Posts from 13th August 2002

Aug 02

Week of quiz – Night Two

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 701 views

Week of quiz – Night Two A well supported night of quiz ends with limited success. First, we went to the Settle Inn on Archway Road. The last time I went to the Settle Inn, it proved to be a particularly enjoyable quiz, which was why it was disappointing that it turned out they were taking a summer break and there would be no quiz til September. A real shame.

As a result, we headed over to Crouch End for the quiz at The Railway Tavern. The quiz was seemingly marred by one team shouting out the answers+abuse throughout, although I can’t say I really noticed. The landlord made a point of telling this team off, which I thought was good form. The quiz itself was sound enough. The format tonight, as usual, was six rounds (“including an unthemed picture round”) plus an accumulatator (aka attend this quiz for ten weeks in a row and there’s a chance you’ll win a hundred quid).

Good questions overall, although the categories did not really play to our strengths (“sport”, “current affairs”, “around europe”). A respectable joint second place was achieved. Hangover is pending…

Leicester Square

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 673 views

Leicester Square is generally a very poor place to try to get a drink. Pete is right that De Hems is your best bet in this area. Further options range between the limited number of other OK-but-very-full pubs or the numerous unspeakable-but-full pubs. Particular offenders are the chain pubs in the vicinity (ABO, Wetherspoons, Hogshead), which offer both a crowdy, noisy and smoky drinking environment and offer you the chance to buy THE THREE POUND PINT.

The Pumpkin Pubs Cnut-like campaign against THE THREE POUND PINT starts here.

De Hems is back up and running I noticed

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 201 views

De Hems is back up and running I noticed on a quick trip around London. Its a pub I have very mixed feelings about. To all intents and purposes it is a theme bar after all. The big exception is that there aren’t an awful lot of Dutch theme bars around. The peril of the theme pub is that they peddle a very one sided view of the nationality they represent, and often the stereotypical drunkenness of said culture. This can be the only explanation for the bizarre popularity of Irish and Australian theme pubs.

The Dutch on the other hand have a reputation for somewhat different forms of recreation (korfball and marijuana both spring to mind) and therefore there is not a similar boozy culture to be exported. Instead what you get is a selection of Dutch premium lagers, well served and a fair bit of history dotted about the place. This pub was apparently the home of the Dutch resistance in London during World War Two, which isn’t bad going when it comes to picking a home base I suppose. Possibly not as handy for Chinese food in 1941 though.

The worst aspect of De Hems is how full it often is. Its long thing shape is not conducive to milling about and the care taken with pouring the Oranjeboom often means the average round takes a lot longer than it might do elsewhere. So if the bar is three deep your often going to have to employ tricksy shimmies to get back to your uncomfortably propped friends. Upstairs is a touch better when it is open – which is not often. The refurb appears to have merely cleaned a few aspects up, nothing major has changed in the pub. Not a place I go to often but central London’s drinking culture is improved by its existence. When it was shut during Trig Brother 2 a quick decision had to be made for the nearest pub as a replacement. The fact that we picked The Dive Bar – equally idiosyncratic if in Dantian terms – shows something about the pubs in the area.

MR HECTIC – Discovery

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 395 views

What was the most startling thing about Eminem’s ‘Stan’? The supposed sensitivity of the formerly cartoon yob? The genuine sentiment in its lyrics? The role-playing and success of Slim Shady being able to emote in both roles (not that we should be surprised at his ability to inhabit characters – he has been telling us that it was his shtick
from Day One)? Its deceptive gentleness, the way that the sample lulled in generations who still do the C-Rap joke? Or was it that there was this sweet sample in itself, given room to breath and chop out an entire chorus without Eminem spoiling it.

We did not know then who Dido was and more importantly what she would become, but beyond all the depths of the lyrics and the rap – it is the Dido sample that initially impresses. It is also about the only part of ‘Stan’ that is easily emulated. Find an obscure, sweet chorus elsewhere and take it and its instrumentation to underpin your rap. Problem is that no matter how good your sample is, if you start with it and reintroduce it in full in exactly the same sequence as ‘Stan’ then you are unfortunately going to draw comparisons to yourself. And while I can spend ages holding the snatch of Dido’s ‘Thank You’ to the Frente-esque sample in Discovery, this track is credited to Mr.Hectic.

A new name to me out of the legion of UK Hip-Hop that has very recently been introduced to me, Hectic unfortunately fails to capitalise on any other aspect of Eminem’s work which might have given him a hand. Yes this is another UK Hip-Hop track about a lousy upbringing (teachers don’t get a very good rep in UK hip-hop). True – Hectic brings the subject of suicide into the song later, but merely as a first person device to show how desperate he is – it is held up somewhat disconcertingly as yet another piece of braggadocio. Told in muggy, thickset raps with enough lyrical dexterity to get your Key Stage 3 in rap but barely up to GCSE standard – Discovery does not go anywhere, limping back to its admittedly naggingly pretty sample. Naggingly pretty but shockingly twee too, employing the kind of voice and metaphors that made Sarah Records name in the eighties. All I want to discover from the track is the provenance of this sample to hunt out and confirm to myself that the rest of the track is quite as limp too. Hectic has produced an interesting hybrid, definitely better than his rap and probably better than the source of the sample. But actually not all that good overall.

Why hasn’t this been done before?

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 360 views

Why hasn’t this been done before? Quizlist – The London PubQuiz List is an invaluable resource to both the casual quizzer and anyone attempting a Week of Quiz. Useful reviews, helpfully North London-centric, with full details of timings and format for over sixty London quizzes. Good stuff indeed.

[BTW The answer to the current quiz question on the homepage is Stephen Baldwin, in a film that I won’t mention…]

Week of Quiz

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 650 views

Week of Quiz It has long been threatened but now it actually seems like it might happen; seven quizzes in seven nights. Last night we were off to a flying start at The Bailey on Holloway Road. I’d not been to the Bailey before, although I passed it on the bus on many occasions and thought it might be worth a look.

On arrival, I was a bit worried that the quiz might not be on. There were no signs up and everyone seemed engrossed in the TV – Sky Sports on one telly, World War 2 in Color(TM) on the other. Some loud and unnecessary indie music was being played too (inc. The Farm and Dodgy – not even “Good Enough”, they played “In A Room”!) We decided to sample the Thai food (delicious!) and see what developed.

Fortunately for us, the quizmaster (known as “The Fat Controller” to regulars) arrived and the quiz commenced. No entrance fee, ten pictures for the first round, three rounds of ten questions in categories to follow and a jackpot question. Whilst the topics appeared easy (“adverts”, “movies of the 90s”), the questions were of a good difficulty level (i.e. we got some of them right). One or two questions were a bit sloppily worded (“Which soft drink is advertised using oranges”?!) but the rest were good. The atmosphere was most cordial and there wasn’t too much aggro when two newcomers (us) scraped the victory plus cash prize. Highly recommended.