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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Standing Out

Not all folks out on a night blend into the crowd. There are the hordes of men in light checked shirts and designer jeans. There are the horizontally striped seas of chav. There are the bottle blonde elizabeth duke catalogue wearing tribes and the cotton hot pants/ denim micro skirt armies.
Generally aside from these groups though occasionally in the middle of these are the few who stand out from the crowd. Not in their behaviour but in their appearance. Some folk just couldn't blend in in camouflage, in a jungle at half a mile. They just look odd enough that they catch your eye. I see a lot of faces in a night and most just blend into one unless their behaviour marks them out. Be it facial defects, absurdities of dress or just their ability to look massively awkward in a relaxed environment. These folks get more than their share of my attention and, if some predatory types in the drunken morass spy them, they get more than their fair share of others' attention.
Some revel in it but most find the spotlight a little too bright. I don't stare and point, I just note them and that'll be enough for me. Others do and sometimes if I'm not in the mood find that pointing and staring and deliberately making another punter feel uncomfortable lands them uncomfortably out in the street to early.
I don't know where the socially absurd come from of what they do or don't do during the day but they seem to emerge in the places I work. These fairly low brow provincial clubs where the disillusioned come in the mainly futile hope of finding love. The freaks and misfits follow.
It's easy to fit in and hide or disguise small things but if you don't have advanced social skills if you stand out from the crowd you're likely to be a victim, unless I'm feeling generous, but please don't feel you need to be my friend. I've enough of those without collecting them at work.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Morning After

Or as often in my case, the night after.

Sometimes, especially when you work at a few venues, you get that awkward recognition, sometimes weeks or months later that you know someone. Not in a good way. In the sordid drink fuelled world I work I toss people out onto the streets, sometimes literally, mostly metaphorically. When you switch venue you can be expected to let in and be friendly with the same person who you remember being a grade A muppet time and again at a different venue. This is fairly common for me. Most folk don't cotton on, either because they don't imagine doorstaff as individuals separate from the venue or because the drink addle memory just isn't up to focused recollection.

There are those times when they see you and they know they were being a muppet, you know they know they were being a muppet and then it can go one of two ways. They either come up and attempt an apology with differing degrees of success. Or they just kind of slide away, head down averting eye contact. It's like I'm the presence of an embarrassing ex-girlfriend or a spanner mate from primary school. They just can't get out of there quick enough. Unless they've felt the need to make it personal in the past, I'll just carry on being professional and following the venue policy. It is fun to torment them though, I can be like a ghost from a bad night out, come to douse their dreams of another foolish drunken night.

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Rules

What are the boundaries for me when I work. The doorwork industry is regulated, It may be by a bunch of muppets, but it is regulated. This keeps door teams low on convictions and the old guard would say low on experience. The days of high staff to punter ratios where you packed them in, got them pissed and then flew in knocked 'em down and dragged 'em out are gone. I miss some aspects of this but times change. Licensing, extensive CCTV that doesn't vanish and 'no win, no fee' litigation have put an end to that.
I still get to knock them down every now and then but usually when I've missed something earlier on and not diffused a situation properly.
It used to be that if it got heavy a win was a win. Now even going dynamic is a loss before the fist start flying towards me. Now patience and politeness seem to be the order of the day. Unless it's absolutely imperative we like them all to walk out. Not happy about it sometimes but we do, those are the days we're in. None of the highly effective techniques I've gathered over the years leave the box nowadays unless coked up 'roid rage lumpheads are in need of a quick sleep.
I have to rely on patience and politeness.

No-one told the punters. They may be reacting to the change in our manner or they may just be the product of very low moral standards and cheap recreational drugs but they really have gotten a whole load worse.
Getting verbal abuse has always been par for the course. I am a fat Cunt/Wanker/Dickhead and don't really need a punter to tell me that. Whose giving me grief now extends to everyone under the sun. Not just from the '10 yards and walking backwards' brave type but from the small skinny chav whippet and his misses and cousin as you ask them to take their drinks off the dancefloor. Or the pilled up space cadet who's eyes are in different time zones but still thinks it's wise to gob off as he's stumbling out the front door.
In physical matters everyone thinks it's worth having a punch, kick or glass at our backs when we have to restrain someone and one ejection turns into 2 or three as a matter of course. Even with slow and easy to understand explanations before they're shown the door. It's getting more of a challenge. Punters aren't getting harder, we're not getting softer, the bloody rules have changed and we're playing uphill, into a headwind and they've gotten whole load more players on their side since we started. It really takes my patience and my politeness but this is the game and I still like to play.

Monday, August 11, 2008


I find I get some cracking bruises.
In the heat of an incident I'll fly in and get a punter restrained. I'll remove them with differing levels of help and difficulty but they'll get gone. What amazes me is the bruises and injuries that I get. Unless it's something that relates directly to the situation I'll have blocked it out until I find it in the shower or in the gym the next day. Then I'll be there, poking into a bruise in inevitably a silly place for a week without any clue as to who, why or how I got it. The only thing that give me solace is that if I've got these the troublesome punters, even through the alcohol cloak of invincibility, will be waking up with worse.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Ways and Means

I have a few ways of telling when someone needs to leave the venue. The obvious ones of fighting and falling over are only part of the picture. I watch people move around the venue. I watch who they talk to and how. I see how and who they dance with on the main dancefloor. I see how they make decisions, how they interact at the bars and with random punters.
I've been doing this a while now and can see what stands out. I watch body language from how a punter places their feet, how they hold their shoulders to how they move their arms and heads. All of us who pay attention can usually make a good assessment of how drunk a punter is in a couple of seconds. We're in the business of getting people merry in a social environment. We have a grey line of inebriation which we apply with a certain amount of judgement.
When I approach a punter to have a word with them it's not likely I've totally made up my mind. Unless they're very visibly battered I'll try and communicate. Sometimes just getting through to folks is impossible, then it's time to point, guide and occasionally give them a gentle push in the right direction. Sometimes they seem coherent and I tell them to take it easy and leave them to it, just keep an eye on them.
I recon I can tell the difference between just drunk, pilled up, coked or speeded up or on poppers. Mostly by body language but when I pull them into the quiet and the light away from the disco lights to have a chat I like to see their faces and especially their eyes. Then I'll know fairly certainly. Whatever I suspect, unless I think there will be value in doing something else, they'll get escorted out for having had one too many, whether that's strictly true or not.
They often don't like it but, when they're too pissed or smashed they're not good punters, the sooner their gone the better. I'm not a popular man with the muppets, I'm not upset with that. I am fairly popular with the good customers, I'm not upset about that either.