When I began my quiz career, the first quiz I supplied the questions for was a pub called the Greyhound in Hendon, next to the farmhouse Museum as was. The farmhouse was run by Gerry Roots, son of the Civil War historian Ivan. Gerry was a regular attender at the quiz, along with his Australian antique dealer friend Barry. I was a regular player and one night I agreed to write a quiz for the pub.
A packed pub, a good quiz, question papers swapped and marked by other teams. At the end of the quiz one young team appeared to have won the quiz by some distance. The papers were handed back to me and I read the results. I noticed that the winning team had a very scruffy paper: lots of crossings out, different handwriting…
I was a beginner in the question master role. Our antique dealer Barry, never one to holdback on his opinions marched over to the winning team and called them ******** cheats. Insults were exchanged, it is a long time ago but I think no one was hurt. It transpired afterwards that the winning team had swapped papers with another young team who appeared to know each other, they certainly left the pub together.
Occupation of the two teams… Police Cadets at Hendon Police Training College.
Few people shuffling past the wax figure of Woody Allen in the New York Madam Tussaud’s exhibit will give much thought to his trousers. The gold-coloured thick corduroy seems appropriate; they could be a pair provided by the great man himself. But before their retirement to West 42nd Street, the trousers had led a full life of their own, here, in London.
The trousers were bought – for me – in a branch of The Gap in 1998. I think we went for the gold colour as, at the time, it was a little unusual. I became rather fond of them. They had that most redeeming feature of a trouser – they were comfortable. I wore them rather more than I should, which is where they got their ‘lived-in’ appearance. When my first child was born, they were the chosen attire in the dash to the hospital.
Like many clothes, the cords somehow fell out of use. They probably got buried under a half dozen pairs of jeans. So, when Mr Allen suddenly – somewhat out of the blue – offered me the sum of £75 for them one day, I accepted. I think we paid less than that for them when they were new.
Well OK, I made that last bit up – mostly. In the late 1990s my wife worked as a costume designer for Tussaud’s, dressing most of the figures in the original New York exhibition that was unveiled in 2000. She was struggling to find suitable items for the Allen figure, when she happened upon the trousers in our cupboard. And that’s how they started their journey to New York. Hopefully I’ll be able to update this post with a photo of my daughter next to the trousers, and Mr. Allen, in the near future.