Susie Rushton: How Begbie ruined my pub quiz night

Urban Notebook

Share
Related Topics

He was sitting at our table drinking a pint of cider. I say "our" table because we'd booked it, as indicated by the paper label with my name on it, propped up next to the ketchup bottle. It was pub quiz night and, being tragically familiar with the names of Wags and TV theme tunes, we'd arrived in the hope of carrying home top prize. But it was he – aged about 30, muscular, turning a Blackberry over in his hands as he gazed at a football game – who would test our nerves that night.

This is what happened. Being courteous, we don't ask him to leave the table. We just sit down, and he even introduces himself. There are plenty of other seats in the pub, but we don't sweat it, not yet – besides, he says with a smile, "I'll move in a minute. I'm just going to finish my drink".

An hour later, the pub is packed, four more of our team members have arrived and we're struggling to squeeze around what now feels like a doll's house-sized table. The stranger is on his third pint of cider. He says nothing, and doesn't move. His phone rings several times, but he cuts it off. He glances back up at the game on occasion, but mostly, he looks at us. And drinks.

The quiz still hasn't started but conversation falters. The men around the table shift in their seats. I wonder if the evening will end in a Begbie-like episode of table turning, perfected by Robert Carlyle's Trainspotting character. I hate pubs, I say to myself, and I hate being polite. In the end, like a coward, I creep to the back of the pub and ask the female bar manager to get him to move, which she does. Naturally, this goes very badly. He demands to know what "issues" we have with him. He's tensed up and angry; we are flaccid and embarrassed and ashamed not to have found some solution that would have saved face all round. He starts arguing with the manager, she asks him to leave, which he does, but only after striding back over to our table to ask what he'd done wrong. Somebody croaks something about just wanting to have a nice evening but he looks glazed over and doesn't understand. We come second in the quiz. It doesn't matter: we feel like utter losers.

Flavio, the Godfather

So, Flavio Briatore, squirer of supermodels, co-owner of QPR and Renault F1 boss, has fallen on his sword following allegations of race-fixing. Is anybody who's ever met him surprised? This is a convicted fraudster who in a previous career in finance dodged the authorities and fled to the Virgin Islands.

A year ago, I interviewed him in Monza. It was a fortnight before Piquet's crash. He told me he found motor-racing "boring". What drove him was showing off, and winning – it seems, by whatever methods. One thing that I recall clearly was that his PA had customised her mobile phone to trill out the theme from The Godfather whenever her larger-than-life boss called. A case of a cliché that rings true.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The Queen spoke of respect for all cultures and faiths in her Christmas message  

Decoding the Queen's speech: Was Her Majesty taking a swipe at Ukip?

Jane Merrick
Iraqi soldiers trained by the US were routed by IS’s smaller force  

War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

Patrick Cockburn
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015