Friday, September 17, 2010

Quiz Night at Le Rendez-Vouz....or....It Is Whether You Win or Lose

Last night was Quiz Night at Le Rendez-Vous Bar, the fifth or sixth recurring event, back by popular demand. We were first-time attendees, as were our partners (a couple from near Antwerp, Belgium). I will allow them the privacy of remaining nameless. We recently learned that Quiz Night is a common pub happening in England, but Marek's bi-lingual Franco-Britannique twist might well be a first. We chose our team name, TEAM FLEMCO (Flemish + Colorado). It sounded strong, proud, patriotic and a winner.

Teams of four, alternating questions in French and English, interspersed with a curry supper and pichet of wine---a superb evening of fun for 10 Euros. Marek distributed the packets explaining Rules of the game and what proved to be an intentionally sketchy outline of the five "categories": What, Where, When, How and Why. We also received a Joker card to be played at the beginning of a round to double points.

The last piece of paper was a compilation of old baby and childhood photo head shots. We had until the end of supper to identify each of these individuals. You must click on this one to enlarge for some good laughs.

With microphone in hand, Marek, the master of ceremonies, welcomed us to the festivities and passed out the first page of questions (the category WHAT). Immediately a sense of doom fell upon us. The questions in English were no more understood than those we could translate from the French. While our Belgian partners spoke excellent English, there were nuances that fall through the cracks when translating. The English questions didn't always refer to matters English, Canadian, Australian, or American; and likewise, nor did the French questions always refer to French matters.

We considered the first round a warm-up, and looked forward to Round 2 (WHERE), which we assumed to be geography. Doug suggested using our Joker card so that we could double our points. He felt confident he could identify countries, maps, oceans, anything smacking of geography. Marek has had numerous attempts practicing his format at Quiz Night, and our assumption that WHERE would be akin to geography in the familiar sense of the word was naive. Questions in this category included "Where are the phalanges?" or "Where did Dorothy want to go after the tornado?". Our double point score was 6 (total possible was 20).

We knew we would be guessing at many of the European sports questions, and how right we were. Who knew there are 15 red snooker balls? How many players on a cricket team, or what is the name of the French rugby league? That was to be expected, but to total embarrassment, we tanked on questions about American culture. Where is the beginning of Route 66 (according to the song) or how old was the 35th president of the US when assassinated, or where is the US Open played? Why can't they ask something about the Broncos or Yellowstone National Park?

After each round, we exchanged papers with a neighboring team to correct each others. As Marek read out the correct answers, there were whoops and hollers, and equal boos. We did attempt to argue our answer to one or two questions, but Judge Marek insisted there were no appeals, no rebuttals. I mean, who in the Rocky Mountain states actually believes that the purpose of tire tread is to channel away water rather than for traction in snow? In the end, a point or two wouldn't have helped much.

Shirley was (as usual) back in the kitchen, cooking up a storm. She took time between cooking and dishwashing to pose for a smiling photo, and ask if I was coming round hoping to get a few answers. Shirley! How could you think that! I only came back to compliment the chef.

In between each round and during dinner, we hovered over the photo page. Marek was elusive about who these people could be, calling them "celebrities" or people we would know. We went back and forth, narrowing it down to the eyes, the mouth, the ears, one fragment of recognition. In the end we just wrote down names. I have left both the name Team FLEMCO wrote and the correct name on the page. I leave it for you to decide. By the way, Team FLEMCO got 3 out of the 12 correct.

Le Rendez-Vous friendly and able staff (Sophie and Elyse) sped between tables, filling and refilling glasses and pitchets. Thinking builds up a powerful thirst. They finally had a chance later in the evening to rest their feet. Amazing that they were still bubbling with good cheer.

Billy and Sally's team scored our paper, and we generally caught this happy look on their faces, knowing full well we didn't stand a chance.

The Misfits team, concocting yet another humorous answer. For instance: Q: When are the Miranda Rights pronounced? Misfits response: during marriage. Well done. Better yet, when the correct answer (under arrest) was announced, there was this undercurrent of "what's the difference"?

Rumors were circulating that Nigel's baby photo might just have made it onto the famous photo sheet. Hint, hint....bottom row, middle. See any resemblance?
After a brief intermission, Marek announced that the standings were posted. Doug rushed in and looked at the sheet on the wall. He called out "Hey, we're in 4th". Then he looked closer. They weren't listed by cumulative scores, just a random team listing. We were indeed in the fourth slot on the list, but our point score of 26 landed us in 11th place.
That's right, not every team can win, or even come in second, or third, or fourth, fifth, sixth, and so on. I think you can see where this is going. Team FLEMCO came in dead last, 11th to be exact. It would have been 12th, but one team disqualified itself due to too many players. Perhaps we should have thought of an equally dignified excuse before it was too late.

The way I look at it, we can't get much worse. Can we just not be last again?


Anonymous said...

What a fun night. We need a good pub on Vashon Island for something like that. We just need a good pub. It must have been a blast even though you didn't win, you must have learned a lot about your pub friends and yourselves. What percentage of ex pats to French? lro

Anonymous said...

What a fun night. We need a good pub on Vashon Island for something like that. We just need a good pub. It must have been a blast even though you didn't win, you must have learned a lot about your pub friends and yourselves. What percentage of ex pats to French? lro

Anonymous said...

Sorry for the double comment, the dogs came in from outside and interrupted me, they hit the keys with the paws and get things all screwed up. lro

Simon said...

So sorry we couldn't stay until Thursday for the quiz but very pleased to see that my brother managed to pull himself away from the Man City match to attend.

If you want pics of Nigel as a baby (or with a perm) these can be arranged in exchange for a glass of 51 on our next visit

Peggy said...

I know, this is always harder than you think. I had to laugh at one picture, but was it Robin Williams or John Travolta? Kudos to Marek and Shirley for having these fun activities at the bar. Anna was on a winning team at her local Irish bar in Burlington, Vermont. Trivia night was a big deal.