• Top
Opinion

Opinion: Save the humble pub quiz from being gradually killed off!

Posted by Liv Siddall,

This week, Liv Siddall looks at the future of the humble pub quiz, and whether it can survive now that we all carry the infinite wisdom of the internet in our pockets.

Who doesn’t bloody love a pub quiz? For one hour a week your friends aren’t just people that let you hang around with them, you’re an indestructible team of knowledge who will stop at nothing to win the coveted pint glass full of pound coins. You’ve been handed the tag of “geography” due to your gap year experience and you believe in yourself more than you ever do in your real job. As you sip on your shandy, you scan the room to “suss out” your competitors and try to think of the wittiest quiz name since Quiz-Teama Aguilera shook things up in 2008. The bag of Scampi Fries is open and the quiz master’s testing the mic…things start to get a little. bit. tense…

Well, that’s how it should be. In 2009 a study found that there were 22,445 pub quizzes going on each week in the UK. That was the year that pretty much everyone had bought, or was planning to buy, an iPhone 3GS. People were just getting to grips with the idea that they could carry the internet, therefore infinite knowledge, around with them. Before that, it was still possible to go to a pub quiz and cheat using a phone – you could run to the toilets and text your mum, or even make a cheeky phone call to a friend outside. If you were really daring you could ask a rival team while you’re outside having a smoke.

Those tactics however were risky and didn’t always bring the correct answer, much to the displeasure of your teammates. Now, though, all you have to do is Google the answer between your legs on your phone and get it within seconds. And why not? It’s only a pub quiz, you’re not stealing from a charity shop. No one’s going to arrest you

So what are the pubs meant to do? Take your phone off you when you come in and keep them safe behind the bar? Have matron-like people patrolling the tables looking for rule-benders? That’s never going to happen.

Some pubs in London are tackling the issue creatively, for instance the Boogaloo in Highgate which uses images, film clips and soundtracks rather than simple questions for their cinema-themed quiz. The Star of Bethnal Green asks teams to use their acting skills to impersonate animals to clinch the winning prize. Your iPhone won’t help you there.

The fact of the matter is that 99% (ish) of us own web-ready phones. We are also, as a nation, rather competitive and we like to WIN. Should anyone be blamed for cheating at a pub quiz, or is it just human nature? Shall we all just use our phones from now on and let the winner be decided on who is the best at Googling the answers? I don’t know. If it means we can keep the rapidly dying-out pub quiz, and one of the best Tuesday nights you’ll ever have, then so be it.

All comments welcome below!

comments powered by Disqus
Ls-300

Posted by Liv Siddall

Liv joined It’s Nice That as an intern in 2011 and is now one of our editors. She oversees itsnicethat.com and has a particular interest in illustration, photography and music videos. She is also a regular guest and sometime host on our Studio Audience podcast.

Most Recent: Opinion View Archive

  1. Opinion-list

    This week assistant editor Maisie Skidmore asks what it is about weekly podcast Serial that has got the whole world talking. As ever, we want to hear what you think! Add your two pennies in the comment thread below.

  2. List

    This week Rob Alderson examines Paper Magazine’s attempts to “break the internet” with their nude Kim Kardashian photoshoot. He asks if it’s actually a good cover, and what (if anything) it tells us about the magazine industry. As ever you can add your thoughts below…

  3. List

    Ahead of a panel discussion we’re hosting at London College of Communication next week we’re keen to explore whether the gap between design schools and the creative industries is a problem that needs addressing. You can add your thoughts using the discussion thread below…

  4. List

    In a special Opinion piece, Rob Alderson explains why the closure of London’s Kemistry Gallery is a cause for concern, but why its ambitious future plans need to be encouraged. You can add your thoughts using the discussion thread below…

  5. Lead

    This week online editor Emily Gosling looks at who can really claim authorship of artworks created using technology designed by someone else. Who can really take the credit for art that might not be possible without the tech know-how of others?

  6. List

    This week Rob Alderson reflects on an interesting blog by Chloe Markowicz which suggests that people are ashamed to call what they do advertising. As ever you can join the debate and add your comments using the discussion thread below.

  7. Main

    Wake up! Freshers’ Week is done – all that colourful IKEA kitchenware your mum got you is nowhere to be seen and you’ve gained 478 new friends on Facebook and an awkward conversation with your home friends about who you’re actually going to Glastonbury with next year. To be honest, being a fresher usually goes on for way longer than a week. After a month or so of partying and drinking Glenn’s Vodka and Robinson’s out of tupperware bowls you wake up with a whole load of briefs to tackle and studio space and equipment to fight over. This is the START of ART SCHOOL.

  8. List

    In recent months the question of so-called spec work has been raised with us over social media in light of various design competitions we have helped promote. Off the back of that we have spent a lot of time discussing this thorny issue with various people so as to formulate a consistent approach, although the nature of these things is that each is best analysed on a case by case basis.

  9. List

    This week Rob Alderson reflects on the launch of the new Design Museum website and the strange suggestion that the redesign should have been given to a British agency rather than Dutch studio Fabrique. As ever you can add your thoughts using the comment thread below…

  10. Opinion-list

    In the wake of the launch of Printed Pages Autumn 2014, Editor James Cartwright wonders and worries about the secret of designing a great magazine cover and asks for any handy hints you might have. Do him a favour and add your thoughts in the comments section below.

  11. Main

    In light of New York Fashion Week’s main event, a star-studded play put on by Opening Ceremony entitled 100% Lost Cotton, the It’s Nice That team began to ponder their own individual dream play, and what that would look like if they were given the chance to direct it. The results are pretty weird to be honest, but you can’t deny the appeal of each and every one in its own way.

  12. Main

    This week Editor Liv Siddall addresses the world’s distraught reaction to the announcement that MSN Messenger will terminate after 15 years in operation, and wonders if we should get so nostalgic and wet-eyed over technology.

  13. Main

    This week editorial assistant Amy Lewin ponders the cultural impact of the potential England/Scotland split. As ever, feel free to leave comments below.