How many golf balls are there on the moon? Whose sidekick was called Penfold? In the international radio alpabet what word stands for “K”? Mary Westmacott was better known as author? How many beers should you drink at the annual Brain Drain?
These are all things I have learned at the iconic event which began in the early 1980s. It all began at the old Goondiwindi Civic Centre, before moving to the Church of England Hall, now gone, before moving to the Community Centre. It had no choice. The old hall just wasn’t big enough. At its peak the Brain Drain attracted 100 teams of six. That didn’t include many who came to watch. And they came year after year. It’s hard to work out why. It was on a Thursday for starters. But they came, dressed up and ready to party and it just got bigger, year after year. They drank like fish. And still managed to get to work for the judging of the Spring Festivals best-dressed business the next day.
READ MORE: Take the brain drain quiz tease
Perhaps it was the quiz masters. The three we remember are Peter Chenoweth, Phil Day and Lew Verney who puzzled, bamboozled and entertained us. There was the towering gangly Jack Sheinberg who tested our ear and musical knowledge by playing the piano and giving us explanations in his avuncular drawl.
Jack was instrumental in drawing up the questions along with long-time sponsor Argus owner, Joe Hoffmann. The delight for many was watching contestants make their way through the throng with more than a little indignation, their scoresheet held before them - and into the breach they strode – to be met by the gatekeeper. It was a long walk back, their scoresheet lowered and fluttering fornlornly. But as the years went by even Joe mellowed. We learnt two things over the years he once said. “We’re not playing for sheep stations so we became more lenient.” And, “Never ask a question where everyone says, “Who cares?”
Today the Brain Drain is held at the Goondiwindi State High School. It’s on Friday, October 19.
Doors open 6.30pm. Register your team at The Argus. Answers: There are six; Danger Mouse; Kilo; Agatha Christie; Far less than whatever you do drink.