This perpetually trying year has scrambled a lot of traditions for everyone. Usually, my beloved college radio alma mater stages its biggest fundraiser — which happens to also be one of the biggest community events of the year — every April. For obvious reasons, plans changed. The event was rescheduled for October and, when the public health emergency showed no sign of abating, was significantly reconfigured. And so, this coming weekend, I’ll participate in The World’s Largest Trivia ContestTM. As we do around these here digital parts, this week is filled with idle reminiscing about memorable answers in past years.
In the before-times, my team used to assemble together for Trivia Weekend, convening in a rented space large enough to accommodate or sprawling squad. Since the weekend is long — fifty-four hours straight in its usual configuration — we arrive with a lot of diversions packed into our respective supply kits. Among the various toys, costumes, and mounds of candy, sometimes there are few stray items brought along to be distributed to anyone who wants them. Given the predilections of our crew, beautifully battered old record albums are an especially popular prize.
And old record albums come up often in the contest’s questions. The trickiest queries often revolve around a description of a relatively obscure album’s cover art, the phrasing and details selected to hinder quick Googling, with a charge to participating teams to call in the album’s title. One such question noted that a critically acclaimed album featured a photograph of the band members seated in a nineteen-thirties sedan with the supplemental, specifying note that the back cover showed those same musicians sitting outside of and surrounding the vehicle. As everyone tapped out their searches only to be confronted with a seemingly endless parade of rock albums with cars appearing in cover art, one of my teammates got up and walked casually to the stack of records he’d recently liberated from a library and brought to distribute to loving adopted homes. He returned to the fray of frantic answer-hunters and declared the search over, placing the Hot Tune album Burgers in front of the group.
And that, good people, is rare and wonderful Trivia magic.
More info about 90FM’s Trivia can be found at its official website or at the radio station’s online home. There’s also a feature documentary about the contest, but it’s fairly hard to come by these days. To see how my team is faring over the weekend, Twitter is probably the best bet.