“Scrabble, Sex and Alcohol”: The Tab gets lashed with Lembit Öpik

Our tale of four hours spent drinking with the Worst Bristolian is a bit of a weird one


The Tab went to Westminster to give fourth-tier reality TV star Lembit Öpik a certificate for being Bristol’s worst graduate. What could possibly go wrong? Well, pretty much everything actually. 

Eagerly anticipating the Lemborghini’s arrival

Lembit Öpik  is standing on the corner by Parliament Square. It goes without saying that he has the biggest head I have ever seen. It looks big enough to produce its own gravitational field. When I shake his hand the lopsided edifice looms towards me like the Death Star.

Greetings over with, Lembo ingratiates himself to us with his satirical take on the news of the day: “The worst thing about Andy Coulson,” quips Öpik, “is that he gave up his career and his marriage just so he could shag a munter like Rebekah Brooks.” Erm.

Lemberz is clearly still fond of his old stomping ground

A smartly-dressed female politico walks past. Recognising Lembit she waves a hello in his direction. “I never touched her I swear,” he mutters under his breath. Bants!

We soon discover that this David Brent-style badinage is what passes for mega-lolz in the bizarro world that Lemby inhabits.

Another passer-by greets us, this time a balding male MP. “That there is one of the most effective members in the entire house,” Lembit informs The Tab. 

Baldy shoots back: “It’s a shame Lembit here wasn’t so effective at holding Montgomeryshire.” Ouch. It’s a parr so cold it could lie on a mortuary slab.

After Lembit receives and takes a photo with his certificate (“It doesn’t even have a frame,” he laments) we run into Keith Vaz, Labour MP for Leicester East. We ask him for a photo and he replies, slightly bemused, “Are they safe?” Keith is referring to The Tab.

We get the photo anyway and our new mate Lembo suggests we grab a pint.

Lembit, with the Tab’s Will Lloyd (left) and Harry Hodges (right) – all three ‘safe’ enough to chill with Keith.

“Scrabble, sex and booze” Lembit intones solemnly as we take our seats in the pub, “that’s all a man of my age has left.”

Over the next four beer infused hours of our session with him, Lembit’s shtick is schizophrenic: half pompous pub bore and half doting socratic spirit guide (seriously).

Having an Opikdose: Lembit tells The Tab about his love for Scrabble.

Lembit gets angry: he has a 10 minute rant about The Tab‘s “arrogant” and “aggressive” line of questioning, which concludes with him patronisingly telling me to “rectify the situation”.

He gets a variety of phone calls: one from a guy called Ian Palmer who Lembit labels “the second best drummer of all time” (no I haven’t heard of him either) and a bloke who Lembit says owes him a sweet £17k.

He talks at length about asteroids and Wittgenstein; he even offers to write up the interview himself. Lembit takes a stopwatch out of his jacket and makes us “feel the weight of it”. At one point, he places his hand on my forearm and, without breaking eye contact, asks me if I can “feel the pressure”. Not long after he even offers to wingman for me.

If that seems random it’s because it was.

Lembit never had his hands this full before, even when he was the Liberal Democrat spokesman for business, enterprise, and regulatory reform

Since leaving Parliament Lembit has gone through a rather gruesome midlife crisis and ventures into the Welsh professional wrestling circuit. But let’s not forget that when he was in Parliament, Lembit was an effective MP with above-average attendance in debates and votes, and for tabling written questions. I got the impression that Lembit hasn’t really found a satisfying role in the world since being booted out of the Commons.

We left Lembit Öpik on good terms (he called us “erudite” and “intelligent”) and that’s how I would like things to stay. He’s not a bad guy, and like the aforementioned David Brent, there is a sense that underneath all his appalling braggadocio he just wants to be loved.