How long have you been on FunTrivia and for how long have you been a Moderator?
I’ve been on FT since December 5th 2003 and was quite happy at the time to play the quizzes and join in some of the chats. In April of 2004 I thought I would like to take a more active role and approached the, then, head moderator about taking over the job of modding the Animals board. At that time moderators looked after specific boards and Animals didn’t seem to be too difficult. I took over as Head Moderator in November 2007. When you first found FunTrivia, what were you looking for and what impressed you the most to keep coming back to the site?
When I first stumbled on FT I was looking for an answer to a question that my wife asked whilst we were watching a TV programme. I was immediately impressed by the layout and the simplicity of use. There weren’t quite so many features then and everything was easily accessible from the front page. I also liked the fact that the site was contributor led and didn’t just pull random stuff off the net. I was already a quiz fanatic, so I immediately felt at home. How would you describe what it's like being a Moderator?
Like putting your head in a blender and pressing ‘pulse’
Seriously though, it’s like a cross between a policeman and a counsellor. You need to be certain what the site rules are and make sure that everyone abides by them whilst still having a good time. There are times when you have to wave the big stick and there are times when a quiet word is more appropriate. It takes time to know when it is the right situation for each. A certain amount of discretion is also needed at times. There is a fine line between moderation and despotism. How would you describe the area you live in, urban, rural or semi-rural. What are the advantages and disadvantages of the area you live in?
The area I now live is very rural. To the average Brit that means there are no large towns within a 10 minute drive and there are plenty of green spaces all around. We are surrounded by farmland. Apart from a short period in my life I have never lived close to a large town, I’m a country boy at heart. It’s usually fairly quiet where I live with little traffic apart from the main road which links two market towns about six miles either side of us. One disadvantage of living in such a place is the lack of decent public transport, you need to own a car if you want to go anywhere after six in the evening. You also need a car to do anything other than basic shopping. It’s not too bad once you get used to it. You mention Bosworth Field in your profile, what is the area like in modern times and would there be a lot of tourists around the area you grew up?
The site of the battle is about two miles outside of the small town of Market Bosworth where I was actually born. The battlefield is largely preserved with a visitor centre and signed walks so you can have a leisurely stroll and imagine what you would have seen that August day in 1485. The tourist activity is steady, but not overwhelming. The town makes the most of its association with the battle by having banners and shields bearing the insignia of most of the noble families that took part hanging from poles around the market square.
Thirteen miles to the east is Leicester, inhabited since before the Roman occupation. There are several references to the battle and King Richard if you know where to look. During your time with the RAF which countries did you travel to, which one was the most different from what you expected and which was your favorite country to visit?
When I first joined the RAF the trade I was in didn’t travel much, I was a radar engineer on the long range radars the only really looked eastwards. I could tell you more, but then I’d have to shoot you. Later I changed trades to become a firefighter. This gave more opportunity to travel as every base in the world needs firefighters. The only countries I actually got to see were Germany, Cyprus and Malta. Germany I already knew from childhood holidays. I didn’t get to see much of Cyprus because I wasn’t there for long and it was during the time that the island was splitting up politically. We were more concerned with evacuating families and tourists to go sightseeing. Malta I knew very little of before I got there so I didn’t know what to expect. At that time it was like a cross between Europe and North Africa. I soon became very fond of the people and the island itself. As well as being a Moderator I see that you are part of a team, what are you favorite aspects of being on the team you are on?
The team I am part of, the Joliettes, are a great bunch of people (if any of you are reading this don’t say thanks, just send the money). We share a similar sense of humour but we are diverse enough to be able to hold a decent debate on most topics. We are quite a close team and we like it that way. We have got to know each other over time and several of us in the UK hold a reunion each year that lasts anything from a few hours to a couple of days. I understand there may be one across the pond next year as well. Being on a team hasn’t had any effect on my responsibilities as a moderator, my team mates are well aware of my position (mainly flat out with a bottle in my hand) and I can honestly say I don’t think any one of them has ever, or would ever, try to take advantage. What is your favorite quiz that you authored and what are some of your motivations for choosing to write a quiz about a certain topic?
This isn’t as easy to answer as it might seem. Having written over 70 quizzes it’s difficult to single out one. The ones I enjoyed writing the most were the ones I had to do a bit of digging for, the old grey cells aren’t what they used to be. If I had to pick three I would say my quizzes on Inspector Morse, Bosworth Field and Leicester Tigers are the ones which I follow most closely in the rankings. Initially I wrote quizzes on topics I knew well, a good maxim for all new authors. Then I wrote about things that really interested me. Now I sometimes see something or read something and think ‘that might make a quiz’. It wouldn’t be the first time though that I’ve created a template only to do the research and find there isn’t anywhere near as much info out there as I thought there might be. When do you think you have benefited the most from during your time on Fun Trivia?
Again, not an easy one. FT gives different things to different people. During my time I have made some genuine new friends. I have also increased my knowledge of places I can never hope to visit in person. The one time though that FT, and its members, gave me the most was early in 2008. Some will remember that I was suffering from a prolapsed disc in my neck and had to have neurosurgery to remove it. During the three months off work if I hadn’t had FT to keep me sane I think my wife would have cheerfully strangled me and run off with the insurance money. Boredom is a terrible thing, and being virtually housebound for three months made me realize how fortunate I was to be able to look forward and know that I would soon be up and about again. What music styles do you like, what is your favorite band/artist and have you seen them in concert?
My taste in music has changed quite a lot over the years. When I was a kid growing up through the 60’s, (yes, I am that old) I listened to the same stuff that most youngsters did at the time. The Beatles, Everly Brothers, Dusty Springfield, all the usuals. When the 70’s arrived I discovered bands like Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath etc. I got the chance to see most of them, especially ELP who regularly played at the DeMontfort Hall in my home town of Leicester. It was there that Genesis recorded most of their album ‘Genesis Live’ in February 1973, and I was there. Today, although I still listen to my old favourites, I have gravitated towards English Folk. There are loads of folk festivals and I have been to quite a few over the last fifteen years and seen most of the big names in the business. What makes Rugby a great sport to you and do you follow any other sports closely?
There’s an old saying: ’Football (soccer to Americans) is a gentleman’s game played by ruffians. Rugby is a ruffian’s game played by gentlemen’. I was introduced to the game when I was about fourteen and had changed schools. I started playing and was hooked.
I played at various levels including a few games with the RAF Under 21 side in 1973.
Apart from the action on the field there is a great social aspect to the game, both as a player and a spectator. The rivalry between opposing groups of fans is a friendly one, it doesn’t matter where you sit at the game, or which team you support. You know you will be quite safe (with the possible exception of The Shed at Gloucester . ‘Shed Heads’ are known to be a little, shall we say, partisan). I have no great interest in any other sport, although I do like to see how the various teams from my home city, Leicester, are fairing (not too well compared to the Tigers) and I will check any international games at the end. I think you have mentioned that your son is involved in worldwide Kendo competitions. What is Kendo, what was his best finish, individual or team, at a competition and have you ever practiced Kendo?
Kendo, Way of the Sword, is a Japanese martial art based on ancient sword fighting techniques. Each kendoka uses a bamboo sword called a shinai and wears traditional Japanese clothing and protective armour on the head, chest, forearms and groin. Each bout is best of three and the sport is so fast the whole thing can be over in a matter of less than a minute. My son took an interest in Kendo around, I think, 2001. In 2005 he became UK Champion, a title he went on to successfully defend in both 2006 and 2007.
As a member of the UK national squad he has competed at the highest levels including the European and World Championships, and although he hasn’t won any of these the UK squad has come away from the Europeans with a bronze medal at least once. In 2007 the squad took part in a five nations contest and my son won the individual gold.
Have I ever practiced Kendo? Are you kidding? I have no desire to have seven bells knocked out of me by someone wielding a four foot long broom handle. At the speed they fight by the time I’d taken one step forward I’d be beaten black and blue and need a stretcher to get to the bar. If you lived during the time of the Battle of Bosworth Field, what everyday job would want to have had and what everyday job do you think you would have had?
Having traced my family history back as far as the 1700s I think I can safely say I would have been a peasant, some say I am anyway. Given a choice I think I would have liked to have been a blacksmith, I’ve always enjoyed doing things with my hands and at that period in history it would have a much called for profession. No matter how distant or removed, have you heard of any Noble Blood running through your family?
As I mentioned in the previous answer I’ve managed to trace my immediate family back to the early 1700s and there doesn’t seem to be a single drop of blue blood anywhere yet. I’ve concentrated on the male line though as it’s the easiest to follow. There are quite a few female relatives that are just a name and date of birth, so you never know. The Olympics are coming to London in a few years, what event(s) would you like to see live?
There aren’t that many summer sports that I follow closely, but if I had the chance to get tickets I would probably go for some of the track and field events, especially in the closing stages of the games. Volleyball has always been of interest because when I was a fireman in the RAF we occupied our free time playing it. Almost every fire station on an RAF flying unit has a volleyball court set up. It was one of the few things we could do to exercise whilst wearing the protective clothing we wore when on duty. Having said all that though, I think just to get a ticket for the games would be tremendous. Just to be able to say ‘I was there’. In your opinion, during your lifetime, in what ways has society improved and it what ways has it moved backwards for the worst?
Society has changed an awful lot in the past 50 years, sometimes for the better, sometimes not. When I was a kid there was very little in the way of amusement, so we made our own. I remember going out in the morning and not returning home until early evening and as long as we didn’t get into trouble our parents didn’t really worry. Today's kids don’t seem to have that amount of freedom. This is, partially, due to the amount of news information that we now have. We get to hear a lot more about what is going on.
On the adult side, technology has advanced tremendously, especially in medicine. There are cures available today that would have saved thousands of lives if they had been available back then.There has also been a forward step in the way we treat some of the minority groups in our midst, here in the UK the old Victorian attitudes have all but gone in most parts of society. A retrograde step, in my opinion, is all the political correctness. There are so many things we cannot say or do for fear of offending someone, when, in reality, very few people get upset by those things. Some words are evidently offensive, and I think most of us know which ones, but the PC brigade take things a step too far ‘just in case’.
Much Thanks RMG