Late at the Gate: Ye Olde Tavern Quiz

For May’s Cog Night we took Matt to the Museum of the Order of St John for his first ever ‘pub’ quiz. He tells us what he made of the event.

Before the contest. The Cog team(s), below St John's Gate.

Before the contest. The Cog team(s), below St John's Gate.

One of our favourite clients, the Museum of the Order of St John, is housed in St John’s Gate (once the entrance to the early 16th Century Priory of the Knight or St John).

As part of the annual Museums at Night festival, organised by Brighton-based Culture24, the museum team had organised a ‘pub’ quiz . It was a great excuse the celebrate the heritage of the building; through its long history, St John’s Gate was also home to Ye Olde Jerusalem Tavern, watering hole for the likes of Dickens.

Becca, Emily and Matt freshly arrived and full of optimism.

Q. What is the computer system that took over the planet in Terminator?
A. Skynet

I remember that because a shop down my old road held that name. This was always worrying because it appeared that I would be one of the first to fall to the robots who had been quietly self-aware since 2:14am eastern time, August 29th 1997.

And that was the limit of my knowledge.

Q. Who wrote Asterix the Gaul*
I didn’t know

Q. What’s the only one-word anagram of Geraniums**?
I can’t even remember the answer now.

The ‘So Called Quizlamic State’ knew. That was the name of the team on the table next to us. They also knew the answers for most of the other questions. Humiliatingly, we were the team that they swapped papers with when it was time to mark.

As you are guessing, it turned out that I was as successful in my first pub quiz as I was in my first go-karting race four days earlier. (I got stuck in the barriers for five minutes out of sight of all marshals which was actually quite helpful after the race as an excuse to cover the fact that I had already been overtaken by everyone else). Similarly, in a team-based quiz, my ignorance was partly covered by the knowledge held by my fellow team members. But perhaps not covered enough as we came last.

The more knowledgeable second Cog team, Jack, Tom, Dan and Anna, drinking their winnings.

If there was ever a place to enjoy your first pub quiz the Museum of the Order of St John’s Chapter Hall is it.

The room was hugely impressive. Any half decent pub has its own picture of a royal pulling a pint. But the Chapter Hall boasts a larger than life oil painting of Elizabeth II wearing the symbol of the Order.

As we entered we were entertained by live music and friendly smiles. We have worked with the Museum since 2010 and they have always been at the top of the favourite client list. So it was no surprise that their events are warm and welcoming.

The whole studio attended the quiz, too many people for a single team so we had to split into two. The other Cog team, unburdened by the albatross of my quiz ability, did far better than us.

Dan, holding his team’s winning shield design.

They even won a side competition where you had to design your team’s shield – winning a round of free drinks. Maybe it’s no surprise that the Coggers showed expertise in the design challenge (I pretend to myself that my own team’s shield came a very close second).

The whole experience was a smoothly run, fun night out.

The quiz-master was a charming Rik Mayall look-a-like who strolled around the hall with a Madonna-style face-mic. Both friendly and firm: his word was final.

Most of his questions were broad and varied although a few additions were related to the museum. A picture round had us guessing at country names from unrecognisable Rorschach-style black blotches. They turned out to be outlines of far-flung locations where the Order was active.

I sneaked out (embarrassed at our team’s placing) while the rest of the Coggers were still dressing up in regal attire and taking selfies.

Anna dressed as a Cog Knight, and Tom perhaps being Henry VIII.

It took me a while to get to the door. I became distracted by the museum’s collections , wishing I had more time to explore them. I must go back during daylight hours. I just hope they don’t test my knowledge while I’m there.

*René Goscinny
** Measuring

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