Posted by Laura
If the homepage team were to appear on Mastermind we would have difficulty in agreeing on one subject we all have sufficient collective knowledge of. I would lean toward British guitar bands of the 1990s (niche, I know) and my colleagues Dom and Ian would choose the history of Liverpool FC and The Simpsons respectively. Together we would make a killing if "that Simpsons episode where Bart meets Steven Gerrard at Anfield and they form a LAs cover band" ever came up, although somehow I think it unlikely.
This just highlights the disparate nature of our interests, which I think generally makes us work better as a team. Our different views and pursuits enable us to have a general knowledge spanning a broad spectrum of subjects. Usually, if one of us is flummoxed by, say, who the latest teen music phenomenon is, another can come up with an explanation.
However, now the team has worked together for an entitre year in its current form, we are beginning to realise where we have gaps in our knowledge base. Take the release of the seventh Harry Potter book – it soon became apparent that none of us had read, or ever intended to read, any of the tomes in the boy wizard saga. Utterances of Muggles, Horcruxes, Voldemort and other such alien word forms were lost on us. I mean, how can the average non-Potter-savvy Joe make sense of such things? Hence we had to enlist help from the Harry converts in the wider editorial team, which apparently included everyone apart from oursleves, to help us get the message right when using articles about the book on the homepage.
Similarly, when it came to promoting this week’s MSN In Concert performance of Bone Thugs -N- Harmony we all drew a blank. They certainly didn’t fit into my "guitar bands of the 1990s" remit; I can categorically say none of them have played for Liverpool FC – and, I later found out, it would be hip hop sacrilege to compare any of them to a Simpsons character. The very fact we spent a good few minutes discussing what our Bone stage names would be were we to join the group shows just how uncool and, dare I say it, out of touch we are about such musical matters (for the record, we’d be T-Bone, Funny Bone and Give-The-Dog-A Bone).
Luckily we had a biography to tell us what we needed to know about their music, but again it threw up another subject area we are ignorant of.
So we have Harry Potter and most hip hop/ R n B/rap acts in our list of blank spots – the next one to come to our attention was rugby. With friendly games and an entire World Cup competition coming up, between us we need to be able to navigate our way around the most salient points of the game. Or at least we need to find someone who can. The only option we’ve discussed so far is getting my dad to blog after each match. Considering he has yet to successfully send a text message and seems to think blog is a brand of toilet cleaner, we may need to swot up on Rugby Union sharpish.
It’s now become our collective mission to take an interest in the areas we have traditionally neglected, both as a team and individuals. As a result, we have each picked a topic we know very little about and are going to try and get to grips with the basics of the subject matter over the next week or so. Mine is football (having flukily impressed Dom today by knowing who Michael Ballack is), Ian’s is Cars (we discovered that despite all of us passing our driving tests in the mid-90s, none of us has ever owned a car), and Dom’s is fashion (his idea of clothes shopping is spending £200 in an annual half-hour buying binge without trying anything on).
We’ve got our work cut out, but knowledge is power, or so they say. I’m just hoping its power is so potent that when a football question comes up the next time I’m at the pub quiz I’ll be able to answer it with conviction – so long as it’s a question about Michael Ballack, that is.
Put our new-found knowledge-gathering to the test. Ask us questions on our specialist subjects and we’ll endeavour to answer them (without cheating).