Mindful as ever of the gaiety of nations, the brotherhood of man, and the audacity of hope, the Controlling Thompson dons his sparkly jacket and the very most supercilious of his unfathomable range of supercilious smiles to bring you the previously-threatened, nominally festive end-of-year examination. That's right: from the degraded Norwich of my mind, it's the Quiz of the Weak. Who wants to be a millionth-aire?
All right, seriously, here's how we do this.
There are five sets of questions below, #1 through #5. Each set comprises three individual questions, plus what I believe is technically known as a Brucie Bonus: an additional question which refers back to one or all of the answers in the set. ...OK so far?
Almost all of the individual questions relate to some cultural event from 2007, many of which have been discussed on these pages over the year. The bonus questions are somewhat different: the answer to each is a pop single that has reached number 1 in the UK charts some time in the last twenty years, & in each case you are required, nay, compelled to give the name of the artist and the title of the song. Let me say in my defence that this was not part of the plan, it just kind of happened.
In order to make the whole expedition less a contest to discover "who's best at Google 2007", all of the individual questions refer to sound clips, which can be played from the widget below -- or you can download the whole quizworth of clips to your hard drive from the designated link. In fact, you could probably still Google most of the answers, but there ya go.
A tiny hint: although it might seem like you can't answer the Bonus Question in each case until you've got all three of the other answers in the set, it's very likely that you actually can -- and you can then work backwards from there.
There are 2 points for each individual question and 2 points for each Bonus, so the maximum score is 40. Candidates attaining a mark of 32 or more will be awarded first-class honours. Those scoring less than 8 will be asked to re-sit.
Oh, wait, prizes. Hm. That should probably read P*R*I*Z*E*S, right? (How do you make stuff flash?) Yeah, so, the first complete set of correct answers out of my damp hat on the morning of Saturday 29th December -- or the most nearly complete, if nobody nails 'em all -- will win its sender their choice of the following rewards:
either: a small bundle of Thompson's-approved artefacts, like maybe a book and a CD and a DVD or something, all wrapped up together for convenient shipping and sealed with a kiss (not from me, I've got cooties)...
or: a date with the Controlling Thompson, whereby we take in a show or a movie or something and I buy the tickets. So I probably get to choose what we see, right? Otherwise I'll only bitch about what you chose. (This option is not altogether recommended for overseas readers.)
or: I'll name a character in some show I make between now and summer 2009 after you, or after someone you nominate. (I will more or less undertake to guarantee that the character in question isn't a predatory paedophile.)
See? See? This is feeling more like fun all the time, right?
So: here come the questions, and, below them, the sound files. Game the fuck on, as Tom O'Connor used to say on Cross Wits. (Or, hang on, I may be thinking of Fuck Wits.)
A cheerful start: all of these people died during 2007.
(a) Who is the singer?
(b) Whose words are being sung?
(c) Who is being lampooned in this 1986 spoof religious work?
BONUS QUESTION: Rumours of his death were not exaggerated: but one of these three people was widely credited, in a Wikipedia-derived error, with having been involved with the making of a number one single. Name the song and the now-defunct group.
(a) What happens next? (Hint: For much of 2007 it might conceivably have stopped the show at the Gielgud.)
(b) This Belgian techno hit from the early part of the year is a cover of an 80s song by whom?
(c) Two people talking about the same person: the first, speaking in 2001 while he was still alive; the second, in 2004 shortly after his death. Who he?
BONUS QUESTION: The composer of (a) and the composer of (b), taken together with the answer to (c), should put you in mind of an acclaimed 1984 film whose director has this year been working on a new movie that features a controversial pop duo. What's the name of the act and their only number one single to date?
The individual questions here are all two-parters, so 1 point for each bit.
(a) In what starring role did this speaker not entirely appear this year? And what cultural phenomenon is he describing here?
(b) Who is this distinguished writer? And to what post was he the inaugural appointee in 2007?
(c) Who is the speaker? And about whom is he enthusing?
BONUS QUESTION: One of these three gentlemen contributed to the writing of one of 2007's worst-received movies: the soundtrack of which featured a 90s number one record by an artist who most recently performed the official song of one of this year's major sporting events. Who is the distinctive performer in question, and what was that best-selling single?
At this most wonderful time of the year, nothing you could say could tear me away from magi: so here are three wise men for you to identify.
(a) This one was suddenly a mainstream figure in 2007, as a past work returned to hit the stage and the screen (again).
(b) This one set sail for the sun only a few days ago.
(c) And this one also went home; so it goes, I suppose.
BONUS QUESTION: One of these men is superficially connected with a cultural artefact that turned 40 this year, and which eventually gave rise to three number one singles: the second of which, chronologically, was also the first of three number ones for the group in question. (Relax, it's only confusing till you know the answer.) Name them, and it.
(a) In which movie, shortly to go on general UK release and highly praised during the year on Thompson's, does this sandwich get discussed?
(b) Which filmstar's name is blanked out in this classic song from Kate Rusby's 2007 album Awkward Annie?
(c) Which 100% fictional character's 2007 show is being described?
BONUS QUESTION: All three of these answers have a common feature, which they share with the title of an early 90s number one by a group whose lead singer was conspicuously punched in the face on my birthday this year (though it wasn't by way of a gift to me, regrettably). What was the song, and who were the band -- who incidentally owe their name to a writer who died in October this year?
So those are the questions, and here are the sound files you'll need:
If you prefer, you can download the whole lot in one big file, stick it on your iPod, and drive yourself insane.
And as a last clue, if you're struggling, here is one final mp3 containing fragments, in the correct order, of all five of the number one singles that you need to identify for the bonus questions. Download it, play it, but don't blink. ...With your ears, I mean. ...Not that you would. ...Would you?
So, that's everything. You should email your answers by noon (GMT) on Saturday 29th December (to thompsonsunderscorehqatgraffitidotnet), and the winner will be announced some time on Sunday.
Happy anguish, everybody!