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Monday, December 20, 2010

Once a year wankers

This time of year, any day of the week, you get people out drinking and socialising who don't usually do this. They don't regularly come into town and work their way around the bars and clubs of town. They don't regularly start drinking at lunchtime and try to keep playing 'til 4am.
They don't interact with other drunk people, bar staff or doorstaff. These folk can end up getting into rows in taxi queues, not thinking that the shivering line of folks is trying to do exactly what they want to do. They fall in the street and knock their teeth out and wonder why they get advice on getting a taxi to A&E and not an ambulance.
They ask barstaff, busy and tired, for things they don't stock and then get abusive when they can't comprehend that not every bar is the same. They can be arrogant and disrespectful when dealing with all the many working folk they meet. For taxi-drivers and takeaway workers, they annoy and irritate, for me and my colleagues they present an entertaining challenge. These folk aren't regulars, their once a year money will not make or break the venues we work for. They often won't remember anything in detail and they don't have a clue what level of behaviour is expected of them. This allows us to have all sorts of fun and games. There will be some wives and husbands getting confused, befuddled, inebriated and part frozen other halves coming home in the wee small hours. I hope I can be the cause of as many of these as possible, after all it is christmas, and I've got to spread the cheer.

Monday, December 13, 2010


When at work, I don't feel the need to give out my name to everyone I encounter. Quite often this is just to retain a little distance, sometimes it is to pretend to be more amiable than you actually want to be when dealing with horrors. Sometimes it's just to get a serious wind up going. I'm typically Bob, sometimes Max, or Frank. There's little need for consistency as the typical customer doesn't remember daft details like the doorman at their 5th venue of the night's name.
It's also advisable to let the others on your team know your fake name and handy to know if they're using one. You can always pretend, that when Daz at the front door, going by the name James, has sent a punter looking for Frank, being me, that he's not working tonight, James must have gotten confused, I'm Bob, short for Robert but everyone calls me Bob. Yeah, I'm not the full shilling but it does alleviate some of the boredom.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Put it away

Now doormen have a very bad reputation when it comes to their monogamy and their morality. The phrase 'round these parts being door whores, which is also how their dance partners are known. For some ladies a musclebound gent with a modicum of self control, a wage and little free time is a winner. For a large number of doormen, this is enough of a reason to practice the most essential bodily function. For a few of them it can become habitual.
There are a few classic colleagues who have had to make themselves scarce when their Tuesday girl makes an appearance on their Thursday night and mrs Thursday is not in the picture but is in the club. Doorman ducks out and only does flybys on the respective parties before being fortunately called away to finish the night at another venue. Another married colleague of mine juggled several others to his wife by the simple ruse of saying the venue finished two hours later than it did giving him time to indulge himself before being missed. These are but a few of the shenanigans the emotionally simplistic gents of my profession get up to.
Not a good trend in my colleagues and not a universal one it has to be said.
On a whole utility calculus I'm not entirely sure a good door whore doesn't provide more happiness than a monogamous one.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

I See

Yes, it's cold.
No you can't have my coat, my hat, my gloves, my boots.

Yes, it's cold out.
No, I had noticed, I've been standing in it for two, three maybe four hours.

Yes, it's icy.
No, they haven't gritted it, they might be gritting bus routes and thoroughfares.

Yes, it's slippy.
I've been watching folk fall over all night.

Yes, it's cold.
It's bloody winter, you'd be stunned if it wasn't at 3 in the morning.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Fronting Up

Some encounters you have, you know fairly bloody quickly you've not got the firepower.
When you've got a lad with you who's pulled his back, another inside, working straight through after a 12 hour static site shift and 3 hours sleep preceding and a new lad, keeping the smoking area tidy at about the extreme of his capability and skill keeping the smokers outside and the drinks in.
When a large group of lively gentlemen who clearly enjoy some extra-dietary supplements and are thoroughly in drink decide a visit to the venue you're at will make their night complete. 7 big ones, 1 older one and 2 young ones make up the group. In a line-up by body weight or bicep I'd have weighed in seventh or eighth out of the lot of us.
"Sorry gents, not tonight" goes the initial approach aimed at the first pair to make it within easy hearing range of the door.
This doesn't slow them and they end up well inside my personal space before they clock that the words were meant for them and I'm not shifting myself out of the way.
The rest of the group stumble to a stop and I continue with a slightly more padded explanation.
"Alright gents, we don't do large groups, we don't do only lads and a few of you have had one to many to get in. Try somewhere else tonight gents."
"You're fucking joking mate. We're of in after some totty."
"No Gents, you're not coming in, we're not the place for you tonight"
First bit of real confrontation, a very assertive negative statement with a dissuading tone after.
The trick is then to gauge the response, without the numbers or the bulk, it's time to get clever. Give them time to hang themselves. There strength in numbers and confidence is also their weakness. They all think it's worth their effort to have a verbal go.
"You're a dickhead." "Get real" "Are you going to stop us?" "Fuck off you knobhead"
By this point you've identified the three or four gobby ones, the three who could be persuaded and the three who will want to keep out of it right until their blood's up.
Just hold the position, keep silent, keep watching, ready to spring if needed. Don't rise and respond, don't manoeuvre to get a better place. If you move to take an upper hand, they'll see it and if they want to just blast past. If you do nothing, they have to get angry or physical against a passive enemy. Not an overt fists up, screaming, red faced opponent, but a mute, immobile, passive obstacle. Most gents don't get it, can't manage to get angry without some escalation. Give it a ridiculous amount of time and they'll fail to find a way in.
Not always going to work, very low effort solution when it does.
Takes some serious patience but better than dancing back to back with your colleague as you keep your guard up and wait for the boys in blue.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010


There are some people who always bring a drama with them. They've normally got an overactive gob and are always blameless for any of the activity. There will have been insults, slights, historic misbehaviour, outfit choices, venue choices and of course potential partner choices all joining the list of affronts. Never in the wrong, always in my ear. Not going to win me round by the more you talk, the more you achieve approach to arguing, I tend to lean the other way. The more you gab on, ranting shite, the less I'm willing to do.

Saturday, October 30, 2010


Not in a politically correct Jeremy Clarkson apology way, there really are a lot of very special people out there. Some are made special by consuming alcohol, others by consuming drugs. Some however are just normally missing a few cards in their pack. They all provide the business with custom, their money is the same as everyone else's, their problems also seem to be everyone else's.
As doorstaff we have to communicate with the punters, sometimes in a hurry, sometimes with all the time and patience in the world. More often than you would credit it takes all the time and patience we have. The concept that access to a venue is not a right. Simple premise, it's not yours, you don't own it, it's not a public institution, there is no "rights" issue with being rejected.
The simple ones seem to struggle with this concept. The idea should be common to just about anybody whose lived in the world. The special folk don't get it, even when explained in words of one syllable, very slowly. This can infuriate some staff, my response is generally to laugh, whether it's with the other doorstaff on by myself. I care about humanity, if I let the mentally deficient get me down I'd really struggle to keep meeting them every night.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Boo Hoo

Are you upset at me?
I've been sworn at, swung at, spat at, lied about and threatened. I get paid to stand on a door to a place that advertises itself as luxurious, sexual, laden with promise and a state to be desired. I get to tell people that this is not for them, by dint of life's many varied journeys, their personal journey doesn't include the inside of the venue. I get to see the disappointment and the many alternative reactions to this. Most reactions are negative, some of them get directed at me. Some of it fairly so.
I don't play fair, I don't give folk a fair chance. I don't treat each individual on their potential. I make broad judgements, I discriminate. I get to define a select set of excluded folk, I don't care that it's not fair. I get paid by the management, I get paid to make decisions good for the business. That's why I make the decisions I do, at least that's what I like to think.
I don't dislike people in general, just the specific ones in front of me.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

SIA goodbye

It seems the doormans bane the SIA, the Security Industry Authority, is on the big list of QUANGO's listed for a "phased transition into a new regulatory regime".
Will this mean higher efficiency?
Will this mean higher data security, not un-vetted un-documented migrants doing data entry and handling ID, credit card & bank details?
Will it mean higher quality of service, not process times so long cheques sent have expired and applications drift for months once they have been made 'priority'?
Will it mean better value for money, not £200+ for a shiny card, a partial CRB check and a poorly maintained database entry?
Will it mean accountable assessments of cases affecting livelihoods and families, or will it be summary judgements made by anonymous individuals with no visibility of evidence or opportunity for rebuttal?
Will it mean membership relates to repr?
esentation in a positive meaningful way, or will it just be us paying in to keep annonymous unelected committees sitting and their tea trays full
All I can say is I wait and see. I can only say doing a noticeably worse job would surely have to be an act of deliberate collective failure.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Not up to it

Some nights you're full of cold, carrying a niggling muscle injury or sprain, not had enough of the right sleep or otherwise off colour. Doing my job, there are not a lot of options for ducking out of a shift and when you're there and signed in there really shouldn't be any way to shirk off the heavy stuff. You can't sit around when a fights kicked off, people are being restrained and emotions are running high. You can hang about the door and direct traffic, hold up the incoming, hold out the ejected, speed out the departing and try not to get too wound up.
On the whole you just have to get through it. You ask for an early night, you opt for the roles with a lower likelihood of being first on scene, and hope you don't end up running around every night. What you do is feel like shit all night and hope you can get your head down and get some proper rest. Other than that, I just try and be my normal cheerful, forgiving, open-minded, charitable self. Sorry, that should have read be my normal surly, judgemental, opinioned and harsh minded self.

Monday, October 04, 2010


I was working one night in a dirty little chav hole of a venue. It was midweek and we only had a limited number of customers hanging on into the end of the night. There were a few stragglers from a girlie birthday party, mini skirts, hair badly extended, hoop earrings and tits, midriff, arse and legs out. One group they interacted with was 3 dodgy looking lads in horizontal stripes and variously shaved heads, looking like they'd been out celebrating either a prison release or a no-win no fee payout. These three gents went over and struck up a rapport with the girls. After a round of drinks, the girls decided to put on a bit of a show. The lads were sat 'round a table and the girls got onto the edge of the dancefloor and started gyrating against the railings. This show caught a few peoples attentions and the girls lapped it up. The glorious finale was when one of them shoved her arse towards one of the gents and he provided an open handed slap to the cheek which nearly took her feet off the floor. I was expecting her to get irate, maybe get a bit sheepish, no, she giggled, gyrated up and down a few more times then asked him for more before bending over for another smack.
I left them to this only to find her complaining as the lights went up and I began to shuffle everyone out. She bitched to me that he'd slapped her. I said, I'd seen it but that giggling and asking for more wasn't a very mixed signal. She left it there an staggered on into the night with one cheek with a full purple handprint over the nearly completely uncovered buttock. It didn't seem to bother her too much as she kept warm on the way out with his hand over her not throbbing hot buttock.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Full ahead

I've been privy to a number of opening nights over the years. They all have their own charms, from super clubs where you're in a team of 20+ to the relaunch of a flagging pub in the charmless end of town. There are a couple of things they all have in common though.
There will inevitably be jobs not done. The timescale of a launch is planned well in advance and all of the contractors are assigned their tasks. Initiations are sent out for the day and the PR machines spring into action. This means that when the inevitable delays, errors and cancellations occur there will always be tasks left undone. Most don't impact the fun for the majority of folks, most don't really have an impact on my work. Some, like the intruder alarms triggering all night, do have an impact but in a 'show must go on' type of way, we work 'round it and get it all running smoothly.
There is always a ludicrous guest list. The press, the local scene, the music, wine or ale specialists that they want to impress and even the contractors. This eclectic mix is inevitably supplemented by the staff, past present and future. All of these have partners and friends. This doesn't even include the VIPs, celebrities and investors who turn up to party. This as well as the high tide flood of punters stirred into curiosity by the promotions and PR drive.
Then we have the failures, things that were working 5 minutes ago stop working, things that didn't do that, suddenly do. This is just normal in a venue of any size, how you react to it usually takes teamwork and experience, not something you've necessarily got when those doors swing open for the first time. What you do then is think fast and solve it, lie, cheat, beg borrow and steal to make it through with the least amount of disruption to the smooth, polished facade your presenting.
The over-riding thing that is common to all of these events is the disappointment. All of the promoters, planners and stakeholders try hard. They commit a large amount of time, money and effort to making it as big as possible. They plan and hope for it to be as big as they can possibly imagine. They anticipate all of their marketing hitting the target, the weather being great, the cup tie not involving the local team, the competitors missing a trick. This doesn't come off and despite the cocaine smiles and sleep deprivation, they are all disappointed. I make it to the end of another shift, maybe stressful, maybe energetic but as long as I make it through and don't make too many mistakes I go away satisfied.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

minimum unit price

The recently proposed minimum prices on a unit of alcohol will only have a positive effect on our trade.
The minimum price is inevitably so low only the most ludicrous drinks offer will be affected. The trebles for singles and drink all you can nights. These will not impact in a bad way on our trade.
No club, bar or pub will be suffering. We may see a few more, folks coming in, we may see a lot more folk coming in direct from home and already battered. We may even see folks starting their night earlier and enjoying a variety of bars on their way round to the clubs. We'll maybe see less young underclass strutting the streets with bottles and cans of super cheap super strong lager.
We may even see the habitual street drinkers and 'homeless' sober once in a while, or at least forced to confront some aspects of their behaviour.
The very cheapest of alcohol is not of benefit to anyone. I'm sure the supermarkets will survive one thing not going in their favour.

Absinthe I

This evil green poison makes for some very messed up folks.
An afternoon of sipping the green fairy can lead to such entertaining adventures as setting fire to your sleeves on a candle. This can happen to anyone leaning over the table to pour the wine or retrieve a distant condiment. Normally sniffing, screaming, flapping, flailing and agitation ensue with some patting blowing and general disruption. Occasionally, there are the smooth, who just smother it without getting fussed and carry on a little singed.
One gent on absinthe just watched. His shirt caught alight, at the cuff, I noticed as the whole of his sweater was alight like a garden torch. He seemed most interested in the interplay of flesh, fabric and flames. A quick tackle with a one armed full body hug dealt with the flames. a large jug of ice water held the arm until the blue light taxi arrived. A long gentle persuasion led him to getting the treatment he required and us bidding him good bye for the evening. The smell of burning arm hair stayed with us all night.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010


up side the head.
Our lovely students fill the place with their drunken cheer. They're enticed in with all sorts of cheap drink related frivolity. One historic favourite was the tequila line. The DJ would wait until the dancers were flagging a little and the bars were lulled before they all switched to water.
He would summon the dj's assistant to get the two tequila bottles with speedpours. The oops up side you head tune gets on the PA and the floor fills with lines of drunken fools sitting in rows with their backs between each others spread legs. The rows would lean forward in sync, touch the floor on one side, touch the floor on the other then take both hands to their heads and lean back. This bizarre seated synchronised wiggling to a tune of little merit only survives on the promise of strong booze. The dj's assistant works his way up and down the lines pouring tequila straight into willing mouths. Not a great deal but enough to help and get them moving - perhaps back to the bar after they've worked their way up off the floor.
This had become a time honoured tradition, which in night club terms means it had lasted longer than 1 year. The best results we had from this were those so distracted by the slim, shifting line of tequila and their attempts to get their mouths under every last drop that they lean forward as the line they're sitting in reaches the end of their backstroke. The result, clashes of heads, spitting of tequila into hair and eyes of relative strangers and general hilarity for all those standing watching. Even the sober, bored looking ones sweating in a tie and jacket.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Getting Old

My usual routine of building up muscle and training it down is coming to an end.
I've reached an age where I've realised the image of an oversize, lump of muscle is neither positive or of benefit to me. I am after a visit to the doctor judged by the blind scale of BMI to be clinically obese. I've always been active, I'm on my feet and walking, running upstairs, wrestling people all of the time I'm at work. I trainn hard cardio and high rep weights and have a muscular physique. The dumb assessment that my mass exceeds a safe limit for my height is not something I take too seriously.
It does flag up that I'm an outlier. That what I've been doing over the years with my build has placed me in the extreme of the distribution and as I get older this will only be getting more apparent. It's time to slim down, up the fitness and do with technique what I've been doing with body weight. I'm not going to be disappearing anytime soon, hiding behind lampposts or being confused for a marathon runner will not be me. I think I'm just aiming to turn some of the overdeveloped musculature into a more conventional broad shouldered sporty build.
We'll see how this goes down at work. I'll still have a face like a bag of spanners and all the lessons I've learned so far but being smaller will reduce my physical presence. Will this lead to more grief or less grief?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Fat Chance

On a student night a good while ago, the place was rammed, the drinks were on offer and heading down fast. The whole place was full, the aircon was wheezing it's best but still not doing much against the heaving mass of sweaty folks dancing. I had battled my way through the floor, moving step by step, watching and listening. Also getting in as many photos as possible. Even the most crowded student space will find 6' to take a photo in. That gives me a perfect gap to 6' further along my route. I get after some time to the gents on the upper floor. This is usually a little less busy, a prime location to see the lesser spotted the white powder snorter.
This busy student night, these kind of checks are very necessary. I find the toilet lobby empty, I find the sinks and urinal devoid of inhabitant, I find the cubicle in use. Actually I find the cubicle not in use, now it contains a large sleeping gent. Sweaty, breathing like a racehorse with a cold and entirely unconscious.
I radio for assistance, we're going to need it. On the arrival of a colleague who possesses what we've come to term dumb strength we can begin the operation. Talking, shouting, shaking, ear pinching, sternum rubbing have no effect. Time to grab an armpit each, and haul hard. Up he comes, several acres of soft while flesh extra on a frame to match mine. Step by step we dance him out of first the cubicle then the toilets. As we leave the toilets it strikes us that getting 30 seconds of time on the main stairs is not going to be possible with the place this crowded. Time for the nearest fire door. All good getting there, even students shift when two staff are wrestling a whale. We get to the fire door then we realise the next challenge, this is not going to be wide enough for us to stay one on each side. I have the misfortune of trying to keep mr drunks fat head and fatter upper body from slapping into the concrete stairs while the other gent goes down first and steers the lower half down without tangling or picking up momentum. 3 steps down I'm fully tight, 3 steps further and the burn begins, only 12 more to go, by 12 my arms, legs and back are starting to tremble, on landing I unceremoniously dump the lump on my colleague who dances him to the door which I pop open. With one breath of fresh air and all the jolting about, this fool wakes, assesses his location, stuffed in the armpit of a beast, then starts to get shirty. Big girls blousey. After shutting the door we brief the front door team and head in for some fluids and a chance to breathe.

Friday, July 30, 2010

In the trough

No-one enjoys the gents toilets in nightclubs. I've worked in attendant toilets and they're cleaner, fresher and almost tolerable but still not a place to spend your evening. Most places, most of the time they're grotty. The smell of cleaning fluid fades fast once the sweaty pissing masses start to trickle through the door and trickle over the floor. It is the unfortunate soul who, while mixing the fine balance of splash soaked linoleum and slight alcohol hydration imbalance, slips on the well signed wet floor and lands in the trough. Hand slipped, elbow slipped, shoulder flank and hip in the vile mix of nightlclub effluent.
warm I discover the scene a few minutes after the event. I walk in to a foul smelling room to find a gent, naked from the waist up, jeans wet over one hip, hanging his dripping shirt under the lukeasthmatic effort of a hand dryer. Not a pretty sight and not a pretty smell either but at least he didn't take much looking after, once he'd got his shirt dry enough he wasn't going to freeze he slunk off homeward. I can only imagine he reasoned the piss stained outfit would impair his efforts with the ladies for the night. I can only say I think he over-estimated the quality of the ladies in the venue.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Summer Getaway

The school holidays have descended upon this little town again. The impact upon the drinking age folks is limited. The last day for A-level students has been and gone and they won't emerge in force 'til results day in a few weeks. The 13-17yr olds that aren't yet old enough to legally drink still enjoy the few venues that don't notice or care. They all seeem to think that getting into a nightclub mid-week will be cool. They all think it'll be fun and grwon up. Little do they know that it's mainly the sad, chavvy and the odd bunch of students that fill out the quiet weeknights of summer.
It is fun to watch their insistent efforts to enter what you know to be a dire quiet night. But it's a night club and it's got to be cool, hasn't it?
I think the alternative, of running to an overpriced overcrowded summer party island and dancing 'til the sum comes up with spirits unmeasured and sunburnt flesh for entertainment for a week of saturday nights, has less appeal to me. At least the more that do that, the less I have to see of them.

Monday, July 19, 2010


This post is not, you'll be relieved to read, a reference to the sometimes breathtaking faith larger bodied ladies have in their minimal underwear.
No this a post about the route shit takes to get to me. When a customer has a shit day and decides to meet his mates for a drink, the stress, poorly understood emotions and poorly expressed anger come my way.
underlings, who pass it out to the bar staff. These When a manager gets a roasting for shit profit and loss figures, they pass down the shit to theirbarstaff, give shit to the customers and I end up clearing it up when they make their frustrations known.
When the management of the door-company get a bollocking from the club company for not meeting the service level agreement, my boss gives me shit for keeping a slack door.
None of these is me bringing my shit to work, I don't do that as there's more than enough shit from other people to go 'round.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Running Around

I'm not happy being led on wild goose chases, even less happy doing it in a hot busy nightclub with the usual workload of drunken numpties to deal with.
The goose chase begins with me ejecting a customer the week before, too drunk, unsteady on his feet, time to go home without any issue about getting back in another night. That was until he ranted and raved at us on the front door, calling us a large number of abusive things, none of which were massively original. This ended when the local constabulary came by and after a whole 5 seconds of observation, hopped out the mini-van and had words to the effect of "go home, now!".
This worked and we decided in his wake that when he returned the next weekend, something we were certain about, he'd be excluded for a couple of nights to establish the point.
The following weekend, we see the punter walking past early doors, on his way to hit a few warm up venues with high velocity vertical drinking and large discounts. We clock his outfit for the evening and make a mental note to block his efforts later on.
I pop inside for a wander round, a glass of soda water and trip to the loo. I return to front door and the new lad on the team, oblivious to the discussions last week and earlier in the night, says to be aware we've just let in X many local chavs. I ask if one was 18-20, 5'7" to 5'9", brown spiked hair in Y brand shirt and Z brand shoes. He says yes.
Here, I could send him back in to dig him out but he'd be in a shit situation and have to about face from letting him in only 2 minutes ago. I wander in and start my search, every seating and standing area, the smoking crowd, the dancefloors, the gents toilets, systematically sweeping through. This is a busy night, it's hot, I spot a dozen folk to put on my mental watch list. Get called over by the barstaff, get all the usual action of a night. I get my sweep interrupted and have to go back and start again.
After half an hour of wandering about inside, I'm sweating, grumpy and figure it for a bad job. One punter sneaking by is gonna happen every now and again, I don't take it personally, I'll just have to up the rest of my game and attempt to nudge the line for order over anarchy a little in my favour.
Getting back to the cooler air of the door, I send the young one back in and cool off a little. Who do I then see staggering up the street towards the door. The punter I'd been searching for. Not his fault, no need to be nasty, but he did get knocked back and told to cool off.
The new lad, he got a roasting, but sod it, he'll learn.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Home time

I work anti-social hours. That's obviously anti-social for me, highly social for just about everyone else.
When I finish a shift, I've been on my feet for between 4 and 17 hours depending upon the day, the venue and the number of venues I've worked. No real sitting down during this time, often a little adrenaline, some physical exertion and a whole load of standing around talking shit.
When I get done I'm often tired, hungry and fairly awake. I don't caffeinate particularly, I don't do the red-bull, energy shots or stay awake drinks, when I do get home from work I don't want anything getting in the way of my beauty sleep.
I often fancy a high calorie, high protein, high flavour, high fat, high salt snack to stave off hunger 'til the morning. I am thus drawn to the late night fast food venues nearest to the venue. I know the really popular one, that'll be full of all the scum I've been battling on and off all shift.
I go to the other one, quieter, still capable and less dickhead filled.
I'm known there by name, if I'm coming late, I've got the man's number to get my order in.
Most of the time, it's very quiet by the time I'm getting there, taxi, drivers, barstaff, dancers and other doorstaff make up most of the custom. I don't get on with all of them but it's friendly, sober and necessary. Most of the drunken few who stumble in don't really pay much notice. They want food and their or others beds. Frankly that's really what I'm after and wrapped and ready to go, I take my heartstopper home to enjoy, out of my boots, feet up in front of some pre-recorded televisual tedium. Arteries won't thank me for it but at least it stops me losing weight.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Eye bleach again

The middle of a steady night and a female aged between 30 and 50 approaches the front door with other female company. She's out on a big night, fancy dress, a real head to toe mess.
We'll start with the patent leatherette gladiator heels with shiny shiny goldie looking bits. Moving up we have distressed fishnets straining against flabby calves and thighs to I'm sure leave an orange bag look to the skin underneath. These wobbling nets of flesh are topped with far too short, far too tight shiny shiny PVC hot pants. The effort of the night having ripped the fishnets just at the top of the thigh so a large hole springs up showing without hatching the smudgy tattoo disappearing under her shorts. The feat of engineering holding the taut PVC together is surpassed only by the boned black low cut corset with the shiny shiny goldie sequins.
This leads us to the mass of wobbling breast, pressed up and flattened until abutting the chin. It too wobbly and topped with two over-ripe red stained trout pout lips which appeared like they were both asymmetric in wonderfully different ways.
Fake lashes thrown into relief by shiny shiny metallic eyeliner from lashes to the eyebrows halfway up the forehead.
As we carry on up, we encounter wiry, plastic hair extensions giving a huge volume to the rats nest of hairspray and backcombing. The scalp showing pale at the roots against the swirling mess of random strands going every which way.
The entire tapestry of bad choices was overlaid onto a fake spray tan so dark, she looked like a fully dessicated leathery embalmed mummy. Even down to the clumping of the sepia tones into wrinkles of the compressed and deformed bosom.
She came in and made her way to the reception desk. I made the mistake of looking into the club to see her group pay in. There after the horror of the front I see a fish-net hungry bum , chewing a pair of tiny PVC shorts into her crack and freeing a flash of white sanitary towel to weave itself through the tights.
More eyeball bleach required for all involved.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Starting Out

I've had a few questions about being new to the doors so here are a few gems of distilled wisdom for a new starter.
You can be big and sturdy or small and fast but you must be able to keep your head.
Don't get emotionally involved with the things you come across. Some punters will have traumatic tales, insults will be slung at you, fists will be slung at you. They don't know you, they likely never will. Let it wash past, you react to what you want to react to, don't get wound up. If a punter or a colleague can press your buttons you've given them control of the situation.
Don't be a perfectionist, just get it right and get it to stick.
There are way too many grey areas, too much haze of misinformation and miscommunication to get it perfect. You'll make mistakes, actions will have unintended consequences, situations will change and you won't have control. Accept it, learn the lessons & don't linger on it.
Enjoy the work, it's not glamorous or appealing but if you want to keep at it, enjoy it.
It's a people job, you work in teams, you'll meet a huge number of people. Make an effort to be friendly and you can have really fun nights of it and enjoy coming back. If you're cold and stony, you'll find the reception you get is cold and stony and is that something you're going to enjoy heading back in the next night. There can be all sorts of fun to be had, be a part of it.
It's not for everyone.
It's an odd job, bad hours, no respect, a half arsed management and some shifty characters in every direction. If it doesn't suit you, get out, don't be a bad doorman who doesn't want to be doing it. There's no medal for sticking it out, just accept it and move on.
These 4 should get you through most of it but getting badged and getting started is the beginning of a long steep learning curve.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Oi, No!

One night, busy-ish, the usual blend of little men trying to be bigger, big men with little girls and older ladies looking for thrills. Not a great deal of class to them but not real scum, not expecting too much crazy shit to be happening. I go on a little wander 'round the venue and discover in a fairly high through-put corridor a couple having some heated emotional exchanges. Not tears and pleading but angry stances, air fairly blue from points shouted over each other on both sides.
Not bad for amateur improv dramatics but not what we want in a nightclub. I interrupt, or at least place myself in both of their personal space, and declare it's time they took the argument outside. Neither of them acknowledges the comment verbally but both start moving towards the main door, still screaming over each other. I follow from a little distance and let my colleagues at the door know we're on our way but not in any hurry. No jackets to collect, no friends to say goodbye to, the slow procession to the door continues. I've not been paying too much attention to the type of conversation they've been continuing at full volume.
Just as they reach the door the aggravated lass says something akin to "You're just like Jake" to the aggravated lad. He very explosively snaps and lunges for her. The pair are a pace from the front door pair, I'm a pace behind him, shout out 'Oi No'. One colleague grabs the girl from behind and draws her clear of the oncoming flail of fists. The other lad grabs the nearest arm and tries to pull him out the door. His pull coincides with my surge in momentum and the lad is slingshot into the street. He topples off balance, my colleague sensibly keeps hold and he is slingshot into the wall beside the front door. He splats into the poster promoting another night of discount alcohol and loud music. He then kind of deflates and slumps to the floor. The lass is released and heads across the doorway, looking concerned for her lads state. Looking concerned, she bends down to him, spits on his face, kicks his sprawled legs and struts off smoothly towards the taxi rank. We had a little chuckle to ourselves and waited for the fallen little soldier to raise himself up and make his way on.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Old haunt

I revisited a venue I've not been at for a few years. I used to work there a few years ago, fairly non stop. It's a six night a week doorwork venue. I used to do all six of them with a couple of other lads, only to have the team padded on the hectic nights. This worked well, we knew the venue, we knew the customers, the staff and the barred list.
It was a pleasant, middle of the night venue most of the time. Punters fuelling up but not staying long, not much to appeal to the illicitly chemically enhanced, well observed toilets and alert staff kept the barred list refreshed. I'd like to think we reached a critical mass of drug users, sellers and fools barred so it became bad business to spend valuable time trying to sell to folks who weren't interested.
I revisited for a couple of hectic shifts, being the padding this time. It seems that a good deal of the work we'd done is still there, most customers have fun, drink and move on. What did seem to have changed was the staff, bar and floor, were not on the ball. I'd not worked there in a while and things inevitably change and their purpose shifts. The staff were less clued up on serving drunks, less aware of broken glass, spilled drinks and dirty tables. I'm sure minimum wage has gone up a good old chunk since I was last there. Still got to find a couple shagging in the loo and a couple of lads with summer colds so all's right in the world. That really does say a great deal about how twisted my view of the world and my role in it has become.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Feeling it

The first few good weekends of the summer have arrived. The sunshine of a week last saturday and then the bank holiday pay day weekend brought the first busy nights since the new year. The sunshine, the open beer gardens, the lack of confinement to sweaty, smelly interiors has seen folks out longer, drinking hard for longer days.
For business, it's finally good news, more customers, out for longer, more money spent, lower wage percentages and better profits all round.
For me it means, more muppets to knock back, all day drinkers are not all night winners from a letting in point of view.
More all day all night drinkers, fall asleep more, throw up and fall asleep more, fall over more and get in more drunken brawls.
This all means I've been running around and carrying drunken folks a lot more than I had been recently. I've been feeling old when I get off shift. Time to quit the bulk training, shift to speed, stamina and cv training again. Normally I get ahead of this but this year it's gotten ahead of me, must be old age kicking in, either that or I'm just getting slow.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Really don't

Now I say hello to all sorts of folks, young and old, male and female, pretty and rough. For just about all of those folks, I try and greet them with an "evening" sometimes followed up with an "how you doing?" or an "y'alright?". Not brilliant or witty but sincere on the most part and a good way of establishing some social contact which can stand me in good stead for later in the evening.
If I know the punter, either as a friend, or a regular, they might get a handshake or a "how's it going?". I'm not one of life's great conversationalists when I'm working, at least not within earshot of the punters.
What I really don't want is punters, female or male, hugging, frotting or mounting me as a form of greeting. I've worked gay night enough that this happens from men and women, even at 'straight' venues. It's not my style, it's not very professional looking and quite frankly I'm embarrassed by this ridiculous show. If out socially, this might be acceptable, but even then it'd be unlikely. The running jumping, hugging hump is not an acceptable greeting to any person at work unless you're a disney animal or a cup winning footballer. I'm neither.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Hard Questions

I'm not often asked too many hard questions by the punters. They're normally too drunk or inane to interest me. Every now and again wisdom does fall from the mouths of babes. The usual complement of mentally impaired through alcohol does occasionally include a moment of clarity and insight. Sometimes these cannot be answered with a short concise response or a shrug.
The observation that we can't let you on to the street with your drinks at exactly the point a pair of habitual tramps drag each other and their large bottle of cider around the waiting police vehicle is one of those. No easy answers, just an internal anger at the stupidity of the implementation of some laws and an answer which even as I was saying it sounded more hollow than a robbed out easter egg.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Full speed ahead

Flying into an energetic situation from the front door you kind of hope that it's either a big one, worth the running in from the door or an easy one that someone panicked on and the whole thing is well under control on arrival.
If it's all over apart from the walking to the door, you get to slam the brakes on full, you get a 2 second briefing shouted over the sound system while you find suitable bits to hold the separated parties by as you spin them around and head for the nearest exit.
If you get lucky and it's a blurry carnage of limbs, glass and anger you can use a little bit of physics to your advantage. A large body moving at speed can transfer momentum very effectively. By identifying you first target and your ideal ricochet. With good fortune, good balance and enough space you can splat one forward faster than they think they can move. A little work on the rebound and you end up wrapped around another one before either sees you coming. That's what you want to happen as you start pegging it in from the door.
More typically, you fly in to a find a partially controlled scuffle. No idea what's gone on, no idea who's still fighting, fighting back, holding back or just holding on to their mates. All the lovely momentum is poured away squeezing through a busy club to a poorly accessible corner. Grabbing the nearest limbs and trying to assert control from there is not a winner but it's often the best you get. Add in the few you missed in the round up trying to get in a cheap one as you've both of their enemies arms or try and bottle you as you carry their splattered mate out. Every now and then you get option one, only once in a blue moon do you get the second. Far too bloody often its the third one, all the run, none of the fun.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Oi Copper!

One of the innovations that has come into the door supervisor role over my career has been the provision of stewards or 'street marshalls' for the vicinity of the premises. These are almost invariably doorstaff. Not well paid or appreciated ones but normally badged and bored. Standing by a taxi-rank or a busy street crossing is not really the highlight of the night. If a smoker however, a short shift in the cold of the night used to be a convenient way of both cooling off and lowering the stress level a little.
Wearing a very bright, big high vis, with the high vis hood up as it was throwing it down I could imagine from a distance that I might be mistaken for a plod. Que a local gentleman of questionable social and intellectual skill, on a bicycle. He went past on the pavement on the other side of the road for the Nth time while I watched over drunken fools trying to work their way home via the limited supply of hackney carriages available on a wet midweek night.
He zips past, tosses a can over into the soggy queue on this side of the street and as he nears the corner, yells out, "Oi Copper, Fuck off!".
This was nothing exceptional except that as he'd paused to misdirect this insult two high vis, hat protected officers emerged around the corner and witnessed both acts of disorderly behaviour. I think by the time they'd finished having an extended word with this select individual he'd wish he'd F'd off instead.

New look

I've clocked up a few comments about the old layout, pale colours on black being hard to read. Time to change it to a more neutral look. I'll slowly try and attempt to get the 230 previous posts into a colour scheme that now works on a light background. I hope this gives a less McCullough-effect distorted viewing event.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Games we Play

Now this trade is 99% boredom, on some nights it's 100% boredom. Even the most energetic shifts are only at best 75% activity. Standing around, wandering about, watching drunk people is most of the job and not too energetic or stimulating.
We therefore develop a few games. One of which is the gentle tug on a colleagues shirt while subtly indicating to a group of ladies. The phrase associated with this tug is universally known as "don't fancy yours much". The objective of the game is to tug and suggest the worst looking or worst matched person possible. This is not a sexist game, all sexes, persuasions and ages can play. The same rules apply. No one gets hurt, unless they know about the game already.
When standing at a doorway with passing punters a baseball/volleyball style signing system can be used to great effect to silently rate and comment upon the passing sights.
Giving hope to chavs is one of those little pleasures that can fill an otherwise quiet night. I'll have decided from a long distance that they're not coming in. They'll saunter up, I'll ask for ID, they'll have some, in a back pocket somewhere, I'll inspect it. With luck it'll be theirs. I'll move on to dress code and make sure that all their polo-shirts have collars turned down, that all their socks are dark and their shoes aren't scruffy trainers. Then we'll move on to admission fees and the need to put all their many jackets, scarves, hoodies etc into cloakroom. Just when they think it's all kushty to get in, I suddenly remember they're still barred for another 2 weeks and they can come back then if they so desire. Gives me whole minutes of amusement, every single time.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Night off

Standing in the back of a club, after the bars had finally shut, I'm watching the last desperate attempts to pull from the foolish and unsuccessful.
I have to stand blocking off a doorway to a room that was by that time in the night closed to punters. A lady who has otherwise failed to find a new warm bed for the night approaches me. She's 22-26 years old, brunette, reasonably dressed, reasonably attractive, relatively sober. This rings alarm bells. At this time of the night it's only the inebriated and the odd left.
Nubile, attractive and coherent immediately rings alarm bells.
"So when do you get done?"
"Not 'til the last ones gone home, I've had a drink and a burger, then a long walk home"
"Oh, that's a pity, when's your night off?"
That's an unusual strategy, most of the business is about immediate gratification, most punters don't think past the next drink, the next dance, the next pull. The idea of a strategy that extends beyond the next couple of days is beyond most of the clientele.
"Sorry love, I'm not off 'til Thursday, then I've got some drinking, sleeping and quality TV time to catch up on."
"Oh well that is a real pity. I was hoping you'd take me out and show me the town."
I'm still very sober, very cynical and quite tired.
"Well love, you've made it to 3 in the morning in this town's premium venue, there's little of this town left for you to see and none of that I'd want to drink in. You'll not be seeing me on Thursday."
"Pity, Oh well."
At which juncture, she heads straight out the main door and heads off into the night. I don't need a flag waving to tell me she was flirting, I also don't need a banner waved to tell me that she was serious. I was tired, sober and I don't bring my work home, or onto my night off. There's only one night off a week and I will spend my time drinking with friends, not baby-sitting a nut job while maintaining my night the wrong side of sober for my sole night off.

Monday, March 01, 2010


Been doing some old fashioned single man shifts at a city centre venue. Not a community local, just a traditional old fashioned venue tailored to real drinkers of real ale, fine wines and a large collection of premium spirits.
Much like the venue, the doorwork is traditional, no large team to back up your call. No town-wide radio to hear the good gossip from, to get an early heads up on the groups and individuals rolling round town causing mayhem. Just relying on wits, experience and confidence in my ability not to get it too wrong too often. If you get it wrong, it's you to blame, if you get it right, it's just another night.
Good old fashioned fun to be had by all, except those on the wrong side of my judgement, then it's good old fashioned sobriety.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Off colour

We had a little problem with a semi-regular gentlemen customer at a popular destination in the town centre. We see him in passing most weekends, see him in most months and see him like this very rarely.
He seems to have some inherent communication issues, though not severe enough to stop him having a small group of consistent friends. He has socialised with this group for several years and he appears a core member of it through the numerable cast changes. He does however have some issues and these are exacerbated by drink.
He doesn't seem to read group dynamics, he can't seem to see who's associated with whom and where the lines of familiarity are drawn.
He will interrupt conversations to put his unrelated interjection over the top of it. He will be overtly friendly with groups of strangers who just happen to be unlucky enough to be walking down the street at the same time he is. These might line him up for some abuse and intimidation but these are all strangers and generally used to dealing politely with the socially inept you encounter on a night. What his most troubling issue is when he is angered or confronted by one person he can transfer this anger onto another group or person who haven't been involved.
He often gets into arguments, on the street and inside venues but is normally sober enough, or more accurately not too drunk, to let these accelerate. He backs down, his friends wade in or we guide him away. He's not particularly aggressive, he's not large or intimidating, he just gets baffled by group dynamics and boundaries.
When he's had a skinful however, he doesn't know when to back down, he doesn't know when he's in danger, he doesn't seem to clock when his mates are not around.
All of this adds up to us finding ourselves dragging him out and landing him on the street. We don't bar him as this only happens once a year, he and his group are normally a fun, big spending group which reflect the target audience of the venue well. Some folk just shouldn't celebrate their birthdays it seems.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Lost n' Found

The list of things found in the deepest darkest corners of the nightclubs as you're clearing out the place is only bettered by the list of things found out in the unconcealed open.
The little triangular blue pills to help gentlemen turn up on the bar. The spent hamster mattress has shown up in a previous post. The bags/lines/wraps of coke that accumulate on the seats, tables and corners of the dancefloor are an all too common sight under a bright torch light. The bizarre however is by its very nature rare. The purse, lost on the main dancefloor, reported to us hours before, turns up at kicking out time, still full of cash, phone and keys. That was a massively unexpected event.
We do give folks the occasional surprise when we find their bank cards, digital cameras or the bits of the phones that disappear into the poorly lit gloom every time a handset is dropped. I carry a torch for that very reason. Well that reason and the fact that naughty stuff glows very white under a blue end of spectrum LED.
The lady who asked us to find her lost handbag was a little shocked that when we found a black faux leather clutch bag and decided to check for her ID, phone or some unique identifier before handing it over. Even more shocked were we when next to her ID, a very good photo, was a little clear bag half full of white powder. That customer doorman relationship turned on a sixpence at that point.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Ruff and tumble

The student masses have descended again and after a few pointless exchanges of words with closed ears, well spoken idiots I was put in mind of a incident a long while ago. In a multilevel venue with a kind of balcony overlooking the stairs I encountered a considerably inebriated young scholar in his sporting outfit. Separated from the rest of his herd he had clearly been left too long at the watering hole where he was singing loudly and making the king of sounds only half a silver drawer in your mouth from an early age can produce. He was swaying gently in the still air and I was afraid that in the interval it would take me to reach him across the very busy floor of the club he would have swayed too far and broken the slight string of sobriety pinning him upright.
I was right to be worried. As I was just beyond arm's reach and closing fast he went down. Well he nearly went down, he had one hand holding strong to the balcony rail while his other 3 limbs rubberised and then appeared to be electrified as his drink stalled reflex nerves tried to right him.
Luckily his one good hand held 'til I got within grasping distance and then I did just that. I grasped at his shoulders to find I was holding only jacket. I grasped at his middle and got only a handful of shirt. With a more assertive pinning of the lad to the rail I got control of his torso. The four distributed limbs were by now firing wildly, half to try and regain balance, half trying to fend me and my control off. This went ok 'til the lower two started resisting me and the upper two started resisting gravity. I got massively unbalanced, tangled and entwined in this whirling ball of limbs. Down we both went. I struggled free and hauled myself up. He was fairly well just thrashing about. Lively, energetic but massively unfocused. As I wasn't heading back to the mat with this one just yet I grabbed an arm, lifted it high and began dragging him back to his feet. This time, they came back under him in a more positive fashion. The one restrained wrist became two and he was successfully frog-marched out, his legs still retaining the amphibian limbed bounce of his earlier efforts. Not a glorious episode but for all those watching and at least one of those involved quite a funny one. Even when sitting across the road, about to be arrested for D & D he still managed to get beautifully plummy "far" and "can't" sound into his final "fuck off you filth cunt" line.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Gold Watch

I've been reminiscing recently on why I've been watching drunk people do naughty stuff for the last decade. I got into the game as a student money earner, it fitted round my studies, it was less work, more money and seemed like more fun than barwork. The money is good, enough to keep me from debt and I'm still at it despite a trip to the southern hemisphere, a graduation and the start of a professional career.
The night job has persisted through all these activities. Now the far side of 30 with a mrs, a car and a real job I'm still doing it in a long black coat on the weekends. The game has changed a massive amount with only one little thing in our favour. The seemingly unaccountable SIA have made their inconsistent civil, not customer, service approach to the licensing bureaucracy both frustrating and pointless. The no-win/no-fee activities of the ambulance chasers have turned the masses into responsibility free walking lawsuits and businesses have responded by just being massively cautious to the extent they stop jobs being done and fun being had. The responsibility free generation has spawned an underclass of drinking chav who fear no one, shout, argue and fight anyone with no sense of control, proportion or sense. The police to me have gradually shifted from practical folk to practical folk with boxes to tick and targets to hit and careers dependent upon these. The days of pills, acid and weed are gone in favour of coke, ket and drink spiking drugs. The students are still drinking though with fees ands loans now the ones with the money to party seem to have daddy's money and not a wide and diverse social mix.
A lot of the initial fun of folding people up and sending them on their way has dissipated. The thrills of confrontations needing skill, wit and teamwork are all still there and provide me with the reasons to keep coming back and getting better at the job, every night, every venue, every person poses a new challenge.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Snow Joke

Apparently the whole of the nation has ground to a halt with the recent stiff white precipitation. I've still been going to work, still been standing there in the cold and still seeing the horizontally striped and stupid stumble by. It seems most of the sensible folks have stayed away, we've had some very quiet nights inside and some very entertaining nights outside. Watching things in short shorts and shoes they can't walk in on the best of days going arse over tit time and again on the gentle slope covered in hard packed ice and slush. The tell tale marks of salted grit stains on jackets and knees have been all to present. All very entertaining and not one wanna be punter has yet thought it wise to throw snowballs at us. I mainly think this could be luck but a small bit may be the frozen faces of thunder we all seem to have adopted just at the thought of it. The promo staff still find it fun, when they've come back from another fruitless lap of the city centre, to pelt us but we do get our revenge. Like snowballs, it's always best served cold.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy new Year

The good folk at the venue last night were drinking, dancing and being merry. Other than a few dropped and broken glasses all was civilised. I has some concerns certain groups were going a bit to heavy and would be unlikely to make the midnight so a couple of harsh looks and some well timed words and they were back on form until auld lang syne. The drunken tomfoolery began after midnight but with most folks happy, well fed and watered it all began to thin out and we didn't have too many issues. A couple of hours after midnight it was time to send the nodding offs home and then we encountered the absence of taxis, the irritating 'waiting for ringback' and the cold snowfilled night which even I felt a bit harsh to send people out into after 5 to 6 hours of expensive merry making. The joys of a ticket only event with a well targeted marketing strategy and a huge barstaff to give speedy, well tipped service. All in all this left very few folks dissatisfied although I've not yet had to get energetic in 2010 so I'm a little disappointed.