Search This Blog

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


It's amazing what you can hear if you actually can be bothered to listen. In taking a break from the heat inside and the constant niggling hassles of the front door I do the odd stint on the smoking terrace, smoking area, building frontage or cattle shed depending upon the venue. Here the music is quiet to non-existent, the lighting is constant and better than dark and the punters congregate to kill themselves slowly, use the phone or just cool down.
I stand there cooling off metaphorically or literally, without my one ear defender in and with the radio in the other ear turned to a sensible level. I get overlooked and by not reacting to what people say I can hear some wonderful things. I can hear how this scummy lady is pissed off with another scummy lady for dicking about and not sleeping with her scummy ex. This picked up in overhearing her rant to the scummy boy she intends to slide into bed with tonight. Why he's even interested can only be put down to intoxication and the sad realisation that without both front teeth and barely able to communicate at all even before the booze there's little chance of better.
I once heard a very foolish lady asking a regular slightly scummy man if he had any charlie. By not showing anything on my face I heard her go on asking and him confessing that he doesn't do it in town anymore, only does it at parties now. I didn't believe a word but did get her watched and tossed out in a bit.
Most of my time is spent watching people in drink taking some fresh air and nicotine based refreshment getting very drunk and having to be walked out the premises to sober up away from the venue, not in the smoking area.
The favourite conversation I've heard is one gent on his phone telling his mate he can't come meet him at another venue as he's had 5 maybe 6 pills and is smashed off his tits. This was virtually shouted down the phone as me and the other 20 customers in the smoking area all looked on and laughed. He seemed unaware of the people, the lack of music and the big me in my high-vis jacket standing about 2 yards away. He seemed remarkably surprised when he got whisked out the nearest fire door, feet barely touching the floor. I nearly got a round of applause from the other patrons as I politely told him if he's that mashed he can't see me standing there he won't really notice he's not in the venue anymore and he can go play with his imagination for the rest of the night.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Dress Codes

In working at a few different of venues over the week I've seen both the good and bad sides of dresscodes. When you've a clear idea of who you want in the premises a simple dress code works very well. No tracksuit bottoms, no bright trainers, no "chavvy" brand t-shirts/polo shirts. It keeps those who think it fine to drink around town on a night dressed like they've crawled out of a working men's club beer garden out. Where it fails is when the doorstaff don't look past the brands or exact descriptions and see the calibre of person. How you wear your hair and how you carry yourself can tell me alot about you, often a whole load more than the labels you choose to exhibit.
Where it fails due to doorstaff's laziness to make judgement calls and stand by them, you end up rejecting nice punters and deny them the chance of spending money in the premises and still let those of dubious intent as they happen to be wearing appropriate clothing.
For the ladies more tolerance is given. Shorts are acceptable, vests are ok. Wearing most of the Elizabeth Duke catalog hanging in shiny loops from your ears is not. However once again the front door staff need to see past just the obvious headline and see the punter in context.
When it works you can get venues full of diverse punters with very little bother.
When it fails you can get knee deep in uniformly dressed scum and have to throw a lot of weight around.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Tooled Up

With all the nonsense in the papers and media about the massed hordes of knife-wielding teenagers taking over the country I think a little perspective is required.
It's not hard at all to get hold of a knife, it takes very little skill to hide one about your person and only a very brief practice to get wield it effectively. However the motivation to commit knife violence and the kind of injury or death offered by crude stabbings lies beyond most folk.
If you're in the confined controlled environment of a bar or club, with cameras, doorstaff, search policies and swift access to the police most folk would not want to be carrying, let alone threatening to or wielding a knife. We do find the odd pen-knife or spiked comb but more often as oversights or stupidity than with intent. Knuckle dusters, stilettos, screwdrivers and other things we occasionally find but not in numbers enough to make us worry.
If you're in the less defined environment of drinking cider on street corners where anyone could turn up and do anything un-witnessed, then I'd worry about it.
Having said all this, standing on a front door with all and sundry walking by you, if you've got enemies, as just about everyone in my business does, it helps to have your back watched and know how to handle a pillock with a knife.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


There are things you find lying around at the end of the night, some of them really unexpected. They always raise some questions about the night, some you maybe don't want the answer to.
My favourites have been the occasional used condoms on the floor of the ladies. A couple will slip under the radar some nights.
The two pairs of men's pants found together by the dance floor were clearly a hen night find but having seen the hen nights we had in that night I can only wonder what promises or threats extracted both Calvin Klein and Ted Baker under-crackers.
The worst has to be the large incontinence pad found on a dance floor at the end of the night. Who brought that into the club and what led to it being discarded? What led to it lying on the dance floor and who got to go home with miss pissy pants? I can only wonder in awe.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Ups and Downs

It's the silly summer season. Not in terms of the absence of meaningful parliamentary politics but in terms of my work in this small city.
The students have gone away for the summer so the midweek sessions are quiet or abandoned. The odd local who can read and write or get a doctors note to say they can't may have been off to uni and be back for the summer but they tend not to form a coherent clump on any given night of the week. So generally the summer is quiet, easy work until the weekends. Then we see the stag and hen party season in full swing and we get a load of folks through our doors who we've never seen before and will never see again unless it's to identify them in a court room.
Add to this the fact that the city gets periodic influxes of large numbers of folk for assorted sporting events and festivals. Often they are drunk to such a degree that to still be standing and attempting to enter a licensed premises is almost miraculous. On a given midweek night we can see the club to capacity with high spirited, high spending folks away from home for a few days. We get to see the kind of behaviour people reserve for those situations where they feel they won't face the consequences.
From a quiet students and locals empty night you can by the next night be rammed full of folks with little moral compass and that bumpiness and lack of routine makes up a very frustrating hot sticky idiot filled summer season.