Our thanks to Susan Pollock, who kindly accepted to offer a review of the Winter Warmer Quiz that took place last month in London. After working abroad teaching English as a foreign language for several years, Susan Pollock returned to the UK and started her first library job in a graduate trainee role at the law firm Slaughter and May.
Pub quiz! What better way to get brain cells befuddled by Christmas excesses back in working gear? What better way to welcome in a new year? What better way to meet some fellow librarians? What better way indeed to warm the winter?
These and many more good reasons were unfortunately not why I agreed to attend the SLA Winter Warmer Quiz this January. I just cannot get enough of a good test of general knowledge, and a chance to start World War Three over how many members the Jackson Five had (is it a trick question though?) Having been on second place teams twice (twice!) in a row, I was confident that third time would be the charm, and clipped clopped over to Forge Bar quick smart after work on a cold winter’s eve.
I, and those I had dragged along despite profuse professions of “knowing absolutely nothing about anything”, descended into the subterranean warmth with dreams of glory, or at least not coming last. A welcoming buzz from our fellow quiz goers boded well for the evening ahead. We found a table, and settled in to chat with our team members.
I’d like to say that a hush descended as the rules were read aloud with gravitas, but we all know that wouldn’t be true. Guests were reassured of the sponsor’s generosity: yes, there would be food! Yes, there would be refreshments of a convivial nature! The joker round could be decided after the questions were asked, to the horror of some quiz purists in the audience. The serious business of finding a good pun name for the team was set about with furrowing of brows, chewing of pencils, and varying success. I wrote the best ones down for future use, puns not being a major strength, and almost immediately misplaced them.
The first round: current events. Apparently a woman had given birth to twins in two different countries. “I know the answer!” I declared with confidence. “Germany and the UK”. This was met with polite incredulity from my fellow quiz members. Never one to lose heart in the face of adversity, I insisted. “One of them has a German name”. Side-glances were exchanged. “I think I read it in the Mail”. For want of a better answer, my response was submitted. Reader, the answer was not Germany and the UK.
Moving on, we answered questions on Christmas advertising, reliving the most wonderful time of the year through the medium of shops’ marketing campaigns, and geography, in which our heroine realises she needs to buy a map of Europe. The music round was what I like to think of as SLA’s tribute to the late great Bowie, and got Major Tom stuck in my head for the next week; although I’m increasingly uncertain as to whether that really was one of the answers.
The food arrived to much wailing – from the vegetarians – and gnashing of teeth – from the meat eaters. I believe this gave any team with veggie members an edge, as the carnivores descended into satisfied food comas for the second half.
The movie round saw further good use of the projection screen, giving a modern update to an old British classic. The mystery round was so mysterious I’ve forgotten the contents. As the rounds whizzed by and the points piled up, my heart was thudding, palpitating and pounding in equal measure. In other words, it was all a bit much.
In direct contrast to my last statement, all too soon the quiz drew to a close. The final deliberations were made, the last answers were checked and the totting up of results could begin. The losers were paraded before our eyes, mercilessly mocked by the ceremonial giving of wooden spoons, meeting a just punishment for (presumably) paying more attention to fun than facts. To the victors, the spoils of Hotel Chocolat. To the rest, the chance to mingle and the faint regret of not paying more attention to the News at Ten.
Well done to the winning team, Mind Your Ps and Qs! And many thanks to the organisers and our quizmaster for their hard work on the night. Last, and of course not least, a massive “Thank you” to Acquiremedia for sponsoring such a fun night out. Here’s hoping next year’s quiz is just as good!