Pub Quiz

So I thought I'd write something about the English Pub Quiz in Reykjavík, because it's been a fun thing in my life pretty much ever since I got here, but I don't think I've ever mentioned it on here before. This post will largely be a collection of anecdotes from my life, set in pubs, which I am sure you will all find fascinating, but let's open with a bit of introductory information about the quiz. It is generally on once a month, although not a set time every month. When I first came to Reykjavík, it was held in Den Danske Kro on Ingólfsstræti, which had a nice atmosphere but was far too small with not enough chairs. These days the quiz is held in Oliver on Laugavegur, which is a bit shiny, but at least everyone can sit down and there's a good two for one drinks offer. Currently it appears to be undergoing renovations, though, which meant the January quiz was sadly cancelled. 

I am generally a fan of pub quizzes, although I have yet to be on a winning team. Probably my best result was in Sheffield, when me and my friends Tim and Sam won eight pints between us, largely thanks to Sam's masterful ability to guess the number of pages in the barmaid's copy of a John Steinbeck novel. The heady thrill of winning free beer when we were already a bit drunk left such a positive impression that we went back to the same quiz every week afterwards. We never won anything again, but there were always free cheese and pickle sandwiches afterwards, and it was just generally a really nice pub, one of the few in Sheffield with real cider on tap. The Cobden View, if you're ever up in Crookes. I actually went to this quiz on the saddest birthday of my life so far. Sad because I spent most of the day working in lonely desperation on my masters thesis, and it really cheered me up and the boys fed me a nice dinner and Tim had made me a cake, so the birthday was saved.

Questions wise, though, the Reykjavík quiz definitely has the edge. Rounds are organised loosely by themes, not so much subjects, so you never get bored listening to loads of sports questions in a row; you can also take the theme as a bit of a clue about the answer. The first time I went, I was with Brynna and we didn't have a team, so we trailed around the bar trying to find someone who'd have us. We ended up with some Scots who seemed to be personally offended by my nationality, and just generally a bit aggressive. So it was kind of awkward, and the next time we made sure to have a better plan in place. By now I know enough people here that it's usually pretty easy to make up a team.

Sometimes, though, if you turn up without a whole team planned, it can be pretty good. Once Ahmad and I went and ended up being joined by an American journalist who was here for a few days doing an article about Jews in Iceland. Which seems like quite a small topic, to be honest, but he had some interesting things to say on the subject. Anyway, we took him out the next night to show him a bit of Reykjavík. We started off with an evening trip to Laugardalslaug (a swimming pool) and then went to a few bars (Kaffibarinn, Hressó and Bakkús as I recall), before finishing up at Barbara. We drank beer and danced to pop music until our new American friend abruptly left with a young, young Icelander, who kept insisting that he was "nineteen on Sunday", so that was all right. I have shared this anecdote with people before, and it seems not be as funny in the telling as I found it at the time. The alcohol may have been a factor.

But back to the pub quiz. Once my team actually came second, which earned us a third of the entry money taken! This was a very exciting development and there were calls to immediately spend all of our winnings on more beer. In the end, though, most of us went back to Bjarni and Ewelina's flat to drink their beer instead (and eat their beetroot soup, which was incredible). The next month hopes of continuing our upward trajectory were sadly dashed, but I remain convinced that we definitely could win. The secret of success, aside from generally having people who know a lot of things, is having people on your team from as many different places as possible. Lack of an American has caused trouble for me in the past.

If you're an English-speaking visitor to Reykjavík, I would definitely recommend checking the facebook group to see if the quiz is happening whilst you're there. If you like that sort of thing.

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