Originally posted on Paul Sinha:

” Dreams can come true.”                                                               Gabrielle

“Dreams are like children. Follow them for too long and people start getting suspicious.”

The brilliant comedian Markus Birdman. @birdmanwatching 

Talking of dreams, on Saturday afternoon I was enjoying an average quality lunch  buffet in a remote business hotel in Rotterdam. I was tired, hungover after three days of heavy drinking. As I stood at the buffet, pondering how much smoked salmon on my plate would be considered greedy, I was approached by Jane Allen, who helps run the British Quiz Association with a charming bear of a man called Chris Jones.

“Paul, have you heard the scores?”

I metaphorically shat my pants. “Nope”

“You’re in the final 10. You finished joint 8th”

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” Dreams can come true.”                                                               Gabrielle

“Dreams are like children. Follow them for too long and people start getting suspicious.”

The brilliant comedian Markus Birdman. @birdmanwatching 

Talking of dreams, on Saturday afternoon I was enjoying an average quality lunch  buffet in a remote business hotel in Rotterdam. I was tired, hungover after three days of heavy drinking. As I stood at the buffet, pondering how much smoked salmon on my plate would be considered greedy, I was approached by Jane Allen, who helps run the British Quiz Association with a charming bear of a man called Chris Jones.

“Paul, have you heard the scores?”

I metaphorically shat my pants. “Nope”

“You’re in the final 10. You finished joint 8th”

At which point I metaphorically lost all my physiological faculties and descended into an embarrassing, weepy mess. Somehow, and extremely unexpectedly, I had achieved one of my life dreams.

I say “life”. This one started in November 2010, when I attended the European Quiz Championships both as a first time contestant, and as part of a Radio 4 documentary about high level quizzing that I was making. I don’t know whether it was the addictive air of intellectualism, or the romantic beauty of the Derby Conference Centre, arguably the most stunning of the buildings in the “Venice of the East Midlands”, but i was transfixed. The individual championships consisted of a 100 question written paper, at the end of which the top 10 scorers would take part in a twenty question shootout. In front of assorted spectators. I watched those twenty questions with fascination. I knew three of the answers, Jack Kerouac, Helen Frankenthaler and Gym Class Heroes. I barely understood the other 17 answers.

And I thought to myself, “Wouldnt it be good to one day be part of that assembled final 10?”

I knew in my heart of hearts that it would be impossible. The quality of the players who trekked in the following years to Bruges, Tartu, Liverpool and Bucharest was just insanely good. I knew my dream was a forlorn one. I knew that eventually I would have to accept that it would join the dreams dustbin along with chess grandmaster, world figure skating champion, Have I got News for You guest, and Mrs Joe Root. So I sat down on Saturday morning in Rotterdam, for the European Quizzing Championships individuals, with no higher ambition as to not make any silly mistakes.

Within two rounds that ambition was in tatters. I skilfully crossed out the correct answer twice in Round 1, and in Round 2, I am sure that i was the only person in the room not to identify “sanskrit” as a correct answer. Sanskrit ffs. At this point all I could visualise was my parents’ disappointed faces.

You need a lot of luck in quizzing. When I woke up I did one piece of revision. I looked at nine questions I had written about this years Grammy awards. The very last fact that I wrote was that St Vincent had won the award for Best Alternative Album. I had literally no idea whether it was a man, a band or a woman. But i wrote it down for a question and got it right.

Before Round 8, the final round, they announced the current top 10. In joint 9th place was…………..Paul Sinha. What the serious fuck.Why didnt I get Sanskrit ???? Sixteen questions to go. Get good guesses in, keep calm. Then there was my dream question. Something about the African country with the lowest human development index.  I had read it on the toilet, literally five days ago. I had made an effort to make a mental note. Thank you the increasingly slow bowels of middle age. It is bloody Niger. I know this one. It’s bloody Niger.

There were 45 minutes between the end of the quiz and Jane Allen telling me I had done enough. 45 torturous minutes. The rest was a blur. Those final 20 questions flew by, as I became increasingly aware that i was the weakest quizzer in the final ten by a country mile. I had no idea who Super Mario’s sworn enemy was, about palm mangroves in Elche, or the most famous battle of 1212. I did know which Wagner opera was set in Rome, which pleased me. I slipped from 8th to 10th as I knew I would. It didnt matter. I know I am not as good as these other 9. It was fun to be part of their gang.

There I am. With Tom, Thomas, Igor, Tero, Kevin, Ronny, Didier, Pat and the eventual winner the all conquering Olav Bjortomt. Missing is one of the world’s best quizzers, Nico Pattyn. He couldn’t make it. i have no idea why he couldn’t make it, but I am grateful for his absence.

I don’t care that my dreams have changed from changing the world, to doing quite well in a quiz tournament. Scale down your dreams, and you may just achieve them.What can never be taken away is that for thirty extremely hungover minutes in Rotterdam, I was one of the ten best quizzers in Europe.

Joe Root. You are next.

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Blog late Blog Infrequently

Self promotion is a curious beast. I have never felt comfortable about it, but I am just not famous enough not to need it. I have a facebook page where even if I put a post up sympathising with victims of a terrorist attack, my only reply would be “WHEN’S THE CHASE BACK ON?”.   I have a very detailed website, which has all the traffic of Sunday afternoon on the island of Sark. So I like twitter, for all its many, many faults. And then there is this blog.

I wish that my life was  packed with colourful incidents to the degree that this blog was a must read. But it isnt. Yesterday, I went on a road trip to a gig in Glastonbury. The driver and passengers were impeccable human beings, the club itself was a delight, nothing weird happened, nobody called me a poof, nothing happened that I could exaggerate and use as a metaphor for the human condition. I am in Bedford tonight, I hope this changes.

I have been quizzing a lot, both onscreen and offscreen. It’s been emotional. I always love it when people on social media/ digital spy accuse us of occasionally throwing questions or indeed games. I love their absolute confidence in their delusion. So confident, that they will happily libel hardworking, proud/smugly arrogant people. So I shall say it once more. None of us have ever thrown a question let alone a game. Sometimes, incredibly, we are just shit.

I love that Daily Mail “journalist” Amanda Platell, and many goggle-eyed slavering idiots genuinely believe that the BBC are trying to mould society in their own image, by fixing it for a Muslim woman to win a baking contest. Anyone au fait with my work, will know that I do not believe we are a racist nation, far from it. But it still saddens me that there are people out there who will judge you for your ethnicity/sexuality first, and assume that any success you may have achieved is purely because of that. In this sub Andrew Lawrence/James Delingpole world, white heterosexuals are constantly being oppressed, and any success achieved by anyone who falls outside of these demographics is to be viewed with suspicion. I think it was Voltaire who said “Fuck off”.

We live in increasingly violent times, with the threat of war looming ever closer. The thing that worries me most, is ticket sales. To that end, I have three shows to plug.

SHEFFIELD http://www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk/event/paul-sinha-postcards-from-the-z-list-15/

SOUTHPORT http://www.southportcomedyfestival.com/showpages/adult/showpagepaulsinha.html

HUDDERSFIELD http://www.thelbt.org/Paul-Sinha-Postcards-Z-List

Oh, I am still single. I shall be going on a pub crawl in Wallasey tomorrow night, followed by a Saturday quiz event in Liverpool. http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/quiz-in-the-north-4-tickets-17816521696

If you are hot and even vaguely bi curious, say hello.

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Lonely Heart.

Unexpectedly I am single again. A lovely four year relationship has come to an end, it has been entirely amicable, and I wish him all the best in life. It has been a precious adventure, and I harbour no negativity or bitterness whatsoever. But I need to move on. I am 45, which is J Howard Marshall in gay years. My biological clock is ticking even faster than my heart, after walking up some stairs. This questionnaire is an attempt to whittle down the candidates who I can only imagine are metaphorically queueing in their thousands  for a shot at Britain’s 7th ranked quizzer.

  1. Which of these events do you remember from your childhood ?

a) The Battle of Britain

b) The death of Michael Jackson

c) Gazza’s tears at Italia 90

2.   What is your greatest achievement ?

a) Literacy

b) Working out how Argos works.

c) Two centuries against the Aussies in the 2015 Ashes.

3.     Your favourite food is ?

a) Whiskey

b) Vegetarian

c) Home cooked lamb curry at the in laws.

4.        The perfect double bill is ?

a) Snakebite

b) Pretty Woman and Dirty Dancing

c) University Challenge and Only Connect

5.          Who did you vote in 2015 ?


B) Voting will never change anything. Russell Brand is amazing

c) All the parties were an anathema to my longstanding lefty liberal beliefs, and I would rather not discuss it.

6.            Happiness

a) Is a cigar called Hamlet

b) Is a naive unachievable fantasy

c) Sounds a bit like “a penis”. Which is worth a giggle

7. Which of these celebrities is the hottest ?

a) Zac Efron

b) Nick Grimshaw

c) AR Rahman

8.     Who do you most look like ?

a) AR Rahman

b) Nick Grimshaw

c) Zac Efron

9.         The greatest stand up comedian of his generation is….

a) Roy Chubby Brown

b) Lee Nelson

c)   Daniel Kitson.

10.             Complete the saying. “If you really love someone you must……..”

a) Tell everyone on facebook

b) Marry him

c) Put up with his snoring.

11.                   What portmanteau word best describes you?

a) Shopaholic

b) What is a portmanteau?

c) Gaytheist

12.                       Being a gay man automatically means that I love…………

a) Made in Chelsea

b) Rihanna

c) Blokes.

13.                     I spend hours on youtube watching

a) Cats

b) Dapper Laughs

c) Dai Greene winning gold at the 2011 World Athletics Championships.

14.                 My ideal day out is….

a) Harry Potter World

b) Something vaguely outdoorsy

c)   A well organised buzzer quiz.

15.                   I simply cannot…….

a) tolerate silence

b) eat foreign food.

c) hum anything by Ed Sheeran

It goes without saying that it is “mostly c” that I am after here. 

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Final Fringe Blog.

I still have three shows to go. But this is definitely my final blog of the Fringe. Tickets are selling well for this weekend, and I just want to concentrate on enjoying it.

I came up here with a few ambitions. To remind people that I can still craft an Edinburgh show, to sell more tickets, to enjoy the performance experience. Job done.

This Fringe is just vast. It always frustrates me when people try and reduce it to ten funny jokes, or some sort of leftwing v rightwing imagined battle. It has long been a far more complex, gloriously rich, dazzling and diverse artistic showcase. The Free Fringe, for all its internal political problems, has evolved into a behemoth, bringing comedy to a far wider audience and , I believe, making paid acts up their game. Reading the reviews, there seem to be considerably more 4 star than 2 star reviews. The nominations for the Fosters Comedy Award are notable not just for the intense creative ambition of the nominated shows, but also for the brilliance of various shows which narrowly missed out. No wonder they, yet again, took their time.

There are some on the club circuit who believe that the Fringe is an entirely pointless exercise. Try telling that to Seymour Mace, a much admired Fringe veteran whose perseverance has been richly rewarded with a nomination, or to George Egg, a circuit stalwart whom I first saw in 1995, and whose debut show this year was so original he has been selling out night after night. The Fringe is not just about discovering  telegenic youth.

Apart from my usual gripe, that there are some journalists who would not cross the North Bridge too see a show with no PR, if their lives depended on it, I am finding it hard to find negatives. I love it here. I love being associated with the Stand, an organisation run with friendly professionalism, and respect for the customer. This has been much my favourite room of my Edinburgh career. And indeed, it has been my favourite month. Right now, I have literally no idea what direction my standup is going to take in the next two years, as I feel I may have reached the natural end of the autobiography. but I will be back X

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Hello National Press.

Since I stopped paying for an expensive PR person, the nationals have not bothered to pay a visit. As a result, I have fallen in love with the more unfashionable publications which seem to be able to pick shows to review without the need for coke-addled freeloaders to bully them into seeing their clients’ shows.

Which is fine. But a small part of me misses the “Oh my god. He is gay and he likes football” years. And the Daily Mirror seems to be giving out five star reviews as readily as Kate Copstick gives out rape apologies. So nationals, if you are reading (It seems unlikely given that you were up in the Loft bar till 4am), here is some possible angles/reasons for seeing me.

  1. A lot has been written about the left vs the right in comedy. What about those who feel instinctively leftwing, but are too lazy to do any of the required reading? Where is our feature?

2. Of the eleven professional quizzers in the UK, two of them are doing a show at Edinburgh. CJ de Mooi is in a play at C venues. Maybe a double interview. There is no Business like Show Quizness. There is your title.

3.       I am one of two comedians up here (the other is Jimmy McGhie), who went to the same school as Nigel Farage. Perhaps an interview where we lie about our memories of him?

4.  Of the many British Asian comedians up here, I might be the only one who suffers from sleep apnoea. I am happy to discuss my pain.

5.   I’m a feminist. A passionate, unconditional feminist. I respect women so much that I would never, ever doing the appalling disservice of sleeping with one.

6.    The Chaser meets Chase and Status. I have not really thought this one through.

7.      My Dad, my nephew and myself all have the middle name Kumar. The same as the surname of celebrated comedian Nish Kumar. An angle?

8.       Perhaps it could be all about you. “I crossed the North Bridge and survived to tell the tale”

9.       Harry Hill, Mike Wozniak and myself are all alumni of Britian’s lowest achieving medical school. Is laughter the best medicine? It has been a couple of months since I last answered that question.

10.      “What’s happening bright people ?”

Despite appearances to the contrary, I am still alive, still doing comedy, and enjoying my show hugely. You’d be welcome any day.

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So far so good with the shows that I have seen. It has been varied.

Gurpal Gill.          Good hearted character comedy about India’s Strongest Man 1982.

Puddles Pity Party        Giant clown belts out pop classics to great effect.

Funz and Gamez          Inspired adult show for kids, now a firm Fringe favourite.

Tom Ballard                   Entertaining tales about growing up gay in Australia.

Ronnie Chieng              Richly comedic alpha male posturing.

Michael Legge                Fear and loathng in Kavos. Wonderful.

Chris Kent                       Brilliant Irish storytelling around his recent wedding.

Gein’s Family Giftshop       Last year’s triumphant sketch stars repeat the trick

Geoff Norcott                    Yes, Tory boys can be very funny.

Matt Reed                           Enthralling true story about being stalked

Andrew Lawrence             Sporadically brilliant, always fascinating rightwing outsider.

Adam Hess                 Hyper energetic jokes and storytelling from a future superstar.

Bridget Christie           Tory-skewering done with precision and passion

Jo Neary                         Beautifully observed character comedy.

Steve Hall                       Skilful and heartfelt ruminations on family.

Joseph Morpugo            Dazzling. Just dazzling multimedia comedy.

Loving this Fringe so far. What I will say is that anyone still stuck issuing falsehoods about how the Fringe is nothing more than one big lefty love-in is an absolute bellend.

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