If you’re in a relationship then Valentine’s Day can be an opportunity to showcase just how much of an old fashioned romantic you are at heart. Maybe this year it will be a candle lit dinner? Or a candle lit bath? Rose petals in your cornflakes? The only thing stopping you is the limit of your imagination and possibly the withering looks of your partner as you try and fit another tea light on the rim of the bath. For MRC Valentine’s Day meant a battle of wits with the finest legal minds that Greater Manchester has to offer. Nestor had organised a quiz evening for the Child Brain Injury Trust with various legal firms and associated medico-legal companies competing to show off their high and mighty intellect. Just in case that wasn’t possible there was also a consolation prize. If the opportunity to preen in front of the office as you rattled off answer after answer wasn’t enough motivation, there was also to be a full sized hog roast (clearly the craze for all things pork, pulled or otherwise, is still in full swing.)
Leaving the office for Deansgate Locks there was only one topic of conversation that had to be resolved. What was the team name going to be? Choosing a name for a quiz team is a centuries old British tradition. It’s got to be bawdy but not too racy and if you can incorporate the word ‘quiz’ in there somewhere then all the better for it. After having all my suggestions rejected for being apparently ‘inappropriate’ (I would love to put a couple here but I don’t think they’d survive the editing process) we decided to settle on the puntastic if slightly, or even ironically, dated ‘Quizteama Aguillera’. Thankfully the rest of the team names were all equal in their ability to induce an eye roll and a groan. Amazingly one firm had decided to eschew the naming tradition and just go with the name of their company so if you’re reading this then hats off to you for bucking social convention and striking out into unknown territory. Or maybe it was for legal reasons.
The quiz was run by the alliteratively named “Barry Brothers” and the jury is still out on whether they were real brothers or not. Either way as the first one took to the mic, the room was filled with a voice that sounded like Stephen Fry if he were just a couple of octaves lower. I’m still unsure whether this was an affectation but you had to give it to him; this was a voice for the very best of quiz masters. It made diving into the first round of the quiz like slipping into a warm verbal bath. To start with we were given a sheet of Dingbats (which I am terrible at but luckily Rhys took them on with aplomb) and a sheet of quotes that were either from Alan Partridge or Richard Madeley. It was quite startling when the answers were read out to hear what Madeley had said on television and yet he somehow manages to remain on our screens. The questions themselves ranged from standard quiz fare, “What’s the name of the largest volcano in the solar system?”, through to classical Greek mythology, “What’s the name of the place underneath Hades?”, and on to the dreaded sports round, “What’s the name of the swimmer who has represented Britain for over 20 years and swum with Rebecca Adlington?” Luckily it seemed like we had assembled a team from our office that managed to account for each other’s shortcomings. I was definitely useless in the sports round but at least managed to dredge up a couple of answers for the Greek Mythology round.
With the quiz finally over and the Barry Brothers off somewhere tallying up the scores, it was time to try and win a spa weekend in the raffle. Of course “trying” meant sitting at the table clutching my strip of raffle tickets like everybody else. But alas this was not to be my night; the closest I got to winning a £100 Selfridges voucher or a round of golf was when my number was called out causing a brief jerk of movement out of my seat before the crushing realisation that it was the wrong colour. Pink 132, I will never forget thee.
With the scores all added up it was time to start the humiliation celebrating. It was palpable in the atmosphere that everybody was dreading the prospect of being the team to come last. Never mind that obviously some team had to, no one wants it to be them. As Barry Brother #1 brought the mic to his lips and uttered the name of the team in last place there erupted a few cheers and a lot of good natured jeering. Moving on through the list ratcheted up the tension in our team as it transpired we weren’t last or second to last or even third to last. The thought that we could have even possibly won briefly entered the conversation before being shooed away, best not to get our hopes up. And then it happened: “In joint sixth place were three teams: Quizteama Aquilera and … (I can’t for the life of me remember the other two team names that we drew with).” We were elated! Of course it’s not the winning but the taking part that counts (yawn) but coming in the top half of the teams had certainly left us feeling not too intellectually outclassed by the legal world.
The evening was a truly delightful one for a truly special cause. CBIT puts itself at the vanguard of care for children suffering from brain injuries. The severity of such cases can leave families feeling overwhelmed with support being sometimes hard to garner. CBIT steps into this role of support with a dedication that is astounding. I’m sure every other participant was glad to have taken part in such a night.
Written by George Gordon