Tuesday, January 23, 2007

You win some

And win we did.

A brief post to gloat in the fact that for a week we were the reigning Pub Quiz Champs of The Oxford Arms, a pub in the Camden Town section of London. That's right. You heard it here first. The four of us who keep up with this site and Glen's mate, Greg, met in the northwestern townlet of Camden on Monday, January 15 and wiped the place clean. The pub quiz place, that is. We cleared three points to take first prize - 15 pounds ! Which is 30 bucks to you and me.

Let's back up a bit and first set the scene. We walk from the tube, past the storefronts to the pub on the corner (aka The Oxford Arms). In we walk to a bevy of smokers (no Mayor Bloomberg over in London to defumagate the city), lads and lassies chattin' it up in their part of town. There are no available seats, nor spaces to stand near the bar, no tables. It looks like a regulars place right away and I sense my teammates feel as I do - "Well, everyone here is probably here every Monday and probably already knows what the questions will be" and no sooner than you can say "We're doomed!" does a friendly waiter come up to our group and say, "You looking for a seat? I will be right back" And faster than you can say, "Huh? Was he talking to us?" aforementioned friendly waiter now turns into a table-bearing waiter (not so much bearing it as carrying it). He places it down and like a scene where you ask for a pen in the middle of twenty pen salesmen (it has happened to you - hasn't it?) there are four - nay, five! - stools and chairs around our table.
And so we sit.

At about ten to nine we receive a pen and five sheets of paper stapled together. This is when we learn it is a five round game and it's about to begin soon.

Our team name is "Who ate all the pies?" which is a shout-out to our East Village days at the Baggot Inn (Tuesdays 2004 - 2005). That wasn't ever our team name stateside but there was always a team who did have that name and every now and then there was also a "We ate all the pies" team. On a side note, Who ate all the pies? is a football (UK) call so we are immediately endeared to those around us by our topical and locale friendly name (although I should say that is an embellishment on my part as no one knows the other teams' names in this version of pub quiz as the names are only read out at the end of the five round game). But in my own way, I like to think we were endeared and found to be lovable by those around us anyway.

There are 12 questions in each round and once the second round is complete I am having that - "we are awesome!" feeling. Unfortunately, in the third round (or maybe it was the fourth?) we answer a total of 4 questions correctly. FOUR!
Oh well.

So onto the next rounds where we are faced with questions such as Name the two countries with the letter X in their names. I quickly get Luxembourg owning up to the fact that I had recently had that question in another bar quiz night never mentioning the fact that a mere two days before we had been in Paris at the Jardins du Luxembourg. Ah - Americans! Never appreciating the wonders of the world. Although, when at the aforementioned Luxembourg Gardens (see photo) I was "wondering" why is this such a recommended site?! (Of course it could have everything to do with the fact that we chose to visit it in the dead of winter. A GARDEN.)
The other one is Mexico - which we also write down.

There is a music round with the Emcee stating the singer and the song and asking for the year in which it hit number one and/or was released. There's Born to Run (by Bruce), U2's Vertigo, and others that are escaping me now.

Taking a break from the questioning, the Emcee asks a football (soccer) related question that I just don't get but it seems people are raising their hands and guessing at the answer - the answer turned out to be 20 but people are guessing 50? 52? Two people guessed 67 which is a bad bad thing and only means that the 2nd person to guess wasn't listening and/or is severely drunk. When the Emcee selects a person in the bar to answer, usually that person's hand is raised and he asks the answerer where s/he is from. Liza (as in Minelli) ganders a guess but first, when she says she is from New York (as opposed to St. John's Wood, which as you may know is the townlet in which Heather Mills (old name, Heather Mills McCartney - as in Sir Paul) just received custody (alimony?) of the 7.8 million dollar (3.9 million pounds?) home she once shared with aforementioned Sir Paul) there is a roar from the crowd. Yes, the whole bar cheered for her. Our Liza! It was great fun.

The last round of questioning is the sports round and this is where I really have no recollection. Probably because I have just decided that trivia (ahem, pub quiz) should only be 4 rounds long. By the 5th I am tired out, brain mushed, burnt out. I turn to Liza and we chat like only sisters can. Along the lines of - huh? I am leaving tomorrow, that kinda stinks and hey - he's goin' be a socah playah (not talking about anyone in particular but just relaying our favorite random movie lines back and forth). Lucky for us Glen and Jeremy are working diligently on the round, next thing we know our game sheet is in and the tallying begins. By the scorers, that is. I have kept track of some of our scores and think we are in the 43 - 45 point range.

The first team is announced to have some 20 odd points in 12th place and I am feeling optimistic. Once the Emcee gets to the 4th placed team at 30 odd points I am smiling widely – we are in the top three! We placed and we won't be going home empty-handed!
And then it all happens so quickly, though I do have time to warn my teammates that when we are announced the winners (as we know it is coming and the Emcee takes his time to blurt it out) I exclaim we must cheer and we must be loud!

So we cheer, we are not that loud, and we take our 15 pounds and scram.