Review #3 – The Gowlett SE15 – or not!

Tonight, I got burned, but I learned a valuable lesson. Don’t go to a quiz that you haven’t been to before without checking that it is definitely on.

For a long time I have been using the fantastic site QuizList, a very thorough directory of London pub quizzes. Today, keen to review another quiz, I checked QuizList for pubs in my area with Monday night quizzes and landed on The Gowlett. I have been there twice before and really liked it. It’s a nice backstreet local pub with a few things that set it apart, like original art on the walls and exhibitions in the upstairs room, and AMAZING stonebaked pizzas made to order at reasonable prices (I think around the £7 mark, and they are big.) Even better, it manages to be the sort of pub that has art exhibitions and stonebaked pizzas while remaining the sort of pub that actual south Londoners go to and hasn’t just been annexed by Lordship Lane types with long-haired toddlers of indeterminate gender with names like Matilda and Silas.

Anyway, I arrived at The Gowlett for about 8:30 and there was no quiz in sight, just half a dozen or some people sitting about having a quiet drink. I asked the barman if the quiz was on and he said that for the last nine months or so, the quiz had been monthly, and took place on Sundays. No quiz for me tonight.

The webmaster of QuizList clearly says on their site “Please check out whether the quiz is running or cancelled due to sport or whatever, with the pub, before you set out to a particular quiz listed.” 

I did not follow these good instructions, and so, I missed out. I also wasted a night when I could have actually gone and done a quiz. I still stayed for a bit and had a drink and played a couple of games of pool with my boyfriend and we had a nice time. However, I really wanted to do a quiz, and I didn’t get to do a quiz and I have no one to blame but myself. Lesson definitely learned: if going to a quiz you haven’t been to before and don’t know someone who goes regularly, ring them up and check it is on. Or you will suffer like I did.

Advertisements

Review #2 The Old Nun’s Head, Nunhead

The Old Nun’s Head, Nunhead (website, map)

Quiz starts 8:30, £2 per person entry. Two rounds of twenty questions divided into themed rounds. A round of five music questions in each half. A picture sheet given out at half time for ten points in the second half. First prize of £25 bar tab, entry fee also gets every player a raffle ticket to participate in ‘Play Your Cards Right’ at the end for a rolling jackpot.

Result: 4th place

I went to the quiz at the Old Nun’s Head with my lovely friends Kate and Mark who live close by. A while ago they’d been burned by a quiz they did in a pub in Haworth, which apparently featured questions like “What is the local dialing code for Haworth?” and “Which motorway links Haworth and Leeds?” so they were hoping for a better experience.  I’m assuming there was probably a round about the life of the man who runs the post office in Haworth. The Old Nun’s Head definitely did a bit better in that respect.

The quizmaster at the Old Nun’s Head was Luke, an actor (check out his showreel here! he’s been on Doctors!) Luke did a good job – his acting training clearly helped him speak loudly and clearly, despite a couple of microphone issues, and he was friendly (though not as friendly as Simon, who really set the bar.) I feel it would be remiss of me to not mention that he is also pretty good looking.

The quiz consisted of two halves of twenty questions, divided into rounds of five questions, except for the picture round which was ten. The rounds in the first half were: Brit Awards anagrams, History, Song Intros and Film Quotes. The second half had Kids’ TV, Music, and the picture round, which was Cartoon Characters.

The questions seemed to have a wildly fluctuating level of difficulty, with the easiest being “Which film featured the line ‘Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn’?.” Somewhere in the middle there were nice, slightly tough ones that were possible to get right with an educated guess (“Who was pictured on the first British stamp?” Queen Victoria, btw,) but the Children’s TV round had a couple of real stinkers. One involved knowing the names of individual Moomins. A bit much.

I think the rounds were a reasonable mix but was a bit annoyed that 15 of the 40 questions were about children’s tv/cartoons. Either would be fine but to have both rounds in one quiz was excessive. Also, they were the kind of questions that if I don’t know the answers, I’m annoyed if I’m not getting the points but other than that I don’t really care. If I scored badly in a round about Charles Dickens, or world capitals, it would probably make me think “ooh, that’s interesting, and something I should probably learn more about.” If I can’t answer a question about Worzel Gummidge, I definitely do not have the same reaction. I think a quiz should, to a certain extent, inspire you to learn more exciting things about the world. Worzel Gummidge and Moomins don’t really do that, for me at least.

I did enjoy the anagram round – a real gold star to the quiz compiler for putting it first and thus letting us having something to puzzle over for a while. They were also great puzzles because they weren’t just the names of bands of artists, they were all things Brits-related. For example, one was ‘BARRACK THE TOUGH.’* The great thing about anagram questions is you know you can get the answer if you just put in a bit of time looking at the letters again and again and working it out, and we were delighted to get all five of them eventually!

Going with the five-star rating system, I’d give the Old Nun’s Head a 3/5. I really enjoyed the mix of different types of question (standard, anagram, picture, music), and the quizmaster did a good consistent job.

Postives: Mix of types of questions, very lively, lots of music questions

Negatives: Needed a bit more crowd control as people talked over the questions and music, 15 points on children’s TV was too much, quizzes that advertise a large jackpot that can only be won by winning a long gambling game annoy me a bit.

*Breakthrough Act