by Gwyn Headley
Tags: ach-y-fi, ambrosia, Arcadia, bacchanalia, BAPLA Quiz, Beverley Ballard, British Library, Camera Press, Charlotte Lippmann, Damien Gaillard, fotoLibra, Four Corners Images, goddesses, gods, Gwyn Headley, hoi polloi, ivory towers, Martyn Goddard, Mary Evans, National Portrait Gallery, nectar, nymphs, Offside Sports Images, picture library, satyrs, Steve Lake, stock agency, Superstock, sylvan glades, The Bridgman Art Library, Yvonne Seeley
Life working in a picture library isn’t just wine and roses, you know. There’s only so much disporting ourselves in sylvan glades we can get through in a day, and there can be such a thing as a surfeit of ambrosia and an excess of nectar. From time to time we are forced to descend from our ivory citadels and face the gritty reality of everyday life, away from our cloistered, chauffeured and charmed lives, and deal with Ordinary People, who have to get by on Wine. And Beer. Occasionally we even have to confront what we believe is called Hard Work.
Such a day came yesterday evening, in the guise of the BAPLA (British Association of Picture Libraries & Agencies) Quiz. Goodness, we had to work! It was so-o-o Hard! A nasty man kept asking us difficult questions — a proper interrogation it was — and he ignored me when I plaintively demanded more nectar and ambrosia, making me drink Beer and Wine instead, and asking me more hard questions. I won’t be doing that again in a hurry.
From a human PoV this event was much like a pub quiz, except the participants were all picture libraries and picture researchers; the nymphs, satyrs, gods and goddesses of the image world. We congregated at the Yorkshire Grey in Theobalds Road, hard by Gray’s Inn in the centre of London, on Earth.
All the teams had exotic names, coincidentally mirroring the names we use back home in Arcadia.
Graham, Llinos and Jacqui couldn’t be coaxed from their dreaming spires, so the fotoLibra team consisted of:
- Charlotte Lippmann, Picture Researcher
- Beverley Ballard, Picture Researcher
- Martyn Goddard, Photographer
- Damien Gaillard, fL Technical Development Manager
- Yvonne Seeley, fL Marketing Director, and
- Gwyn Headley (that’s me), fl MD.
Each team had to have a minimum of two picture researchers, and so we are very grateful to Beverley and Charlotte for putting up with us.
The questions were compiled and enforced by Steve Lake of 4 Corners Images, and he was merciless. No, implacable. No, unrelenting. Yes, all three, and more.
For example, we were shown Photos of Celebs When Young. We got 3 out of 20 right. Who on earth knew that José Mourinho used to have horns?
Then followed questions of every sort, such as “What does the term Lyonnaise mean when applied to French cooking?”
We had a secret weapon here. Damien, our TDM, is from Lyons, and his brother is a top chef in Paris. So “Potatoes,” I said decisively. “Cream,” said Bev. Nothing, said Damien. We left it blank.
The answer was Onions. “Onions? Everything in France has onions!” complained Martyn.
Finally the results came in. There were tears. There was laughter. There was gross injustice. To show how remorseless Question Master Steve was, he slashed 20 points from the British Library for writing ‘Euston Square’ instead of ‘Euston Road’ .
fotoLibra only came fourth, despite our clear superiority. We would have won by a large margin if the other teams hadn’t known more than us. Not fair.
The official results (subject to scrutineering) were
- The Bridgman Art Library
- Mary Evans
- Offside Sports Images
- Camera Press
- National Portrait Gallery
- British Library
So here we are this morning, back in our ivory tower, re-insulated from the οἱ ολλοί, gazing out at the world (ach-y-fi! nasty, dirty place!) and I’m contemplating a quiet bacchanalia or two to restore my flagging spirits.
Ah! Here comes Pan! I’ll have to go — gotta dance, gotta sing. See you later!
This is posted in an effort to placate Owen Elias, who wrote about my last blog “Another moaning tirade. Do you never have anything positive to say?”