Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Bird, Horse or Muffin?

Dan leans over and whispers:
'You can tell it's an art crowd: there's someone behind me doing their knitting.'
I look over his shoulder at the table behind and, yes, sure enough, there's a girl sitting there with her mates doing some knitting.
So, definitely an art crowd. Which isn't surprising seeing as we are at one of Rational Rec's art quiz nights at The Bethnal Green Working Men's Club. I have managed to gather together a few people from the ICA to come along and pit our collective wits. In fact, I've been so successful in getting these volunteers that we actually have two teams. Twice the chance of winning!!!
But before the quiz starts, it's time for music from The Mixed Up Insects, who play a mashed up/mixed up version of (I think, but could be totally wrong) The Police's Message in a Bottle - it's pretty diabolical at first but actually ends up quite interesting, as layers of other songs drift in and out. I'm pleasantly surprised. Some of the others in the team, however, look as though they are in physical pain.
Quiz master for the night is Richard 'one-man subversive-think-tank-primarily-dedicated-to-the-development-and-implementation-of-innovative-strategies-designed-to-undermine-accepted-belief-systems-and-topple-existing-power-structures' Dedomenici, standing up on stage with a mic and a set of fiendish questions.
Yeah, those questions...
I mean, how do you answer this:
Dedomenici: 'What artist am I thinking of?' Slight pause. 'Right, next question.'
I mean, how the hell?
The answer turned out, eventually, to be Picasso - and we had a narrow miss: Catrin from the ICA had threatened to come along and drunkenly shout out 'Picasso' to every question...if only she had followed through on this, she could have bagged at least one point.
Then a question about a novelist - I don't remember who - and the poser: is a particular novel of theirs a bird, horse or muffin?
Eh? Does anyone know what this is about?
By this time I'm beginning to think that there are no answers to any of these questions at all, but change my mind when I nail one with the correct 'Bo Derek and Dudley Moore in 10.'
Where did that come from?
This is not the sort of art quiz I was expecting. I'd stayed up the whole night reading the Art Since 1900 cover to cover. Pah! What a waste!
Anyway, it goes on, with the later questions being set by Dedomenici himself. So a particular thanks to him for such easy ones as 'What is the range of the guns on HMS Belfast?'
For future reference, fact lovers, it's 23 miles...
Art schmart quiz, I think to myself.
We get to the end and pass our question papers to the next table.
As the answers are read out I let out a sharp, breathy 'YES!' in the hope that everyone will think we got loads right...
But unfortunately we didn't get loads right.
Our team got five and half. Our other team got nine.
The winning team, behind us, got twenty four.
How the hell did they do that?
I look across at them.
Ah yes...
Next time I'm bringing my fucking knitting.


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