Saturday, 9 February 2013

Underground: Lifting the Lid on London

If the Londonist are organising it, you know it's going to be good fun. And so it was with Underground: Lifting the Lid on London, a quiz themed around the London Underground and subterranean London in general, which took place last Thursday, 7 February, at the Bishopsgate Institute (near Liverpool Street) and was hosted by Matt Brown, editor of the Londonist website. It was my third underground themed outing so far this year. There have been many special events planned to celebrate and commemorate the 150th anniversary of the London Underground and there are plenty of others out there for those wanting to learn more. The ones I've been to have all been really interesting and I'll blog about those when time allows. 

I went along to the quiz tonight with Paul, Tess and Matt, 3 friends from work (Matt actually arrived half way through proceedings, due to another commitment). We've attended a Londonist quiz before (at Foyles Bookshop last year), which was Charles Dickens themed, and came second by just 1 point, so were quietly confident of doing well this evening. Paul, Tess and myself loosened up the old brain cells with a drink beforehand in Dirty Dicks, a watering hole just a stone's throw from the Institute. Not that my own brain cells needed much more in the way of loosening you understand. Like the rest of me. I digress. Once inside the venue, we passed into the Great Hall (where the quiz was taking place) and found a table. It wasn't long before we spied an area inside next to the entrance, selling wine, beer and soft drinks. So it was more 'brain food' before finally settling down.

The event turnout was excellent and had sold out in advance. There were 10 people on each table and on ours were a nice young couple, Ollie and Jade, who had come along on their own and were looking to join another team. We were happy to recruit them into our motley rabble, so we were now 6 strong (well, 5 until Matt turned up at the second half). Surely this meant we were in contention to have another crack at the first prize? All this knowledge in one place. It was potentially overwhelming.

Londonist Matt began with the questions and it soon became clear that they were probably just a teensy weensy bit harder than we were expecting. We bravely soldiered on. Then the interval arrived and we topped up the brain capacity with still more wine etc. But was it helping? Only time would tell. Then our 6th team member arrived (the other Matt) and we dived into the second round. We still hadn't decided on a team name and realised one was required before the quiz ended. Matt Brown had hinted he was quite fond of a bit of smutty humour and mildly encouraged the audience to consider that when coming up with their team names. It was Jade who eventually came forth with 'Going Down' - a great suggestion. But, in a moment of inspiration, I came back with "what about 'while you're down there'?" which seemed to delight everyone. It thus became our official team name. You see, it's inventiveness of that nature that has destined me for the world of blogging.

The last question was asked and papers swapped with other teams for marking. Half way through the process we slowly realised we probably weren't going to walk away with the first prize after all. Or even 15th prize. Ollie and Jade sadly had to dash off straight after the quiz finished (as did Tess) but Paul, Matt and myself headed back to Dirty Dicks, where Matt (Brown) had encouraged everyone at the quiz to pop along afterwards and join him for a drink. Matt had very kindly come over earlier in the evening to say hello and was happy to have a picture or two taken after the quiz for this blog post. A genial host, as always. Thank you Matt!

Over at Dirty Dicks I also met another nice person (and hopefully new friend!), in the shape of Joanna, who occasionally writes for the Londonist and is a Westminster tour guide. She has since given me some very useful advice about my own blog writing which has proved invaluable to a novice like myself. Her own blog and more information about her in general can be found here.

It was the mad dash for the last train as usual, but an enjoyable evening and I'm now looking forward to the next Londonist planned event. Later in the year I'm reliably told.


  1. Thanks for the mention and link!

  2. No worries Jo! Have you noticed some of the changes you suggested? Hope to see you next week. :)