A Man of Many Faces

“I came to this country seven years ago to chase my dreams. The Czech government was so corrupt that I had to get out of there, even if it meant meant leaving my family behind,” said Libor with a smile.

It was busier than usual for a late Sunday night. Though, The Green Man is the first pub anyone would see coming out of Great Portland Street Tube Station, it was still unusual. Perhaps it was the football match. Italian giants Napoli and Juventus were going head to head in a race for the title. Everyone seemed to be drenched in the TV light. Some were there for the food, whereas others just looked a part of the furniture.

Except for one man sitting underneath the large flatscreen planted on the wall. He faced away from all the commotion, seemingly unconcerned. With a pint in one hand and his smartphone on the other, he looked a man in a hurry. I could hear him barking orders to someone. “You have to get there Wednesday night. We must not delay shipment anymore,” he said with a thick continental accent.

Yet, his clothes and accessories did not fit the image of a businessman. Casual jeans complemented by a thick leather jacket hiding, what was clearly, an Iron Maiden t-shirt underneath.

It was this contradiction that led me to Libor Pribramsky.

“I came to this country seven years ago to chase my dreams. The Czech government was so corrupt that I had to get out of there, even if it meant meant leaving my family behind,” said Libor with a smile.

Intrigued by his demeanour, I asked him what he did for a living. “I manage a company that works for Waitrose,” he said. But, it was clear that there were two sides to him. The serious businessman, no doubt. But, what was this other side?

His friend Checkov, came holding a pint of the house lager and sat opposite Libor. He didn’t seem to be too happy about my presence there. Libor gave a generous smile and said,

“This is the lead singer of the band I manage - Kingdom waves.”

“It’s one of my passions. I love metal and it’s a dream of mine to be a part of metal,” Libor said taking another swig off his pint.Checkov grew warmer as the night wore on, but suddenly Libor stood up and declared that he had to leave. “A Czech speaker was due to come a few miles away, I have to go,” he said with that big smile.

Before leaving, Libor dug into his back-pocket and brought out his card. “I will be running for a politics soon, back in my country,” again with that big smile. “Maybe I’ll get somewhere.”

Libor Pribramsky was a real whirlwind character. A businessman by demeanour, a metal-head in his own right and political activist. So who was he? I really couldn’t tell.

Reporting by Arjun Menon

Behind the Story : The Green Man pub is a famous pub right outside Great Portland Street Tube Station. It was a Sunday night and I expected that crowds won’t be overwhelming and I’d be able to grab a quick pint with my mates. Libor Pribramsky stood out in a pub crowd and that says something. It was a mix of his easy going manner and his forthright attitude when it comes to matters of business. Some people exude an aura. Libor’s was different.