasn’t much better, with the theme of that round being “Where Am I” in the world. Credit where credit is due to the quiz writers, they were bloody tricky questions. I scrapped 5 out of 8 from that round.
Then I saw round 3: The Soaps.
I was dreading it; I’ve only ever watched Coronation Street passively, and the only storyline I remember is the Richard Hillman storyline from 2002. I somehow got 7 out of 8. From then on, I had a fire in my belly.
The one hit wonder round saw me net a perfect 8 out of 8, I aced the sports round, and in a testament to being a millennial, got another 8 in the 2010’s round. From 55th after round two, I dragged myself up to joint 34th. Not bad for a debut outing.
From a bad start, I brought myself up the table, like how West Ham always start poorly every year and somehow end up in 13th every season.
Overall, I got 54 out of 64 questions right, which is decent for a one-man team named after a Eurovision contestant that finished 11th.
If you’re ever at a loose end on a Tuesday or Friday night and your mates are outside your 5km limit, you could do a lot worse than teaming up for a game of TableFish.
You can donate to the TableFish folk at https://table.fish/contribute and thanks to Richie for reaching out to us.