(photo from here)

Every Monday night I’m easy to find: I’ll be at our local Irish pub playing Pub Quiz. What started out four years ago as just something to do on Monday evenings, has become an important part of my life in Brussels. It’s quality time with Andre and my best friend Ines (both also hard-core quizzers), it’s one reason to actually look forward to Mondays, and somehow it made me more “tuned-in” to what’s happening around me. Our pub also became our “Cheers”: a place where everybody knows your name and always reserves your favorite table.

We all have our specialities and mine are literature, art, Greek mythology and a back-up on pop culture. I’m also useful when we need to make apparently-random connections (e.g. “a dance, a sport, a building, a country… what’s next?”).

Once we had a whole round of naming the novel by its first sentence. A whole round on opening lines! It was a good night. I can still remember all of them:

  1. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”
  2. “It was a bright, cold day in April and the clocks were striking thirteen.”
  3. “If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.”
  4. “Marley was dead, to begin with.”
  5. “Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.
  6. “It was seven o’clock of a very warm evening in the Seeonee hills when Father Wolf woke up from his day’s rest, scratched himself, yawned, and spread out his paws one after the other to get rid of the sleepy feeling in their tips.”
  7. “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.”
  8. “It was a pleasure to burn.”
  9. “It was love at first sight.”
  10. “Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.”

I’m fascinated by opening lines and if you’re like me and love to be quizzed on them, this is the place to go. I could also spend hours on literary quizzes, like this and this.

Last night I was lucky enough to have 5 juicy book questions. They were:

  • Who wrote the 1937 novel Of Mice and Men? Check!
  • What do these three things have in common: a novel by Stephen King, a hit by Europe and Start Wars? Check!
  • Who was the biggest villain in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (apart from Voldemort)? Check!
  • What was the nationality of the poet Yeats? Check!
  • Who wrote the fairy tale Hans and Gretel? Wrong! I said Hans Christensen Anderson. 😦

These type of questions really make my quiz night. Just like winning the brown piece at Trivial. Do you also like playing Trivial Pursuit? We sometimes have intense games with friends that have been known to end in neighbours knocking on our door asking us to quiet down. Neighbours who live across the street…

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