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Tuesday, July 25, 2006


I've just been reading more from a fellow doorman over the pond and it's raised a thought I'd like to get down.

Why do doorstaff even exist? When large numbers of people gather to have fun supervision is necessary at all times to prevent large scale disorder from occuring on the odd occasion. Many times folk meet in large numbers and disorder does not break out, however when mixed with alchohol and the activity of finding a mate disorder can and does break out.

When disorder breaks out people get hurt, some get trampled in the mad panic that can ensue, some get hit, punched and bitten, others have things stolen from them or panic in the stresses of large scale disorder. This often entails laws being broken and people getting their rights abused. For this reason supervision is needed, even if only to hand out the water and bandages.

People enjoy going to large events and some are even prepared to pay for attending them. When events take place on a regular basis, solely for money to be made by the organisers, the burden of providing supervision often falls on the organiser's shoulders. The law enforcement authorities ask for the law to be upheld and will intervene if it's broken but don't want to divert the general public's money and resources to supervising people when disorder may well not occur frequently.

This leaves the organiser looking for supervisors and that's where I step in.I work for a company specifically set up to fill that need. I'm trained and vetted both on paper and by experience and reputation. I, along with others, regularly supervise events where people gather to enjoy themselves. Always supervising folk in the presence, if not under the influence, of alcohol and mostly under the general banner of finding a mate. It’s not technically finding a mate on football or gay nights but there's always alcohol involved.

I get paid to watch other people have fun and I get some satisfaction that when a night’s running well and our job of supervising people is being done invisibly to most of the people. I appreciate the need for the organiser to make money in order to get a return on their investments and keep the industry going. It’s not easy to keep making money organising other peoples recreation and when it’s done well it’s a very slick operation.

Punters barely seem to know this. When they’ve encountered doorstaff it’s either because they’ve befallen a mishap or they’re having their evening curtailed due to the doorstaff’s perception of the punter’s likelihood of causing disorder.

We do get called all sorts of stupid names. It’s part of trying to do a job that’s impossible to get perfectly right all of the time. Those who’ve befallen a mishap are difficult to placate and amends can seldom be sufficiently made. Those who we deem likely to be incompatible with others having a disorder free night are excluded either at entry or at some later stage. Nobody likes to be excluded and we as the agents employed to decide and perform their exclusion and make easy targets. If a punters dress or decorum leads to their exclusion it will not be the doorstaff excluding the punter who have control of this. The organisers will have decided how their gathering of people will run and merely passed it on to their agents.

We doorstaff are a diverse bunch of folk. We’re not as a rule stupid though there are some that clearly are. We are not as a rule sexist, racist or homophobic though there are those that are some of these things if not all of them. We don’t hate or despise our punters. Most of us recognize that they are the means, however indirectly, of our employment. We do try and remember those who cause disorder and exclude them in future to prevent disorder.

To make sweeping statements about a person solely because they are a doorman probably passes a greater shadow upon your door than upon the doorman’s.

It’s never fun to work a door in the shadows, it gets bloody cold and you can’t see ID’s properly.

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