About the Choir
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No-one expects the Dutch Inquisition!
Candidates must answer questions 1-4 and 7, plus any two questions from questions 5-6, and any thirteen questions from questions 8-19. Do not turn over until told. Nothing shall be written on the backside.
Q 0. Where is the mistake in the above instructions? What is your solution?
Q 1. Where is Doesburg?
Q 2. How high above sea level is the highest point in the Netherlands? Would you call this: (a) a mountain, (b) a hill, (c) a hillock, or (d) a sand dune? What is the highest point in the vicinity of Doesburg, what name is given to the area surrounding this, and why is it considered the prettiest part of the country?
Q 3. What special status did Doesburg have in the olden days, and when did it receive city status? Why are the inhabitants particularly proud of this? What distinction is held by the EBC's adopted local bar De Waag?
Q 4: Why are there three separate names associated with the same country, the Netherlands? What is the origin of the term Dutch? Why is the language not called Hollandish, or Netherlandish? What is meant by Dutch Courage, given that Courage was traditionally brewed in London, Reading and Bristol, and now Tadcaster (all of which are in England)? Is Dutch Courage a good thing for singers to get before (a) an amateur concert (b) a paid engagement (c) a religious service? What is Double Dutch Courage?
Q 5. In Belgian motorway service area toilets, why is there a wall poster advertising internet webcams?
Q 6. Why does Dutch have so many 'j's in it? In Double-Dutch, do vowels tend to come in fours rather than pairs? In Single-Dutch, why do the spoken words not sound like the spellings? Why are the following examples of shibboleths: Scheveningen; Wim Duisenberg. Go on, say them. Now wipe down the surfaces in front of you, drink some advocaat, and try again. Contrast your second attempt with your first, and explain the differences.
Q 7. Translate the following lyrics into English:
Dijdn't wee houv a luivelij tijm de daj wee went toe Doesburg?
Builduings antijk, ond bijcijkles neet,
A receptijon generuis, speetjes toe greet;
Dijdn't wee huiv a luivelij tijm de nijt wee stuidt in Doesburg?
Paankoekjes tastee, ond bukket-sijz beeeers,
Slagroom komming uit of uir eears;
Dijdn't wee huiv a luivelij tijm de following daj in Doesburg?
A guid nijt's sleejp, a rijd schwim or stroell,
A visit vrom Hedwig, up vrom Bocholt;
Dijdn't wee huiv a luivelij tijm de vijnal daj in Doesburg?
Mr & Mrs Evers-Bentley:
Awaij vrom de kids, a weejkend care-vrij,
A walk in de foerest, djuur tui zee;
But mijnd thaat Mag-Nunc phoetoekopee!
Neeveertheeleess, an Eijveensong pakkd
Evrij seet vull, ond zum eiven klapd.
Q 8. Which river has a name of only two letters, alphabetically adjacent? Why would anyone want to call a river that? Name the river which flows through Doesburg. Where do these two rivers join? Why is there very little water in them this year? To where does this water flow, and what is special about that area? What volume of water would a boy with a finger in a dyke allow to flow if he (a) temporarily removed his finger to scratch his nose, armpit and lower areas respectively; (b) went away for a half-litre of Grolsch; or (c) went to watch an Ajax match until it became tedious? State your assumptions.
Q 9. Which kinds of milk would be appropriate for (a) pouring on breakfast cereal, (b) putting in coffee, (c) spreading on bread, and (d) making into cheese or other cooking uses? How many kinds of Dutch cheese do you know? How old does Gouda have to be before it is called Old Gouda?
Q 10. How good is Doesburg mustard soup?
Q 11. What is the best way to avoid red wine stains during a long coach journey? (a) Do not take any red wine onto the coach, (b) do not open any of the red wine which is on the coach, (c) drink the wine but do not spill any of it, (d) wipe up spills using the white cloth head-rests, or (e) distract the coach driver's attention with Pringles in the hope that he does not notice the stains?
Q 12. What is that crop which seems to cover half of Europe? The one which looks like a tall, monoecious annual grass with overlapping sheaths and broad conspicuously distichous blades. Plants have pistillate inflorescences enclosed in numerous large foliaceous bracts (ears), from 7 to 40 cm long, with spikelets in 8 to 16 rows on a thickened axis (cob) in the leaf axils and staminate spikelets in long spike-like racemes that form large spreading terminal panicles (tassels).
Q 13. When designing a bicycle, what is the most efficient braking mechanism? (a) Caliper brakes operated from levers close to hands, (b) caliper brakes operated from elsewhere, (c) drum brakes operated by making as if to pedal backwards, (d) allowing the rider to collide with a larger object, or (e) other? Are any of these methods easier when riding in a formal dinner suit?
Q 14. Match the following names to photographs A to R inclusive. NOTE TO CANDIDATES: THIS QUESTION HAS BEEN REMOVED TO THE MEMBERS' AREA. Note to internet police: no the pictures are not of members, and the Members' Area does not contain pictures of members. Well, in a sense they are, and it does, but not in that sense, if you see what ... (author departs to answer early-morning knock on door).
Q 15. From what English county comes the traditional song "Dashing away with the smoothing iron"? Why was the writer's “darling” dashing away with the iron rather than using it to smooth her washed linen? What was she doing on Wednesday morning, while still appearing neat and nimble? Why would a Dutch audience find this humorous? Other than smoothing irons, how many types of iron can you think of? You may find it helpful to use the following categories: sporting equipment, weapons, instruments of imprisonment and torture, Scottish carbonated drinks.
Q 16. Study the following monologue, from the film "Reservoir Clogs" reproduced with acknowledgement to Bronwen Tarantino. Whom do you think the speaker is addressing, and why?
"Now listen up good you f****** m***********s, when I wave my f****** arms that's a f****** signal for you f***s to f****** sing in that f****** rhythm and not some f*** else, ya dig? And you gotta listen to what the f*** you're singing and sing good else it sounds like f****** f***s f******. Gottit? I don't want to beat you f***s up over this, but I g*****n might just f****** shoot you" (slight pause) BLAM! BLAM BLAM! BLAMMA BLAMMA BLAMMA! (smoke effect, right of set)
Q 17. What is a Dutch concert?
Q 18. Why did the composer Henry Purcell leave eight blank pages in his manuscript after "Hear my prayer, O Lord"? (a) He was going to make it the start of a longer work but never got round to finishing it, (b) as above, but it was so good he couldn't follow it, (c) the following music was written in invisible / disappearing ink as a deliberate historical curiosity, or (d) he had spilled his absinthe & Babycham on the manuscript and these pages temporarily stuck together?
Q 19. In the Vesper "Lauda Jerusalem" (from Monty Verdi's Greatest Hits Unplugged), why is it so difficult for some of the basses to maintain the syncopation between "Non fecit taliter..." and "...non manifestavit". Does singing this "
0. You should not be answering question 0, it was not part of the instructions. But if you did answer it, the mistake is that there are only 12 questions in the range 8-19 inclusive. Yes, the Dutch Inquisition is a lot easier than the Spanish one. The easiest solution would be to answer one of the questions twice. For a high-risk strategy, answer the extra question "see above", hoping to get double marks. For a low-risk strategy, write a different answer, thereby doubling your chances that one of them will be some good. Copying an answer longhand will not impress the examiners. And anyone claiming that 10 is a hexadecimal number will lose FF marks. There are also other mistakes in Q 0 but they are not mathematical.
1. Doesburg is in the province of Gelderland in the Netherlands, about 20 km east of Arnhem and not far from one of the country's highest points. It lies at the end of a very long coach journey. Access is further limited by defective doors on the Channel Tunnel Shuttle which leads to it. Alternatively, Doesburg may be located by sitting in the back of a car and languidly ordering the driver to "follow that church".
2. The Netherlands' highest point is 321 metres above sea level, and even more than that above much of the land, tee hee. That’s a hill in anyone’s language, being similar to the maximum altitude of the North Downs. Near Doesburg is the Veluwezoom Nationaal Paark, directly adjacent to our Ellecom hotel, which rises to 110 m above sea level. The park that is, not the hotel. The area's lack of windmills and tulips is thought to be more than compensated by undulations, shrubby vegetation and trees. It may not follow, however, that Bagshot Heath is the most scenic part of England.
3. Doesburg is a Hanse town, which means a member of the trading organisation of that name. It received the municipal rights of a city in 1237, pride-worthy because this was 60 years before Amsterdam. De Waag claims to be the oldest cafe-restaurant in the Netherlands, and is further distinguished by its tolerance for serving a table of about 30 drinkers, few of whom speak any Dutch.
4. Holland is only the western part of the Netherlands, now divided into two provinces, North & South Holland. However, it includes the principal towns, and is easier to pronounce. Rather like people calling Great Britain "England". The language is actually called Nederlands but the English-speaking world calls it Dutch because of a common root with Deutsch (it says here). Dutch Courage is the confidence obtained by drinking alcohol. The question of whether that is a good thing before singing is too controversial to analyse fully here, but Luke 7:33-35 states “For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and ye say, He hath a devil. The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners!
But wisdom is justified of all her children.”
Double Dutch Courage is a bootleg album by the rock group Van Halen. They are musicians too, so perhaps there's a message there.
5. The most obvious answer is that the management wish you to think your toilet activities are being broadcast live on the internet, thereby keeping the place cleaner. One of the country's major tourist attractions is a statue of a boy urinating, so it is possible that you really are being webcast. Alternatively, the vendors of webcams see a target market in the kind of people who spend a long time in toilets. There is no definite correct answer to this question: marks will be awarded for clarity of argument and tasteful use of humour. Marks will be subtracted if any illustrations are used.
6. The over-use of "j" was originally an attempt to improve Scrabble scores, as was the doubling of vowels to use them up and get closer to the triple word score squares. There is no such thing as Double-Dutch, it is a figure of speech for anything unintelligible, though it is based on the olden days when the English called Single-Dutch Double-Dutch. Spellings are no clue to the sound of the spoken word because of the effects of centuries of eating raw herrings and drinking cherry brandy. A shibboleth is a word or phrase which distinguishes native speakers of a particular region: Scheveningen and Wim Duisenberg are notoriously difficult to pronounce correctly, and elicit the most distinctive of the Dutch sounds.
7. Just remove the j's, halve the vowels and you'll be close enough.
8. The river IJ, which flows past Amsterdam. For some reason the J is also capitalised; perhaps this is a diphthong. Alternatively, it may be an acronym, but this seems less likely in the light of the following. There is also a river Aa, on which Bocholt stands; it is possible that the original river-naming team included a two-fingered typist and a nervous one-fingered typist. It is the IJssel (those two capitals again; these guys are persistent doublers) which flows through, or to be precise around, Doesburg. The IJ and IJssel do not join as rivers, but their meers join NE of Amsterdam. The rivers are half-empty this year on account of lack of rain. Yes, this inquisition really is easy. The Aa is a tributary of the Old IJssel which flows into the IJssel. The IJssel flows into the IJsselmeer, formerly known as the Zuyder Zee, which is famous for being dyked-off from the sea. The hole-plug-abandoning boy would let in (a) 1, 2 and 5 litres respectively (b) 1000 litres (c) 3000 litres. My assumptions are that these figures are near enough and that you will not want to read my assumptions.
9. (a) Noormaalmelk, (b) evaporated milk if you're Dutch, else same as a, (c) condensed milk, (d) karnemelk. A basic list of cheeses is Beemster, Boerenkass, Commissiekaas, Delft Blue, Dorothea, Edam, Friese Nagelkaas, Gouda, Leiden, Maasdam, Roomkaas, Volendam.
Old Gouda should be about 18 months old. But then there’s Double-Aged Gouda which can be 4 years old. Yummy.
10. Very good indeed. It tastes even better with pieces of bacon, onion, salmon etc thrown in, though not necessarily all together.
11. Clearly (c) is the best answer.
12. Maize. Not, after some discussion, millet: there simply aren't that many budgerigars in the world.
13. For most people the answer would be (a) or (e), but Dominic uses method (d). Unless he's wearing a dinner suit, in which case he does not brake at all.
14. There is no specimen answer to the anatomy question.
15. Somerset. She is dashing away with the iron so that her lover (not the narrator of the song, sadly) will beg her to return, to iron his shirts. Or possibly she is chasing a rat to clobber and put into the cider barrel. On Wednesday she was starching her linen; perhaps this is funny if the audience thinks (owing to language difficulties) that someone else is doing this for her. Other types of irons include 1-iron, 2-iron, [That's enough irons: Ed.]
16. The speaker is addressing the sopranos: not the Italian-American gangster Sopranos but the English Baroque Choir sopranos whose stamina has been drained by a very long coach journey and excessive exposure to celebrity gossip from Heat magazine. The speaker had already taken pity on them by delaying the rehearsal 30 minutes, and this is how they repay him!
17. A "Dutch concert" is one in which singers sing their various songs simultaneously, or each one sings a verse of any song he likes between bursts of some familiar chorus. Some people believe Evensong is naturally like this already, others require to perform from the back of a motor coach to achieve such an effect.
18. Probably (b).
19. This is one of the great mysteries of modern times. Singing louder will disguise the unpleasant symptoms, in that you will hear less of the other lot, but it is better to cure the cause. Possible methods include (a) keeping a crotchet ahead / behind the other set of basses, speeding up or slowing down as necessary when the error gets to 3/8 of a crotchet, (b) listening to the accompaniment and syncopating or not as appropriate, (c) following a singing colleague who claims to be correct, (d) counting crotchets metronomically, (d) stopping halfway through, placing hands on hips and glaring at neighbours, or (e) watching the conductor. Intuition suggests some combination of two of the above should avoid the problem, tuition suggests (e) only, and probabilistic analysis at the University of Marylebone, Beehive Campus, due to complete in 2005, should provide the best combination for each of the major human brain types. Preliminary results indicate use of three methods simultaneously is less reliable than two only, and attempting four or more at once causes neural damage. Empirical evidence suggests this piece is much more successful when accompanied than when a capella, and even safer with a four-armed conductor.
Neil Thompson 21 Sep 2003
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