The BAPLA Quiz

March 20th, 2014

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

  1. The Bridgman Art Library
  2. Mary Evans
  3. Offside Sports Images
  4. fotoLibra
  5. Camera Press
  6. National Portrait Gallery
  7. British Library
  8. Superstock

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?”


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26 Responses to “The BAPLA Quiz”

  1. Brenda Skinner says:

    What an enjoyable start to my day, ‘way over here in The Colonies. Many thanks for your wonderful humour.

  2. Brenda Skinner says:

    That’s Madoc, Ontario, The Colonies, by the way.

    • Gwyn Headley says:

      Any relation to Portmadoc, which we can see across the bay?

      • Brenda Skinner says:

        Apparently there’s some historic connection to Madoc of Wales but, in the four years I’ve lived here, I’ve not been able to find a single soul who seems to have any interest in the origin of the name, nor have I been able to unearth the reason for the name through diligent Googling. Anyone? Anyone?

  3. Lois Bryan says:

    Sitting over here in the colonies as well … chuckling … much, much enjoyed your commentary, though I regret your visit to our planet wasn’t more pleasant. Indeed it can get nasty down here some days.

    • Gwyn Headley says:

      Don’t I know it! We had to walk in a ‘Street’ before we found what I believe you call a ‘bus’ to waft us back to Arcadia (aka Finsbury Park).

  4. Steve Lake says:

    Merciless indeed. I was a pussycat. I even gave Superstock a half point for randomly writing the word ‘Ray’ in answer to one of the questions.

    Small point of order: it was the British Library who ‘wiped out’ on that last round, not Camera Press. No points were deducted; it’s just that none were awarded. They knew the risk they were taking, chose glory over respectability and, Icarus like, got burned.

    And if anyone should know the difference between Euston Road and Euston Square it’s the British Library, current address 96 Euston Road….

    • Gwyn Headley says:

      OK, I must have been befuddled by the Nectar substitute so generously provided, and the British Library correction has been made, thank you! And I agree. Risk all, lose all. We kept off the Lyonnaise and stole home with 9 points.

      But (ahem) wasn’t it our Yvonne who awarded half a point for ‘Ray’? Which you then allowed?

      Yvonne is rigorously fair.

  5. Philip Carr says:

    I think the Welsh water is getting to you.

  6. Ian Garfield says:

    What is it with that question on Lyonnaise?! In at least 3 pub quizzes I’ve been in over the last few years that question has been included – and each time our team got it wrong!!!

  7. Bev Ballard says:

    I knew it was onions. It’s just that everyone was talking so loudly that they didn’t hear me.

  8. C. Henderson says:

    You use too many unnecessary capital letters in your sentences!

  9. peta says:


  10. Ian Hooker says:

    Better stick to Bingo and beer since the budget.

  11. Chris Chavasse says:

    I really enjoy your blogs, no matter where I am when they through the light fantastic appear! Sadly ambrosia is but a fleeting memory in the far flung Antipodes – but we make well with our wines, beers and dreams
    Fare well,
    Play well
    & thanks for your good cheer

  12. Martha Moran says:

    Well that was a wonderful way to lift me out of the mid-afternoon doldrums!