The Musts and the Pub Quiz

Sunday 23 October 2011

Blog IV: The Musts and The Pub Quiz

5 Musts while in Edinburgh (according to the International Office)

Climb Arthur’s Seat
Attend a Ceilidh
Eat Haggis
Visit a castle other than Edinburgh castle
Visit another part of Scotland

THE Must while in Edinburgh (according to me)

Attend a Pub Quiz

I realize that while the International Office gave a list of five things you must do while in Edinburgh, I only gave one, I know it seems that either a) I just really like pub quizzes or b) there must not be anything else to really do in Edinburgh. The answer: neither a nor b, actually the reason that I only suggested one thing is because, in fact, there are far too many musts to do in Edinburgh and if I were to list all of them I would then end up discussing them and this blog would turn into a short novel about why Edinburgh is fantastic. So in order to save myself three hours that could and should but probably won’t be used towards studying I have chosen to just list the one thing which is the focus of this blog anyway. This of course brings up the question: why did I list the musts presented by the international office? Well I first of all did want to touch on these activities a bit in this blog but also I just thought that it would be an interesting opening, and all of the things they suggest are things I would suggest as well so it saves some time.

Since I began the blog and ended the last paragraph with the list of musts from the international office I will quickly discuss them. First of all, Arthur’s Seat is a hill in Hollyrood park right next to Mary Queen of Scots’ house, Hollyrood Palace. It isn’t the biggest hill in Scotland but none the less it is quite a climb, I personally haven’t climbed it yet because I keep getting confused which hill is Arthur’s seat (it’s a jubilee of hills that leads up to the highest point, that is Arthur’s seat don’t get distracted by all the others). Even though I haven’t climbed it yet I have heard that the view from the top is absolutely breath taking and I can only imagine that this is true because I have been about half way up the hill and found my breath being taken away, mostly from the view but a little bit from the very strong wind that was blowing that day. The next thing suggested on the list is to attend a Ceilidh (pronounced like the name Callie) which is a traditional Scottish dance. As of yet I haven’t attended one though there was a Ceilidh room at the Fresher’s Ball but this coming Wednesday my building- South Clerk Street- is having a Halloween Ceilidh which I’m going to, so stay tuned to hear about that. Next, of course while in Scotland you have to at least try the traditional Scottish dish of haggis which in short is ground up lamb innards mixed with oats and made into a sausage type thing. I know it sounds absolutely disgusting but it is absolutely fantastic! Though I am of course biased and it is my pompous and biased belief that you only like haggis if you are Scottish though this most likely is false, either way you need to try it. The next two suggestions can sort of co-inside with each other; visit a castle other than Edinburgh castle and visit another part of Scotland. Since I’ve been to Scotland three times already before moving here I have seen a large portion of it; most of the mainland and about three or four of the islands, and with this extensive traveling around I have seen many castles. Scotland not only a vast amount of castles but also a large variety of castles; there are some that are still lived in and in tip top condition like Glamis Castle (the one in Shakespeare’s Macbeth), some that are falling apart and are nothing but ruins, and others that are in the middle area. And some of the best castles in Scotland are in the surrounding area of Edinburgh in Perth Shire; Glamis Castle, Scone Palace – where all of the Scottish Kings were crowned- and many others.

So now that I have gotten that small explanation out of the way in the briefest- and probably slightly confusing- manner that I could I’m going to move on the main subject of this blog: the pub quiz. Originally this was going to be a comparative piece between the South Clerk Street Pub Quiz and the Literature Society Pub Quiz, but I ended up not attending the Literature Society’s quiz so this is just a blog about a single pub quiz. Before I start to recreate my experience with the pub quiz, I should explain what a Pub Quiz (or a PQ from now on) is. A PQ is literally a quiz in a pub, basically what happens is everyone who attends is in a team and the people running the quiz will have a couple different themes sections with a predetermined amount of questions –for example three sections: the first on sports, the second on politics, and the third on art- so the groups answer the questions on an individual sheet of paper, turn that in at the end of each section and at the end of the quiz whoever has the most points wins, it’s that simple. The SCS (south clerk street) PQ was at the pub ‘Room at 34’, which apparently is famous for their candy alcoholic drinks or something, I think this means that you can get sweet alcoholic drinks with candy in them, on Thursday 6 October at 7:15pm. My plan was to just attend and watch because a) I didn’t have a group and b)… I didn’t have a group. When I got into the lobby there were about three teams already there and at 7:20 or so we all started walking over to the pub but the majority of people had to stop to get money; so I ended up looking like a total creeper because I was following behind a group of about four people which I didn’t know, I may have made them uncomfortable, which in itself made my night. But away from me being a creeper. We quickly arrived at the pub and discovered that we were the first people there (the group in front of me was the first team and I was the first-and as it turned out the only- individual- yes everyone else came in pre-determined teams). Now some people may be uncomfortable with the thought of showing up as a single to an obvious group event but I’m not one of these people, this worked to my advantage very quickly. I am going to go off for a second to do some fill in work before I continue; so for the building of SCS we have two RAs: Katie and Andy, this important because many of the girls-including myself- find Andy attractive, this is what is important to the PQ story. Returning to the PQ, Andy was the RA that was at the pub to welcome everyone and tell them where to sit, I was very excited when I saw this because first of all since I was alone he would immediately notice me and secondly I had a reason to approach and talk to him. So right when I walked in the door I made a beeline for the attractive authority and asked him what to do if I just wanted to watch (note: if you are attracted to someone hosting a PQ or something that involves teams go alone because they will need to give you special attention until they join you with a team, you are now an individual to them). Andy responded that it wasn’t very fun to watch and about seven or so other people had said that they were going to come but didn’t have a team and just wanted to watch so when they showed up we could all join together, the reject PQ team who had no one else to join with (my words not his). As it turned out these seven never showed up and as the pub started to get busier and the start time for the quiz grew closer Andy seemed to be getting a little anxious about my lack of a group (good news for me because it meant that I was on his mind, for a while at least). Finally, before the quiz began, he returned to where I was sitting for like the third time and told me that he had found a team that I could join. He pointed them out and I figured that I would just go over myself and introduce myself, nope, Andy walked me over to them and introduced me, it was quite lovely. But since I was now part of a team I my individuality was stripped and I became (in Andy’s mind) just another part of the whole of the team Slag (yes we decided to name our team Slag or slut, awesome). Though my mind was taken away from Andy when I joined the team and the quiz began. I was lucky to be placed with the group that I was because first of all I had already met a few of the guys during fresher’s week (though they didn’t remember me because they had all been pretty drunk at the time) and second of all because they were all just nice. Throughout the two hours that the quiz lasted those in my group talked to me and most important acknowledged my presence which can always be a hit or miss, they included me as if I was one of their pre-determined chosen team mates. With regards to the quiz though I failed, I barely knew anything which got me thinking about the vast amounts of general knowledge that students have here compared to the States but with this realization I paralleled the absence of wider arrays of knowledge that students in the States are forced into. What I mean is that though many students here seem to have an overall good understanding of a vast amount of things like; current geography, politics, film, architecture and science they don’t have a general understanding of philosophy, science, math, English, etc. like we do in the states because they start working towards their major when they are about 14. So while I know who Kant is or what existentialism stands for and can associate those things to the literature I am reading without having to do a crash course in it, or while I know about Darwin and his evolutionary theory because I had to take two science classes (both of which ended up being a form of biology) in college; students here don’t do that so their knowledge is much more limited to their specific major. I’m not commenting on this being a good or a bad thing I was just observing this while I was failing at assisting to answer the questions during the PQ. The PQ was divided into six parts (though I’m not sure that I can remember all of them) there was: general knowledge, science and …something I can’t, geography, sports and food (for the first part of this section we had to mould a piece of tin foil into something that pertained to food and sport so our group made a hot dog because of the hot dog eating contests in the States), film, and history I think. By the end of the quiz everyone started to get a bit rowdy and a large group of questionably dressed females (with a male here and there) came into the pub so it got really loud and the final section of the quiz which was film became exceedingly difficult because a few of the groups (mine included) couldn’t hear the questions. My team didn’t win, sadly, we had many moments of the answer being at the tip of our brains and then when the answers were given we inconveniently remembered that we knew that; but either way it was a lot of fun and we didn’t come in last either so that was a plus (we were second to last throughout the whole quiz). At the end of the PQ I considered leaving immediately but one of the members in my team somehow had moved and was suddenly sitting next to me (contrived on his part perhaps) and he started to talk to me, so I hung out for a bit longer.

So though there are loads of things to do in Edinburgh and an equal amount of ‘musts’, one of the must ‘musts’ that is totally worth it and a great way to meet people and spend an evening (with booze) is attending a Pub Quiz.