Quizzing as a living

July 7, 2018 § Leave a comment

Callum Train, 44, is a professional quiz master. He runs pub quizzes all over East London and probably possesses more factual titbits than all the panelists of Quite Interesting put together.

His dry humour and understated confidence get him through rowdy pub nights like a breeze as he pokes fun at punters left and right in his mild, unassuming manner.ftsf-6e3442cb-9a27-4fd3-80ab-b1d877e348d5

Callum is a member of the gig economy, surviving off whatever opportunity is granted him next. When he was made redundant at his office job four years ago, going on benefits was not an option. What was originally a light-hearted hobby became a serious job, and he now relies on five well-attended evenings a week to make ends meet.

Pub quizzes are a precious commodity in the modern age, in that they disallow the use of mobile phones and encourage good old brain-racking and face-to-face interaction. There were over 22,000 of these events every week across the UK, according to a 2009 study.

Pubs use such events to boost otherwise quiet weeknights. During the busy period of the World Cup, quiz masters like Callum have to deal with many cancellations and disinterested crowds.



July 2, 2017 § Leave a comment

I have moved on, my faithful followers, to another website. My friend Jack and I have started Atypicalpolitical.blog, and seeing as my posts were getting more and more politically centred anyway, I would like to invite everyone to follow me on there. More thought out, interesting posts, and more diversity of opinion. Folloowwww… meeee!!!

(I will still publish some personal thoughts on here. I doth still have musings that are outside the realm of grand, worldly matters.)

Victims of the modern age

January 7, 2017 § Leave a comment

I think I’ve fallen victim to some sort of intellectual breakdown.

We are living in a society of utter ignorance and ignorants.

Dare I say it? The left wing has become a parody of itself, and worse. It has reached a point where they listen to nothing, but nothing of what is said to them. A point where they stick their fingers in their ears and hum “na, na, na I’m not listening to you!” if an argument is made that may hurt .000001% of the population’s feelings. We find ourselves in an era of feelings-based politics.

I know, I know. It’s happened before and will happen again. For example, the theory of the blank slate, wherein we are all born equal and develop personalities via our environment, was disproved by E.O. Wilson many decades ago and it took years for people to stop protesting against scientists, calling them fascists and low-lifes for performing research and revealing truths that the average person simply didn’t like to hear. Wilson himself got personally attacked for developing a sound theory of evolutionary biology applied to the human species. Yes, you are perhaps genetically unintelligent if you can’t open your hearing holes and assimilate cold, hard facts when they are stated to you.
I’ll  agree that science is never set in stone and this can be your argument: you’d rather set everyone on the same starting block and ignore scientific theories that you find reductive and damaging to your cause. That would be fair enough. But no, it has to be about name-calling and denying the studies…

Watching Ben Shapiro argue his point about transgenderism maybe being a mental issue that could be worked on psychologically rather than magicked away by reassignment surgery, sat against a panel of six loudmouths without a brain between them, really struck a chord with me. It seemed to strike one with him, too, because he then made a play-by-play commentary of the “debate” where he picked up on every single detail of their distinctive lunacy.

The conservative right seems to be the new hub for progressive thinking nowadays, because the original progressive thinkers of the left have veered so far into emotional territory that they have blinded themselves to logic and science. Liberalism has become a religion, with certain untouchable “truths” based solely, and I mean solely, on faith, emotion, and some skewed sense of moralism. The simple way to see it is thus: when you are having a debate with someone, and it reaches a point where you are stating facts and they are interrupting you with name-calling, “I feel” statements, and repetition of facts that you’ve already thoroughly refuted, they lose it. And they can’t accept it, and you have to be the bigger man and move on.

Sadly we now need people like Milo Yiannopoulos and Shapiro to keep pushing healthy controversy down liberals’ unwilling throats, provoke them until they get epilepsy from blocking their ears and minds to different opinions. For every thousand easily offended leftists Yiannopoulos riles up into a Twitter frenzy, there will be maybe 200 who stop and think about what he’s actually saying – rather than accuse him unjustly of rallying an army to go and put all of those pesky minorities in concentration camps.

I was like that when I was 20. I can hear myself talking over my mother telling me that boys’ and girls’ brains are different, that we are, for example, at a disadvantage in domains like physics and mathematics. I can hear her telling me off now: “if you can’t hear your opponent out, you are no good at debating, and make no valid point whatsoever. Don’t let emotions get involved in a debate based on scientific fact.”

So I listened, and I learned. I read The Blank Slate by Steven Pinker and I learned about biologists who discovered that people were not all born equal, that sexes did indeed differ neurologically, and most importantly that these discoveries had to be kept on the down-low for all the feelings they might hurt and exclusive policies they might engender. While this is certainly a concern, why must we automatically assume that just because someone may be slightly more predisposed to academia that someone else, they should be mocked or excluded? Why assume that because women biologically have lower spatial awareness than men, that if a woman happens to be excellent at orienting herself, she should not be allowed to be a cab driver? No one on the right is suggesting that, and I think these are actually more offensive ways of thinking than whatever unsavoury secrets the science of the human brain may uncover.

There is a similar reasoning on the right. Capitalism, the system we have lived in as long as we can remember, is based on competition, healthy or otherwise. Favouring and mollycoddling certain sections of the population does not lead to progress, but instead to stagnation. It’s such a difficult debate on where to draw the line and when to assist certain people, but it must be engaged with facts and open-mindedness rather than mental blocades and baseless insults. It’s just so funny that the people who are so on board with language policing, being careful not to offend anyone, are the first to spew venom at whomsoever dares to argue against their ideology. They are in fact the most offensive of all with direct, personal insults rather than the clear, direct language that people like me are in favor of.

Look, I personally differ strongly on many points with conservatives, notably about religion and abortion, but their analytical and often irrefutable language is winning me over these days. I can’t deal with one more leftie raising their hand dramatically to their forehead and crying “ugh! I can’t believe you could say that. That is so offensive,” at the mere mention of an opinion that differs from the left-leaning mainstream media – regardless of who might be saying it and in what context. The mere concept of triggers… isn’t it a beaut? That’s exactly what it is: a trigger is pulled in a split second, completely outside of time and the realm of thought. This is the way political debates are going nowadays, and everyone has their little team of online friends who all think the same as them so that when one little rightie goes astray, he or she is certain to be demolished and bullied on the spot. It’s a team game, now, rather than a thought exercise.

It’s an intellectual breakdown, orchestrated by the media with all their phony empathy and melodrama, which really is just a distraction from the actual horrors that the West is inflicting on the rest of the world, such as war crimes in the Middle East and government torture tactics. Wake up!

Cruelty to Enamel

December 30, 2016 § Leave a comment

A wee poem I wrote prompted by the phrase “if walls had ears”. A reflection on surveillance (and the plight of sentient objects).


If walls had ears, I’d live outside.
Surely wouldn’t it defy
The whole purpose of walls
And end up being their demise?

If walls had ears, we’d hesitate
When buying a piece of real estate.
I know I would, at least
I know I want my privacy.

Now you’re wondering, I assume
What it is I’m trying to hide
What goes on in there, you pry.
Now let me make it absolutely clear
I would spew obscenities with much intensity
Before leaking any secrets in here

But wait – would they have brains, too?
‘Cause if it’s just ears, my point is moot
And do they have mouths with which to speak?
I don’t much care for abusing the weak.

With ears and minds, a sad demise
For a poor, poor wall who has to stand tall
And have no say in whoever lives there
That sentient wall will learn to care
For its well-being, and that of its ceiling
Its doors and its paint, wait – would it not suffocate?

Hold it a minute, this has gone too far.
A theme built on sheer human arrogance
I say, down with this concept and its extravagance
Pretty soon we’ll be humanising cars!

God knows they’d suffer too, if they had the tools
A brain and some eyes would suffice to prove
What slavery they’ve succumbed to under our rule
I’ve said save the birds, save the earth, save the sea
And now I’ve decided to stand up for machines!

A painful display on the Overground the other day.

December 28, 2016 § Leave a comment

I was sat in front of a down-and-out drunkard, both of us minding our own business until he suddenly perked up and tried to ask the people sitting next to him for a favour – if they could just text his daughter for him from their phone, for he had no credit to call her with. The three youngsters, all in their twenties and very cool and liberal-looking, understandably bristled in response, for he was drunk and unappealing.

After the initial lame excuse of “I don’t know how to use that phone,” (well, my friend, he’s not asking you to use it – but to text someone from your own), and as he continued to push the subject, they started getting hostile. Which sure got my heart pounding. Thubthub, thubthub. The man was a self-proclaimed Irish gypsy; not somebody you’d want to mess with. I’m illiterate, and stupid, and I’m not well, and need to contact my daughter, he shouted. He would pay them for their help, he cried, very nearly spilling his drink over the distressed young man beside him. Racists, he called them. Funnily enough, they were two black men and a white girl. It may have had something to do with that – travellers are known to be ostracised from the community. It looked to me more like fear of a violent drunk than anything else, but I did somehow enjoy seeing hip modern youths being accused of racism, a term our generation loves to throw around willy-nilly at everybody but their “open-minded” selves.

Surely in an era of tolerance and acceptance we should all be willing to help an illiterate in dire straits? Hell knows I’ve dealt with my fair share of Irish travellers, working in a pub, and they can indeed be a handful, but here was a fucked-up alcoholic who genuinely could not reach help, and his exclamations of self-deprecation softened me. I’m a gypsy, I can’t read or write, I’m fucking stupid, I’ll pay you if you text her for me.

And I could almost hear them not listening. Why don’t you text her? Whatever! Shut up. I don’t want your money. Basically, completely missing his bloody point. I hear this a lot actually: the sound of not listening. When attacked or confronted, people are driven out of their comfort zone and unfortunately with that goes two-way communication skills.

They say liberals are those
Who give sinners a second chance
They sneer at conservatives’ tough-loving policies
Who then sneer right back at the socialists’ romance

Equality for all, righteousness on call
It’s all fine words when you’re at home
The faceless masses, they need our help
Every day more pesky humans stumble out, all alone

Don’t be racist, sexist, or pro-gun
But it’s a-OK to be kinda dumb
Just hide it well until you arrive at
A real life situation with one of those bums
You keep trying to side with
Suddenly you go numb.

Think before rolling your eyes
At the crude young mum at the foodstore
It’s circumstances your society creates
That make her so irate

If you’re going to stand up for unity
Do it by standing up for the loonies
Don’t wait for them to become part of the system
For they go to phony schools, more like juvies
That produce criminals and layabouts
That we can later complain about

For the record, I put an end to my fellow commuters’ misery and texted the poor guy’s daughter, very nearly getting drooled upon in the process. “Tell her code red.” She called him promptly, giving me time to make my getaway from this slobbering, unrequited friendship and sit at the other end of the train – he was a filthy pikey, after all.

(for the record, that last sentence was sarcastic; I’m not qualified yet to make such risky jokes without a disclaimer.)

Sad, woefully inapt boys.

December 9, 2016 § Leave a comment

Again, the fun tales of being a girl behind the bar.

Sometimes I hear the thoughts inside of some boys’ minds. I call them boys because they are not apt to carry the epithet of manlihood. When one is babbling at my feet, trying out all the seduction techniques he’s clearly picked up from the Internet, I can hear his mind goblins pitter-pattering and adjusting gears whilst regulating blood flow to mediate the sexual organ before anything truly telltale happens. He will be helpful in any way possible, to the point of suffocation – and suffocation is damn hard to do when you have only met someone once. So +1 for advanced technique, but -100 for wrong technique.

He will talk to me about me and try to relate, putting on a flabby shell of seduction and thereby showing his true colors by not being himself. He will stare, then, for a while; if it works for the Jedi, why not him? I ignore the boy, then, and go about my business, and he’s probably thinking I’m playing hard-to-get now.

So it’s time for that much-decried method of negging, which apparently aims to crush a woman’s self-esteem by finding weak points and making her fragile and approachable. Needless to say, this doesn’t work on me and in fact turns me off more, which I didn’t think was possible – I was already a windowless room with the lights off, and that just makes me a coffin in the ground at midnight in a Scandinavian winter. Not only is it a transparent avowal of having read bullshit seduction techniques online, but it doesn’t make you look pleasant if you’re nasty to someone you, again, hardly know. I really don’t know what woman that one works on. Maybe if you’re really subtle, like bringing up things she wishes she could do and showing that you are better at them? Anyway, a sad attempt, but nothing compared to what’s to come.

If I have the misfortune of having to spend more time with this leech, there is no doubt that he will pounce before the night is through. I’ve been through the motions, something must be astir in that cold-hearted woman’s heart. There’s no space for questioning it. If you don’t do it now, boy, you’ll never do it. It’s like the adrenaline rush you get before running up to jump off a ten-foot-high diving board – now or you’ll be disappointed in yourself for never trying. And besides, it’s just a bit of water, you won’t die.

Unfortunately, that attitude is the wrong one to have when it comes to women, because even though we can’t kill you either, you can certainly make us extremely uncomfortable at best, or traumatise us at worst. You’re not dealing with your own personal hormonal blood rush here, but the sanity and self-preservation instinct of another person – one that has likely been through this bullshit before. If you’re lucky, she is like me and far too considerate: she will push you away and shake her head with an internal eyeroll. If the world is just, however, you’ll try your final, pernicious move on a girl with no patience and a lot of pent-up energy. She will either elbow you in your pretty little boyish face or speak up and humiliate you if people are around. She will not let you forget your stupid sexual attack on a clearly unwilling human being, clearly being the key word here, if only you’d paid attention to body language class in the womb like most adults.

Can’t stand boys. Bring on the men.

Self-help nonsense.

December 5, 2016 § Leave a comment

Hows about some poetry? On the magic of self-help.

These self-help geniuses in turtlenecks
They really think they are the best
Crowds of women in their seats
Try to put their minds at rest.

Tai chi, dance, pilates and yoga
Stick to the lifestyle like a soldier
But city life’s not made for unwinding
Or enjoying it at all
Living here is getting older
Rushing ahead of the crystal ball.

“So to find out which way you swing,
You simply must think of five things:
Who you are, what you do;
whom for, whence from, where to.
And when I snap my sweaty fingers
You will know the ugly truth
No matter who you think is you
That dreaded feeling ever lingers.”

They don’t say that, though, you see
Or one may just get up and leave
If it’s all in my hands, what am I paying for?
Give me results or I’ll walk right out the door.