Some time ago DLTM heard that Prosumer and Tama Sumo, two of Berlin’s finest DJs, organise their own pub quiz somewhere in Kreuzberg. It took us a little while but we finally managed to assemble some troops during a whistlestop visit to the German city in November 2014. We arrived late, but between three of us we managed to come third from bottom. The experience left us thinking that we should give it another try and maybe win next time. It took over a year, but we went back in January 2016, here’s the story of that night interspersed with words from Prosumer and Tama, who we spoke to when they brought the pub quiz to the Dalston Superstore in London not long ago. Before you start reading, make sure you hit the play button on Prosumer’s ‘Grower mix’ below, too.
“I was in North America on a nice road trip heading north with three friends. At a certain point we decided we needed to get some dinner and we passed a huge sign saying ‘Trivia Night’. In unison the three of us said, ‘Let’s do that!’. We had a great time, I’d been to pub quizzes before in the past, a few in Berlin and I thought there was potential in doing something,” says Prosumer, speaking about the beginnings of the now infamous pub quiz moments after the first ever London edition has come to an end. “I love stacking up piles of useless knowledge and then I told Tama about the idea…”
Tama continues, “Yes, you told me about it. The thing is, in Germany, pub quizzes are not so common plus we also love Sudblock. We didn’t have any great expectations, we just thought, ‘It’s fun and, well, if 10 or 20 people come then that’s fine!'”
Sudblock is found right in the middle of Kreuzberg, at the famous junction next to Kottbusser Tor U-Bahn station. It’s well-known for its support for the local community. Sudblock is a large L-shaped bar serving up pizza and other such bar food, with cakes also on offer, plus a decent selection of alcoholic drinks. The sparkling ceiling is decorated with a collection of disco balls and the audience is a mix of young and old, internationals who have clearly tagged on a few extra days to a weekend trip and Berliners. “I like the community idea behind the quiz, it brings people together; people from the nightlife, local people from Kreuzberg… I like that. Sometimes things can be too exclusive – this event for the twenty-somethings, that event for the older crowd, which makes no sense really,” says Tama.
“Let’s face it, we’re getting older and we have a lot of friends who we don’t see at club events anymore. People who prefer to go out midweek and be in bed by midnight and I really love the crowd that we attract,” says Prosumer. “In Berlin there are a lot of places I miss, that no longer exist, Sudblock represents what a lot of those places stood for. You have this mixture of people; you have Turkish grandmas knitting, next to people who’ve straight from Berghain on Sunday morning.”
“Sudblock always wanted to integrate the neighbourhood. In the beginning when it started to become a gentrified district, they tried to keep it so it wasn’t just for the trendy people who were moving there. They do a lot for the locals, organising political discussions, anti-racism work and anti-homophobia projects,” Tama adds.
Inside Sudblock DLTM have gathered up a group of eight friends, an international cast of miscreants from London, Ireland, Russia, Japan, France and the UK. We call ourselves ‘Too Late To Hate’ after getting to the venue a little after the starting time. The hostess with the mostest, Mysti, hands us our answers sheets and the quiz begins seconds after we sit down. “After the first couple of quizzes we were looking to shake things up, so we spoke to Dennis at Sudblock and he connected us with Mysti. It made perfect sense as Tama and I are not really ‘stage people’,” Prosumer says. “We’re a bit better now and it’s fun, but it’s very helpful having Mysti, too.”
Up on stage Prosumer is joined by special guest host Sascha, in Tama’s absence, and Mysti. The first round has us scratching our heads and having the odd heated debate, but answers seem to come confidently and swiftly. Questions like, ‘The first of January always falls on the same day as the first of which month of the previous year?’ definitely ruffle a few feathers in the crowd. We’re similarly perplexed with some of the questions. At the end of each round we swap answer sheets with another team and mark each others’ efforts.
Some of the obscure questions baffle us, especially during Claudia Bubel’s special ‘Islands’ round. Which is bigger, Taiwan or Ireland? We’re not sure but take an educated guess. In between rounds there’s a raffle – each team gets four tickets when they sign up. Somehow we win four of the six or so raffle draws, taking home a lint roller, a pot plant and bubblegums among other silly items – not forgetting a big kiss from Mysti and a shot of some kind of sweet tasting alcohol.
Beers flow, food is munched, cigarettes smoked and lots of competitive glances are exchanged during the course of the quiz. You can see everyone trying to figure out how their opposition are getting on. The atmosphere is buoyant, some pub quizzes can feel a little bit pompous or staid, not this one – impossible with Mysti flouncing around, Mika Risiko and the rest of the team. Obviously a trivia fiend, Prosumer explains that he and Tama have a variety of sources for their often challenging questions, “The internet is good for this kind of thing, I also have a couple of books, we use interesting things we find in the newspaper sometimes. If we’ve been away, for example if Kerstin (Tama) goes to Australia then we do a round about that. In my case, I think I would do a James Bond every time because I have so much useless James Bond knowledge in my brain,” Prosumer jokes.
In Berlin, DLTM’s team are taking at least eight points out of 10 in each round. There’s a quiet confidence among our crew and the teams we swap scores sheets definitely don’t seem to be doing as well as we are, but there are around 12 teams in the room so we can’t be certain of victory until it’s announced (or not). We’re excited, inebriated and, regardless of a win, having a great time. Looking around the room and speaking to other teams, it’s clear everyone’s having an absolute blast.
Tama and Prosumer recently brought the pub quiz over to London, at Dan Beaumont’s Dalston Superstore on Valentine’s Day, where the concept had a similar effect, attracting a vibrant crowd who spent the evening drinking and giving their brains a workout with questions covering topics from music and geography through to Netflix. “We’d love to take the pub quiz to more places outside of Berlin. We did one at Glastonbury, at Maceo’s, which was really funny as it was an after-party so everyone was probably not in the best condition to answer our difficult questions,” Prosumer laughs.
After handing in our final answer sheet, ‘Too Late To Hate’ wait around as the scores are tallied up by the ever diligent Mysti. One of our crew, producer and DJ Eric Volta, maintains that, since we came third from bottom last time, we had a very good chance of winning this time around. Lo and behold, the results are read out from bottom to top and ‘Too Late To Late’ are victorious. We pick up 106Euros in cash and head out into the Berlin night to celebrate with a naughty late-night karaoke session…