Yessiree, and by quite a margin, let's not be modest. Here we are above with three bottles of champagne to split between us: left to right, myself, Daniel Jaffé, deputy editor of the BBC Music Magazine Jeremy Pound, editor Olly Condy and Helen Wallace. We were pitted against at least a dozen other teams from the world of recordings, agents and magazines 'Downstairs in the Phoenix', Cavendish Square, for the annual Nordoff-Robbins Classical Music Quiz.
The charity it's in aid of does wonderful work in the field of music therapy - read all about it here - so it was all in fun and fundraising and not about the winning. Hell, no, of course it was, since we won...and can we gloat just a moment to say that the Gramophone team came somewhere in the middle (and it's rotten being mediocre, as I knew from a more general, if essentially EU-based quiz at Europe House where we'd drafted in a chap to cover pop, media and sports questions who got NONE of them...these things smart).
It has to be said that quiz-setter James Jolly and I have quite similar tastes, and there were a LOT of opera questions. Got us off to a good start, too, that the 'mystery voice' we heard snippets of across all the rounds happened to be Anne-Sofie von Otter, whom both James and I had interviewed a week or so earlier. But I did recognise the voice before I twigged the connection. I don't suppose anyone else would have done so for at least a couple of rounds since there was little hint of Swedishness in her deep and beautiful tones, and since early references were to cooking and guinea pigs - not connected, I hasten to add. The subject's closer-to-home interests were not cited.
We had to commiserate gamely with our delightful neighbours, Gimell, clearly in a rare moment of getting something right behind Jeremy, Olly and Helen above, since there were hardly any early-music questions, and next to none on the contemporary. My chums, all with editorial experience including regular perusal of images, were good at getting the parts-of-faces pictures and matching couples (at both of which I was next to useless), and I surprised myself by working out the diva anagrams. It was a delicious bonding experience, anyway, though I was surprised at how few other people I knew in the room. And it took all our minds off current non-musical affairs for a couple of hours, which had to be a good thing after the American election. The first time I found myself in a room full of people after that horrible day, we all exploded with pent-up fury.
That was at a lunch to augur the forthcoming year of Cello Unwrapped at Kings Place, where I was delighted to meet Nicolas Altstaedt, Ayanna Witter-Johnson and Natalie Clein, among others. Above, Natalie with fellow cellist and now programmer Helen.
Finally, with a tenuous link to competitions, I haven't been following Strictly Come Dancing, though I know that Ed Balls finally left the show last night, having given the UK the biggest laugh and best entertainment this autumn (and this is a man I didn't think had a sense of humour). I can't resist posting as an aide memoire the 'Gangnam Style' sequence as a magnificent token of concentration over aptitude, with the glorious Katya Jones adding high style.