Salford-born Tony Murphy has been “SpeedQuizzing” in pubs, bars and student unions for seven years but running his business online in a pandemic is the biggest challenge yet.
Before restrictions, SpeedQuizzing was a successful in-person quizzing experience, whereby participants could answer questions via mobile devices with a quizmaster hosting the questions before them.
In March, Murphy and colleagues took their business online, hosting quizzes via online streaming platform Zoom, incorporating some of their own coding to the quizzing programme to reduce any lag, and attracting upwards of 80 participants.
“If you’d have said to me on that night, ‘What’s Zoom?’, I’d have said it’s a song by Fat Larry’s Band, and that was it, I knew nothing, absolutely nothing.”
Speaking to Tony on the impact of lockdown restrictions on his career, he described the initial challenges.
“It was just a case of adapting to survive really because being a DJ, of course this lovely government we have kind of just disregard us completely and I had absolutely no income – you don’t have pensions that you can rely on.”
Despite a dip in ticket sales after the first wave, and customers returning to work, Murphy has received some incredibly high praise, and gifts from customers who have shown gratitude for him providing final laughs with departed family members, offering a shoulder to cry on, and giving them the chance to have a social life again.
“The feedback has been absolutely phenomenal, and you get people saying, ‘It’s really taken us through lockdown.’”
“Sometimes it can take up to six hours to write a quiz then two hours to perform, so it can be a bit of a slog, especially when you do six a week, but it’s little things like that that just keep you going.”
Tony aims to keep doing at least one online quiz a week to increase accessibility for a wider range of customers but will primarily be going back to quizzing in-person moving forward.
“I do miss the face-to-face interaction, as I can tell a joke here on here and you don’t know how it’s gone down because you there’s no feedback, or there could have been a slight lag.”
Tony’s quizzes take place six times weekly on Zoom, and tickets are available via his Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/721344198002633/?ref=share