Christmas quiz 2007

In 2007, who was an "exploding tomato", what did Congleton ban and to whom did Boris Johnson apologi

Politics

1 When asked in July, which of these cabinet ministers denied smoking cannabis in their youth?

a) Jack Straw

b) Harriet Harman

c) Jacqui Smith

d) Alistair Darling

2 Prime Minister Gordon Brown became an honorary Hindu during a ceremony marking the festival of Diwali this year, adopting the first name Govardhan. What does it mean in Sanskrit?

a) Warrior charioteer

b) Beautiful lotus flower

c) Hill in paradise

d) Attractive, charming servant

3 Which city did the Tory MP Boris Johnson annoy by claiming that it was "too full of drugs, obesity, underachievement and Labour MPs"?

a) Liverpool

b) Birmingham

c) Bristol

d) Portsmouth

4 Which of the following was one of the great or considerable "achievements" with which David Cameron did not credit Tony Blair on his leaving office?

a) Peace in Northern Ireland

b) Overthrowing Saddam Hussein

c) His work in the developing world

d) Serving as prime minister for ten years

5 How many houses does the Liberal Democrat leadership candidate Chris Huhne own?

a) Two b) Three c) Five d) Seven

In the news

1 The panic-induced run on Northern Rock was the first seen in Britain since the collapse of which wholesale bank in 1866 with £11m in debts?

a) Fox Brother, Fowler & Co

b) Cunliffe, Brooks & Co

c) Backhouse's Bank

d) Overend, Gurney & Co

2 Under what more popular name did "catarrhal fever" hit the news headlines?

a) Avian flu

b) Bluetongue disease

c) Foot-and-mouth disease

d) Classical swine fever

3 What seemingly harmless activity did the hospital in the town of Congleton ban as a health and safety hazard in September?

a) Doing crosswords and sudoku

b) Watching TV

c) Knitting

d) Playing cards

4 The police identified 169 separate what in London?

a) Crime-free streets

b) Corrupt members of the force

c) Illegal gun-dealers

d) Gangs

5 Moira Cameron became the first woman to take up which job?

a) Postmaster General

b) Yeoman of the Guard

c) Voice of the speaking clock

d) Venetian gondolier

Online and technology

1 Full-scale production of the XO-1 began in November. What is it?

a) Boeing's newest airliner

b) The "$100 laptop"

c) Jaguar's next concept car

d) Nintendo's latest games console

2 Having discounted the device by $200, what did Apple offer in order to placate purchasers of the full-price iPhone ten weeks after its US launch in April?

a) An announcement saying, "Ha! Got you suckers!"

b) A full apology

c) $100 voucher

d) Free iTouch

3 Which Japanese corporation launched the world's largest commercial LCD TV, a 900lb, 108in monster?

a) Toshiba b) Sanyo

c) Sharp d) Sony

4 Microsoft revealed that which feature in its new operating system, Vista, can be hijacked so a PC tells itself to delete files?

a) Speech recognition

b) Back-up and restore

c) Shadow copy

d) Disk management

5 Which Facebook founder was taken to court, having been accused of stealing both the idea and business angle of the social networking website from a rival?

a) Thomas Anderson

b) Michael Birch

c) Noah Glass

d) Mark Zuckerberg

Books

1 It was revealed that the bricklayer David Sharp, who had been given up for adoption during the Second World War, was the long-lost brother of which novelist?

a) Ian McEwan

b) Philip Pullman

c) Julian Barnes

d) Graham Swift

2 Which poet's hip flask fetched £7,200 at auction, about ten times its expected price?

a) Robert Burns

b) Sylvia Plath

c) Dylan Thomas

d) Lord Byron

3 What was the name of the J R R Tolkien book completed by his son Christopher and published in 2007?

a) The Children of Húrin

b) The Stones of Osgiliath

c) The Kings of Valinor

d) The House of Turgon

4 Who belatedly won the Literary Review Bad Sex in Fiction Award for his description of oral sex in his final novel?

a) Norman Mailer

b) Kurt Vonnegut

c) Ira Levin

d) Sidney Sheldon

5 What were Doris Lessing's very first words on being informed that she had won the 2007 Nobel Prize in Literature?

a) "Oh Christ"

b) "Can I get the groceries out of the taxi first?"

c) "Bloody hell"

d) "It's about time"

International affairs

1 Yahya Jammeh claims he can cure Aids and HIV with a natural herb infusion. Nobody would listen to him if he were not the president of which African country?

a) Senegal

b) Cameroon

c) Benin

d) Gambia

2 The then president of the World Bank, Paul Wolfowitz, was cited for which sartorial faux pas on a visit to Turkey?

a) Wearing short sleeves with a tie

b) His socks had holes in them

c) His flies were undone

d) Unidentifiable stains on his tie

3 Fifteen sailors from which Royal Navy ship were taken captive by Iranian forces?

a) HMS Exeter

b) HMS Devon

c) HMS Kent

d) HMS Cornwall

4 What became the 23rd official language of the European Union in January?

a) Basque/Euskara

b) Breton

c) Irish

d) Esperanto

5 Promising a "citizens' revolution", Rafael Correa was sworn in as the president of which country?

a) Peru

b) El Salvador

c) Ecuador

d) Uruguay

Television

1 A September edition of whose Sunday TV show, Aló Presidente, lasted a record eight hours?

a) Nestor Kirchner

b) Fidel Castro

c) Daniel Ortega

d) Hugo Chávez

2 On Ugly Betty, who performed maid-of-honour duties at the wedding of Wilhelmina Slater and Bradford Meade?

a) Lindsay Lohan

b) Victoria Beckham

c) Paris Hilton

d) Mischa Barton

3 The Catholic organisation Opus Dei complained about its portrayal in which BBC TV drama series?

a) Spooks

b) Waking the Dead

c) Doctor Who

d) The State Within

4 Describing himself as resembling "an exploding tomato", which Panorama journalist lost his temper and shouted at a representative of the Scientologists in a widely disseminated video clip?

a) Paul Kenyon

b) Raphael Rowe

c) John Sweeney

d) Peter Taylor

5 Which Cumbrian town became the first place in the UK to lose its analogue television signals and start the digital switch-over in October?

a) Whitehaven

b) Ulverston

c) Thursby

d) Kendal

Arts

1 Which Woody Allen movie shares its title with the Turner Prize-winning film by Mark Wallinger in which he wanders around a deserted Berlin gallery wearing a bear costume?

a) Love and Death

b) Interiors

c) Sweet and Lowdown

d) Sleeper

2 Which acclaimed film director made a tricky transition to opera with her ENO production of Carmen?

a) Beeban Kidron

b) Sally Potter

c) Carine Adler

d) Antonia Bird

3 Which Hollywood film was condemned by the Iranian government spokesman Gholamhossein Elham as a sign of "hostile behaviour, which is the result of cultural and psychological warfare" being waged by the US?

a) Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

b) Transformers

c) Norbit

d) 300

4 The people of Israel voted overwhelmingly for a song about which subject to be their Eurovision Song Contest entry?

a) Nuclear annihilation

b) Palestinian invasion

c) West Bank barrier

d) Suicide bombings

5 Martin Scorsese finally won a Best Director Oscar for helming The Departed. How many times had he previously gone home empty-handed from the Academy Awards?

a) Four b) Five c) Six d) Seven

Fashion and style

1 How much would a Louis Vuitton Tribute Patchwork Bag, released in March, set you back?

a) £19,129

b) £21,675

c) £23,484

d) £25,232

2 What two-word name was given to the 2007 fashion trend, adopted by Versace and Alexander McQueen, that involves wearing tight high-waisted trousers and skintight minidresses?

a) Tight couture

b) Fit wear

c) Body con

d) Squeeze dress

3 Known as the British Chanel, which brand shut up shop completely with the end of its closing sale on 20 April?

a) Jean Muir

b) Mary Quant

c) Celia Birtwell

d) Barbara Hulanicki

4 Perhaps surprisingly, Victoria Beckham was confirmed as the new face of which American designer's spring/summer 2008 ad campaign?

a) Calvin Klein

b) Tommy Hilfiger

c) Tom Ford

d) Marc Jacobs

Climate change

1 On which US TV show did the 2007 Nobel Peace Prizewinner Al Gore mock himself, saying: "Quiet! A whale is in trouble! I have to go!"?

a) 30 Rock

b) The Late Show With David Letterman

c) Curb Your Enthusiasm

d) Scrubs

2 From March until June, Mayor Ken Livingstone offered £100 cashback to Londoners if they did what?

a) Not fly for one year

b) Instal insulation in their homes

c) Give up their car for public transport

d) Replace all their inefficient light bulbs with energy-saving ones

3 Scientists working with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change claimed in February that human activity was likely to increase global temperatures by what best-estimate range over the next century?

a) 0.5-2.2°C

b) 1.8-4°C

c) 2.5-4.7°C

d) 3-5.2°C

4 Though aides briefed the media that he was preparing to exchange his car for a Toyota Prius, Gordon Brown instead chose a 4.2-litre model of which car that happens to fall into the government's worst emissions band?

a) Jaguar XJ V8

b) Rolls-Royce Phantom

c) BMW 7 Series

d) Aston Martin DBS V12

5 In March, meteorologists said that which major city had had its first winter without snow since records began in 1876?

a) Beijing

b) Seoul

c) Pyongyang

d) Tokyo

Media

1 Described by one holidaymaker as "every swimmer's worst nightmare", the video footage of the great white shark splashed across the Sun's front page on 28 July was filmed not in Cornwall, but where?

a) Australia

b) Florida

c) Mexico

d) South Africa

2 Conrad Black was found guilty in July on four out of 13 charges laid against him. On which of the following charges was he declared guilty?

a) Mail fraud

b) Racketeering

c) Money laundering

d) Wire fraud

3 Which writer branded the BBC a "racist institution" during a radio interview?

a) Paul Abbott

b) Jimmy McGovern

c) Alan Bleasdale

d) Stephen Poliakoff

4 Rupert Murdoch took over control of Dow Jones and the Wall Street Journal from which family?

a) The Millers

b) The Grahams

c) The Woodwards

d) The Bancrofts

5 Which former Wimbledon footballer-turned-private-investigator was jailed along with the News of the World's royal editor Clive Goodman for his part in the royal household phone-tapping scandal?

a) Jonathan Atkinson

b) Damien Griffin

c) Glenn Mulcaire

d) Paul McAllister

Sport

1 Which England player was disallowed a "phantom try" in the rugby union World Cup, though he claimed he was "100 per cent sure" that he had grounded the ball without going into touch?

a) Jason Robinson

b) Paul Sackey

c) Mark Cueto

d) Mathew Tait

2 At which world championships - held 29 March to 1 April - did Great Britain top the medals table with seven gold medals?

a) Swimming

b) Rowing

c) Amateur boxing

d) Track cycling

3 Why did Björn Borg pull out of an exhibition match with Pat Cash at the Liverpool International Tennis Tournament in June?

a) He dropped a jar of pickled herring on his right foot

b) Bitten by a dog

c) Stage fright

d) He missed his plane

4 What verdict was returned by the coroner Patrick Murphy in November with regard to the death of the Pakistani coach Bob Woolmer during this year's Cricket World Cup?

a) Natural causes

b) Unlawful killing

c) Open verdict

d) Death by misadventure

5 Which female tennis player won the Australian Open despite being ranked 81st in the world?

a) Serena Williams

b) Jelena Jankovic

c) Lindsay Davenport

d) Daniela Hantuchova

Compiled by Olav Bjortomt With illustrations by Dan Murrell

The Answers

Check the answers here

This article first appeared in the 17 December 2007 issue of the New Statesman, Christmas and New Year special 2007

Martin O’Neill for New Statesman
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1966 and all that

A year of World Cup glory, meeting Paul McCartney and eating placenta.

Fifty years ago this Saturday, on 30 July 1966, I was at Wembley. I have my ticket and my programme to prove it. I also have my 1966 ­diary, which I am looking at now. I was 30, weighed ten stone and eight pounds, and my waist was 32 inches – about as hard to believe now as England winning another World Cup final.

I am still in the same house, all these decades later, but my telephone number then was GUL 4685. GUL was short for Gulliver, I can’t remember why. In my list of contacts at the end of my diary is Melvyn Bragg, who was another recent arrival in London from Cumbria, like myself and my wife, on PRO 0790. PRO stood for Prospect, I think, which was the exchange name for somewhere over the river, possibly Kew.

My office number was TER 1234. I always thought that was a great and memorable number. It’s only now, thinking about it, that I realise that TER – meaning Terminus –
probably related to King’s Cross, which the Sunday Times was near in those days.

At the top of the charts in July 1966 were the Kinks with “Sunny Afternoon”, which I can well remember, as it was so ironically chirpy, and Georgie Fame with “Getaway”. I liked Georgie Fame – low-key, cool – but I can’t remember that tune. Both were replaced in August by the Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine”/“Eleanor Rigby”.

My day job in July 1966, on the Sunday Times staff, was writing the Atticus column. It still exists, but in a smaller, more skittery format. Previous incumbents included Ian Fleming, John Buchan and Sacheverell Sitwell, who was reputed to have got free Mateus rosé for life after giving the wine its first mention in an English newspaper.

I had been on the paper since 1960, after spending two years as a so-called graduate trainee journalist, mainly in Manchester, which was a laugh. There was no training and there were no lessons in law. You had a mentor for a few weeks and then you got on with it.

In my first few years as the boy on Atticus, I never had my name in the paper. I had to write dreary paragraphs about who might be our next man in Washington, or the bishop of London, or the master of Balliol, as if I cared. I wanted to write about footballers, gritty northern novelists, pop stars.

When I started at the Sunday Times, I felt for a while that people were prejudiced against me, because I was northern and working class and had gone to grammar school and a provincial university (Durham). Everyone else seemed to have been at Oxbridge and gone to public school.

But this prejudice was all in my head, imagined, just as it had been when I used to go from Durham to visit my girlfriend, Margaret – whom I married in 1960 – at Oxford. I was convinced that some of her posh friends were being condescending ­towards me. Total nonsense, but I had a chip on my shoulder for some years. Gone, all gone, just like my 32-inch waist. (I am now 12 stone and the new shorts I bought last week have a 38-inch waist. Oh, the horror.) If anything, these past 50 years, any prejudice has been in my favour.

Harold Wilson was the prime minister in 1966. His northern accent was even stronger than mine. I still have a letter from him, dated 21 March 1963, after I interviewed him for Atticus. In the letter, he ­describes the 1938 FA Cup final in which Preston beat Huddersfield Town 1-0, scoring in the last minute of extra time. At the bottom of the page, in handwriting, he’d added: “after hitting the crossbar”.

What I remember most about the interview was George Brown, who was deputy to
Wilson as Labour leader at the time, hanging around outside his office, drunk. Marcia Williams, Wilson’s secretary, was going around tut-tutting, making faces, complaining about George. I thought she shouldn’t have done, not in front of me, as I was a total stranger and a hack. (I don’t think we called ourselves hacks in those days, which is the normal, half-ironic self-description today.)

Harold was a football man and also a real know-all, forever boasting about his memory for facts and figures. The contents of this letter illustrate both aspects of his character. It led me later to collect a letter or autograph from every prime minister, going back to Robert Walpole. Only took me ten years.

There is a myth that England’s 1966 win helped Labour stay in power – which does not quite stand up. The general election was in March – four months before the final. But Wilson did milk England’s victory, identifying himself and the nation with our English champions.

It is possible that the reverse effect happened in 1970, when Wilson was chucked out and Edward Heath came in. England’s defeat at the 1970 World Cup by West Germany was just four days before the June general election.

***

I got my ticket for the 1966 World Cup final – for one of the best seats, priced at £5 – from my friend James Bredin, now dead, who was the boss of Border Television. Based in Carlisle, Border covered the Scottish Borders and the Isle of Man. It was a thriving, thrusting regional ITV station, now also deceased.

James’s chauffeur came to pick me up and waited for us after the match, a sign of the importance and affluence of even minor ITV stations. Border contributed quite a bit to the network, such as Mr and Mrs, starring Derek Batey, who presented 450 editions of this very popular national show. Batey was a local lad who started his show business life as an amateur ventriloquist in the little market town of Brampton, Cumbria, before becoming Carlisle’s Mr Show Business. He was so polished – lush hair, shiny suits, so starry, so glittery – that I always wondered why he was not in London, in the West End.

Border TV also produced some excellent documentaries that were networked across the ITV region, two of which I presented. One was about walking along Hadrian’s Wall and the other was about George Stephenson. For a while in the 1970s, I began to think I was going to become a TV presenter, despite being not much good. I was lousy at acting, which you need for television, and disliked asking questions to which I already knew the answers. And it took so much time. For each programme, we spent eight weeks on location with a crew of eight, just to make a one-hour documentary. Now they
do docs in a week with just two people.

For half an hour, I also imagined that I was going to become a playwright. In 1967, I had a play in the BBC’s Wednesday Play slot, awfully prestigious at the time, called The Playground. It was one of those shows that were filmed live and then wiped, so I have never seen it since, nor has anybody else. I blamed that for blighting my playwriting career, though till I was looking in my 1966 diary and saw that I was working on that play, I’d forgotten about its existence. As we go through life, we forget all the paths not trodden.

I’ve boasted endlessly about being at the 1966 Wembley final, and it was so exciting, but I can’t remember many of the details. I must have been aware of Geoff Hurst’s second goal being a bit dodgy, as there were loud complaints from the German fans, but as Sir Geoff, as he then wasn’t, went on to score a third goal, it didn’t really matter. At the time, I considered that the England-Portugal semi-final had been a better game, with our Bobby Charlton scoring two goals against one from Eusebio, but of course winning a final is winning a final and the excitement and the patriotic pride continued for weeks and months. We felt as if it had been our right to win – after all, did we not give the game to the world, lay down the first rules, show all those foreigners how to play our game?

The result was that we usually ignored all the new ideas and developments that were emerging from Europe and South America, carrying on with our old ways, stuffing our faces with steak before a game and knocking back six pints afterwards, a bit like Alf Tupper in the Rover comic. He lived on fish and chips, but on the race track he could beat anyone.

Those funny Continental players started playing in funny lightweight boots, more like slippers or ballet shoes, which seemed barmy to us. How we scoffed. How can you play properly, far less kick someone properly, unless your ankles are encased in hard leather as tough as steel? Who cared if they weighed a ton, especially in wet weather? We Brits were tough.

The top First Division stars of 1966 earned about £200 a week, including bonuses, and lived in £20,000 houses, semi-detached, on new estates with Tudor overtones. The top players drove Jaguars. But most were lucky to afford a Ford Cortina. I had one myself for a while. Awfully smart, or so I thought at the time.

Their basic wages were little more than double that of the best-paid working men, such as a foreman bricklayer or a successful plumber. Their neighbours on their estates were bank mangers or salesmen, a higher scale socially than their own background, but still fairly modest. Not like today. Footballers don’t even have neighbours any more. They are cocooned in their own gated mansions, with personal staff, gardeners, nannies, accountants, lawyers, agents.

Yet despite their modest lifestyles in those days, there were celebrity players, such as Bobby Moore, Bobby Charlton and, before them, Billy Wright, all household names, loved and admired, recognised everywhere.

None of them had an agent in 1966. The nearest thing to it was the system that operated if a team got to the FA Cup final. They would then agree to divvy up the peripheral proceeds, such as money from giving newspaper interviews, posing for staged corny photographs, opening shops, or selling their spare tickets to touts (which they were not supposed to do). They’d appoint some dodgy friend of one of the senior players to arrange the deals and collect the monies for them. Times, they always change. Otherwise, what’s the point, eh?

***

In 1966, two big events occurred in my personal life. In May that year, my son, Jake, was born – at home, in what is now our kitchen. He arrived so quickly that the midwife hadn’t turned up yet and he emerged with the cord twisted around his neck. I managed to untie it, which I have maintained since kept him alive (a trick I had learned at fathers’ classes).

Fathers’ classes – wow, what a novelty that was in the 1960s. Who says we were all chauvinist pigs back then? (Today’s young, female star writers at the New Statesman, probably.) I attended my first ones, at the Royal Free Hospital in 1964, when our firstborn, Caitlin, was about to arrive. I remember immediately thinking when the invite came that I would get 1,000 words out of this – which I did, for the Sunday Times women’s pages.

Also at those first-ever fathers’ classes at the Royal Free was a young BBC producer whose wife was also about to give birth: Wilfred De’Ath. He, too, was desperate to get a piece out of it. (He now writes occasionally for the Oldie, and he appears to be down and out and living in France.)

After Jake’s birth, I got the midwife to give me the placenta and I ate it, fried with onions. Tasted like liver. Another 1,000 words.

The other event of note in my ever-so-exciting life in 1966 was meeting Paul McCartney. When “Eleanor Rigby” came out, I thought the words – not just the tune – were so wonderful. Possibly the best poetry of the year, I said, as if I knew anything about poetry. I went to see him for Atticus in his new house in St John’s Wood, which he still has, being a very conservative feller. I talked to him about the background to the lyrics, as opposed to his hair, which interviewers were still asking him about.

A few months later, at the end of 1966, I went to see him again, wearing a different cap, as a screenwriter. I’d had a novel published the previous year, Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush, which was being made into a film, with Clive Donner directing. We went to see Paul at his house and discussed with him if he would do the theme tune. He turned us down in the end but it was while I was with him that I suggested that there should be a proper biography of the Beatles. He said Brian (Epstein, the band’s manager) would have to agree – and there and then sat me down and helped me write a suitable arse-licking letter to him.

I eventually saw Brian, after several cancellations, at his home in Belgravia and he played me the acetate of “Strawberry Fields Forever”. I was astounded. It seemed to break every rule of what was then considered pop music. I wondered if all Beatles fans
would take to it. But I could see that it was amazing and perhaps the Beatles weren’t finished, which was what some people were saying in 1966. At my publisher, Heinemann, which paid me £3,000 for the book, there was one director who maintained the Beatles bubble was about to burst.

Brian agreed to my project and offered a clause in the contract that we had not requested or even thought of. He said he would not give any other writer access to the Beatles for two years after my book came out. This was 1966. The book came out in 1968. Two years later, in 1970, the Beatles were no more. Without realising it at the time, I became the only authorised ­biographer of the Beatles.

***

So, 1966, a big year for me, so glad I kept that diary, and also a big year for the nation. I thought at the time that the Beatles were bound to fade, eventually, while England surely would dominate world football from now on. After their humbling by Iceland at this year’s World Cup, I now realise that England will never win the World Cup again in my life, what’s left of it. And probably not even another game.

The only way to rationalise it is to tell ourselves that we are ahead of the game. We are rubbish, but in turn it will happen to all the other so-called advanced nations.

You could say Brexit is a bit like that. We are ahead of the other leading European nations in going it alone, even though it is depressing and awful and shameful. We are advanced in wilfully turning ourselves into a rubbish nation. We are leading the way, as ever. Inger-land, Inger-land.

Hunter Davies’s memoir of the postwar years, “The Co-op’s Got Bananas!” (Simon & Schuster), was published in April, followed by “Lakeland: a Personal Journal” (Head of Zeus). His final book on the Fab Four, “The Beatles Book” (Ebury), will be published on 1 September

Hunter Davies is a journalist, broadcaster and profilic author perhaps best known for writing about the Beatles. He is an ardent Tottenham fan and writes a regular column on football for the New Statesman.

This article first appeared in the 28 July 2016 issue of the New Statesman, Summer Double Issue