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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.