So, can you believe ‘E’ and myself have been running ‘The Montpelier Basement’ supper club in our home since October last year? errr what’s that? *counts slowly on fingers* eight frigging months! Unbelievable. Surprisingly for us, (as I’ve just counted the dates up), tomorrow’s ‘Basement’ will be our 23rd. Therefore I thought it was high time that I wrote about it a bit, and you know…. spill my guts in a sharing fashion.
First of all, utilising all my fingers, and some of my toes, I can tell you that we’ve had nearly 400 people pass through our doors and eat our food. Incredibly, considering that number, nearly all of these people have been absolutely amazing individuals. They’ve been no problem whatsoever, they’ve loved what we’re doing and in return, we’ve loved them dearly. *blows copious air kisses, mwah mwah fashion*
But, it hasn’t been all rainbows, cuddles and snuggums. A couple of people have, quite frankly, been very bad guests. But, only a couple, out of nearly 400, that’s actually quite amazing. Nevertheless these few individuals have blighted our ‘Basement’ with their presence, and we curse their collective memories.
The most ghastly of our few rubbish guests descended on our subterranean lair a few months back. Lets call her ‘Sharon’, (errr because that’s actually her name). ‘Shazza’ was basically the supper club guest from hell.
She came on her own, which isn’t unusual in itself, lots of people do and that’s fine. She was in her late 50’s I guess, and she seemed a little bit pissed when she arrived. She ended up sitting on a table with 4 other people who were in their early twenties. It wasn’t long before we realised that she was completely dominating the whole table’s conversation. She was one of those awful people, with a loud voice (slurred) and an opinion on pretty much everything, all of it backed up with a winding longwinded story. The rest of the table were sitting there stunned, in a complete verbal vacuum. Mere puppets as Shazza held court in the most awful fashion.
But, our guests are adults, they can deal with this…. Thought I naively, until ‘E’ came into the kitchen aghast, and told me that ‘Shaz’ was now regaling her new dining companions with a cheery tale about her friend who had apparently committed suicide. As you can imagine, they quite literally looked like someone had died. Four pairs of eyes pleading for help and framed by expressions of exquisite misery greeted me, as I was physically ejected by ‘E’ out of the kitchen and into the dining room with orders to ‘change the subject’.
I decided the best approach was to engage Sharon in conversation, and draw her away from the others so they could best make their escape. Coming, as I do, from Essex, I have much experience of chatting to drunkards and felt assured that I could deal with this confidently. Try as I might, I can’t remember exactly what I said, or what Sharon said in response. I can only conclude that part of my memory has been blotted out, in what is no doubt some kind of primal brain defence mechanism which I am confident will see me awaking in years to come bathed in sweat and screaming.
But, the main thing is, I took one for the team. I changed the subject.
The evening progressed, and Shazza hadn’t seemed to cause any more real trouble. Apart from provoking the odd look from other guests. She’d taken to moving around the room, sitting at the other tables chatting, and helping herself to wine. Eventually at the arse end of the evening, myself, ‘E’ and two other women who happened to be young Doctors were left drinking and chatting. They were lovely, extremely funny and quite obviously had enjoyed a great evening, which made us happy. Shazza was still floating around, and by this time was steaming drunk. She offered to ‘help with the washing up’. We politely declined. She looked restless. A couple of minutes later, I looked around and realised she’d wandered into the empty kitchen. As I got up to she where she’d got to, she came stumbling out mumbling incoherently. The Doctors, bless em, had at this point realised what a problem Shazza was and whispered that they’d take her with them when they left.
I could only admire their skill, obviously honed to perfection in dealing with troublesome patients as they expertly shepherded our ghastly guest, cheerfully crying ‘C’mon Shazza, you’re coming with us’. Somewhat surprisingly she obediently accompanied them up the stairs to the front door.
As the unlikely trio departed into the night, we relaxed and breathed a sigh of relief. Immediately resolving that Sharon would never be coming to ‘The Basement’ again.
But my sorry tale doesn’t end there. The next day, whilst tidying up the wreckage in the kitchen, I found an envelope stuffed behind the radio. It was Shazzer’s payment envelope. Confused, I ripped it open. Instead of leaving the suggested donation of £25, she’d left £15, and hidden it. This despite raving how good the evening and the food was, necking a load of leftover wine and ruining the evening for her entire table with her complete boorishness.
Shazza, you’re a piece of work. If I ever see you again, it will be far too soon.To all our guests that night who may have been mentally scarred. We're truly sorry.
No one else has even come close to Shazza for sheer awfulness. In fact, as I said previously, we’ve been extremely lucky that nearly all save for a tiny minority have been an absolute pleasure welcome into our home and cook for. We love you all ‘Basementeers’.
So that’s our worst ever supper club guest.
I’d be interested to hear what’s the worst behaviour you’ve witnessed at a supper club, or even a restaurant for that matter.
Go on share.
PS: If you fancy coming along to a future ‘Basement’ (No Shazza – we promise – drop us an email at Montpelierbsmt@gmail.com)