Pubs began introducing quiz machines where you could win money by answering general knowledge questions.I was soon completely addicted to them because i found i could answer the questions quite easily and could have a free night down the pub whenever i liked. The local pub landlords grew to hate me as i went further and further afield in search of quiz machines.One night i started in the Phipps Arms at Westbury Leigh and went on to The Hollies,The Royal Oak, The Castle, The Angel, The Horse And Groom,The White Lion, The Ludlow and The Crown. When i emptied my pockets that night i found i had £78 in £ coins.It weighed a ton.Brilliant.I mean, what other way could you go out at night and come home 3 hours later, smelling of drink and have seventy quid in your pocket? Dont tell me.
The Landlord of The Horse And Groom Rod Decided to use my talent to his advantage and asked me to be captain of the pub quiz team.In our first season we won the Trowbridge and District League and my fame grew in leaps and bounds.I felt really brainy. Then one night in the pub my mate Dave said i should go on Fifteen To One.This was a popular afternoon TV show which was a forerunner of The Weakest Link and at its peak had an audience of 4,000,000.It was very popular with pensioners, students and the unemployed.In a burst of egotism i sent off an application form and was invited to an audition in Bristol.Two weeks later i received a letter inviting me onto the show.I had been on the telly before,i was in the congregation on Songs Of Praise several years earlier( I'll tell you about that some other time) This was different though, this was going to make me famous! Everybody i met i told that i was going to be on the telly and to make sure they watched.
Next morning i was suffering with a really bad reality attack and all my bravado had gone out the window. I didn't feel brainy any more,i felt like a stupid scruffy lowlife.At the studio we drew lots and i was to be number 8.Then we were led into the place with the cameras and the genial host William G Stewart.I felt like i was about to be executed.The floor manager said,"One minute to recording" and i seemed to lose all control over my body, my right leg suddenly started shaking uncontrollably.William started asking the questions and everybody was coming up with the right answer.
I stood there looking at him like a dumb moron,then i realised what he was asking and i thought "Thats parallel,surely he wouldn't ask a question that easy".The buzzer went before i could blurt it out and William said,"The answer is parallel".
A couple of minutes later William returned and asked me who wrote the music for the film Brigadoon,i didn't know but i was in such a state i didn't care who wrote the music for fecking Brigadoon.I answered ,"Rogers and Hammerstein",in a sort of high pitched squeak, just to say something."The answer is Lerner and Loewe",said William smugly,and i was out. My entire TV appearance was about 14 seconds. I hoped against hope that nobody i knew would watch the bloody programme but of course they all did.For about a year afterwards i was known around town as Parallel Pat.People came up to me in the pub and said things like"Sorry i didn't see you on the telly,i blinked and missed, it" that sort of thing.Just when people were beginning to forget about it,the TV company went and repeated it the following summer and the piss-taking started all over again.I lost all interest in quizzes and licked my wounds for 5 long years.As they say though,revenge is a meal best eaten cold and i was to get my revenge in the sweetest possible way.
Five Years Later........
Five long years had past since my disasterous TV appearance.Then in 1999 they announced that if you hadn't appeared on the programme for 5 years you could apply again.
"I've gotta go back",I announced to Kim.
"London,i've got some unfinished business with William"
Once more i set off for London,
"Go get 'em Floyd",Said Kim,"Go kick some ass"
The stakes had never been higher,if i messed up this time i faced total humiliation but as they say 'Who Dares Wins'
This time i was number 5.As William came along the line asking the questions my leg started its familiar jig, but this time i was grimly determined.Finally William got to me,
"When Britain joined the EU in 1974 which two other countries joined at the same time?"
"Ireland and er um Denmark"
"Thank you god", i breathed a sigh of relief. Two minutes later William was back with my second question.
"Dancer Michael Flatley became famous in which musical show?"
Easy peasy "Riverdance".
Brilliant! i was into round 2 and had all my lives intact.In round 2 if you got your answer right you could nominate one of your opponents to answer the next question.This is where it got dirty. I soon got nominated.
"Such is life" is reputed to be the last words of which Australian outlaw?"
Then i went on a killing spree, one by one my opponents were going down like skittles,i was enjoying this.After a few minutes there were 12 down 3 to go and i suddenly found myself in the final.My two rivals in the final were a lady who worked at Tesco's and a lad from Galway called Brendan who had only entered so he could visit his brother in London for free.At the beginning of Part 2 you had to smile at the camera while they told the viewers all about you.'Pat lives in WestburyWiltshire,he enjoys reading and music particularly Van Morrison and he supports Peterborough United football club'.Then it was into battle.I got my first 2 questions wrong and only had one life left so the other two kept nominating me to try and kill me off.I held my nerve though and i answered 13 questions in a row correctly.The others started to get their answers wrong and i was fighting back.The Tesco lady was the first to crack and she was out.'Get your coat.' Then finally Brendan lost his last life and i had won. I scored 113 points and the 13th highest score in the series so far.
We had a big party in the pub to watch my glorious win and i had a cake with 15 candles and i blew out 14 of them.