Because the questions are more likely to be about One Direction or Justin Beiber (about whom I know absolutely nothing) than The Who, I tend to shy away from pop quizzes when they crop up in my neighbourhood social life these days. Those few local friends who know a bit about my background tend to assume that it’ll be a big bonus having me on a pop quiz team, only to find out that I’m really hopeless answering questions on what passes for 21st century ‘pop’ culture, boy and girl bands, TV talent show winners and those I tend to regard now as children’s entertainers.
So it gives me great pleasure to recall the occasion some years ago when I attended the annual Albury Sports Club dinner, held in a gigantic marquee on Albury Heath where my son Sam used to play his football, for it was here that my prodigious knowledge of rock won me a magnum of champagne which I shared with all the other mums and dads of the boys who played for Albury Eagles Under-14 side.
The competition took the form of ‘dead or alive’ questions. About 300 people in this marquee took part, and stood up at their tables. Names of rock stars were then read out through the PA. If the rock star was alive you put your hands on your head, if he or she was dead you put them on your bum. If you got it wrong you sat down. This was easy-peasy for me and at first I told the others around my table how to answer. Five minutes into the game and everyone on our table had realised that for some strange reason Sam’s dad got it right every time. We were all standing at our table while all around us people were sitting down. So Kate, the coach’s wife, told me not to tell everyone the answers, and so those at our table began to sit down, eventually all bar me.
And so it went on until only two of us were left standing in the entire room, me and another chap on another table. As finalists we were invited on to the dance floor where more names were read out (amongst them Moonie – well, I ask you!) and we kept getting them right again and again until the DJ just decided it was a dead heat and gave us a magnum each.
When I got back to our table everyone wanted to know how come I knew all this, so I explained, and for the rest of the night these friends with whom I cheered on our boys from the touchline every Saturday morning quizzed me about the rock biz. They hadn’t a clue about my past because it’s not something you talk about during football games. Now they all knew. Yes, I did meet John Lennon. Yes, I did go on tour with Led Zeppelin (one of the dads turned out to a bit of a Zep fan). Yes, I did know Keith Moon.
The champagne gave me a mega-headache next morning but for once – and only once – my rock knowledge proved useful after all.