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Friday, April 15, 2011

Give it up

One busy Saturday night, we've got quite a few groups in from out of town, stag do's and hen do's mixing in with the locals. There's a little friction inside and we fly in to find a customer on his backside, a little splattered after being smacked up side the head. The DJ tells us that the violent gent we're after is conveniently dressed as spiderman. This allows the team to split, some with the dazed and confused and a couple with me. The gent covered head to toe in a lycra web-slinger outfit, with shaped foam body sculpted panels, is not hard to find.
On approaching him after a whole 8 seconds looking for him, he raises both arms aggressively and tries to take a fighting stance. He finds a doorman on each arm, his torso parallel to the floor and route to the door shortening and clearing rapidly. As he meets the night air, we ease off and his arms come back under his control, he tries to shrug himself out of our never tender embrace. This leads to him propelling himself away from us with all four limbs. Forgetting he's horizontal and without a limb left he falls flat onto his face and padded chest.
Here a gent, who's given up on the dancing and is waiting in the cool for his partner to get her coat, advises very politely that spidey should cool off. The result of the spider human interaction told him rather aggressively to "Fuck off Old Timer". The gent was a little affronted and again politely invited him to chill out. The webbed wonder turned and went to give another mouthful of verbal abuse to the gent. Not unsurprisingly, the gent didn't wait for it to escalate and slotted him a tight fast left jab. Spider man again fell to the floor on his less padded arse.That made us giggle and the gent took his ladies arm and wandered on into the night.
Our super un-hero seems a little aggrieved, but as we retake our stance on the doorway and continue the business of the night, he stands outside the barriers and keeps slinging abuse at us.
The masked marvel wonder was not done however. His anger and tirade against all and sundry continued. The police arrived as they typically do in the small hours and watch his abuse slinging antics for thirty seconds before getting out of the van en-masse and advising him to quit. A mouthful of verbal abuse of the bluest nature led to him being nicked. He didn't go quietly and was once again getting his use out of the foam padding before the cuffs came on and the only thing left for him to climb was the cage in the back of the van. He must have been as shit at climbing as he was at keeping out of trouble, we kept on hearing him falling again and again in that six foot box at the back.

Monday, March 28, 2011

One in a

Hundreds of people come through the door on a normal night. Some venues I've worked at could do 3-4k punter turnover in 4 hours with only half a dozen staff. Most of these will be fine, they'll buy drinks, not steal them, they'll dance and chat and help build a good atmosphere, not lurk, leer and poison a good atmosphere. Depending upon the venue, therewill be a mix of the good and the bad. The challenge is knowing how to tell them apart, how to assess the broad range of folks coming in and identifying the problems. If we need 1000 people in but to do that we'll have to let in 100 bad, there will be more trouble in the venue and more need for doorstaff than if we let only 900 in and they all have a good night without witnessing fights and having to overly watch their bags and drinks we may see all of them back. This can be missed by a manager with a 5 figure sales target for the night but less bother, more fun, longer stays, more spend per head, lower staff numbers, all help hit those targets. There is no secret trick to picking good from bad, watch people, judge people, listen for accents, speech patterns, what they're wearing, how they're wearing it, how they carry themselves, how they communicate internally amongst their group, between strangers and with you. Don't sit and weigh these as you might a hand in poker with half the cards known, get a feel for who you want in and make your calls accordingly. You'll never get it all right, you'll never be able to see the future, you just work with what you do and don't get too obsessed with the one who you're not sure about, don't miss the 10 really bad ones while you're thinking.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

The End

Well folks, I'm going to step back from writing a weekly update. It seems from my stats that this blogs readership is tapering off. The numbers are dropping and I can only imagine the day of the moderate, text only, everyman blog has passed, in favour of fast to digest tweets and more content rich material which I don't have the time to assemble on a weekly basis.
I imagine I have some loyal followers and to you, warm and heartfelt thanks. Occasional postings will emerge when I feel compelled to pass on an anecdote or a rant but the attempts at week by week, weekly postings are coming to an end.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Swapping a C into punters

If you do a public facing job, over time you'll slowly grow to despise them. You might move to intolerance of them, but slowly they'll get under your skin and you'll hate them. There will always be nice ones, ones that make you smile and have hope there are still decent corners of humanity left out there. Unfortunately these are the rare islands of sanity in a world of self absorbed, self centred, retarded filth that make up most of the drinking public. I know that decent people don't go out and avoid pubs with doorstaff, the sad fact that idiots seem to occupy all the space not filled with even moderately nice people is depressing. I've learnt that even though I hate them, I still enjoy the work. You can look beyond the customers and the sticky floored smelly venue to the act of doing the job well, earning respect and maintaining professionalism. That provides sufficient reward to deal with the punters, with an C or not, and not just give it all up as a bad job.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011


I am still amazed by the ability of folks, most often men it has to be said, who in drink appear to become invincible. With a sufficient number of over-strength lagers inside them, they can seemingly do amazing feats of strength, stupidity and self abuse which would leave most sober folks, exhausted, broken or befuddled.
I have seen grown men piggy back two others, at the same time, up a steep rain soaked street. This was done, to some applause, from a taxi queue which he had decided would be too long hence he became the one man hansom cab.
I have seen and heard a gent rip a door from it's hinges with his fingertips after convincing himself the door opened inwards at the hinge side. This involved wrenching 6 screws, three each plate, from their positions deep in a brick wall. The offender and offended door emerged into the rest of the toilet area, with a load crash, to find a troop of doorstaff ready to escort him from the venue and escort the door to a store room until the night was over.
I've seen a gentleman, for surely he was one, punch an outside wall, repeatedly, until the plaster was off the brickwork, his hand was a squishy mess and we were waiting on two varieties of blue light taxi to arrive. He then gave us the finger, picked up his bottle of beer, with the busted hand, took a swill of beer, poured some blood and beer down his chin and sallied off into the night.
Oh for the mornings after.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Shut it!

Standing in the doorway, refusing entry to a family gaggle of chav, I really just wish they'd accept reality. That reality being, the entire group, cousins, sisters, uncles and aunts are not coming in. Too much bad hair dye, very visible brands and sparkly things on both boys and girls.
What they do, is make a lot of noise. Some of it is aimed at me and my colleagues, for being unreasonable, 'dickheads', 'useless jobsworths' an similar stream of entertaining nonsense. Some of it is aimed at the previous lot for arguing the toss and getting them all refused. Some are trying to get an understanding as to what the heck is going on, has gone and will be going on. With 20 nasal whining and complaining voices talking across me I really do wish we'd have a decent shout, inside or out and we could leave these muppets to it.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Bargain Boozing

I'm not an academic expert in the price elasticity of demand for over strength alcohol in those with alcohol related problems. I'm not publishing papers in the Lancet. I do however deal with a large number of people who have problems with alcohol and an even larger number of people who don't. In the course of my work I've encountered some people who's relationship with alcohol has led to their own death or those of others. I've seen folks slowly destroy their physical and mental health with drink. I've commented here before on the minimum alcohol price and my support for a sensible minimum. It's affect on me and my line of work would only be positive. The use of licenced front-line doorstaff is almost exclusively on licensed premises serving non-minimum price drinks to those with or without the money to pay for it.
What concerns me about the recent moves on minimum alcohol unit prices is two fold. The level it is set at is ridiculously low. The inability to retail at below the current taxation level doesn't set a sensible bar to problem drinkers. To be so low on funds, even benefit derived funds, to not be able to pickle yourself daily, is not stopped.
The second worry is that this will be brought in, then over time, once the general public has accepted the idea of a minimum, this minimum being the tax minimum, the tax will rise. The minimum price will go up, the problems with cheap drink will fall, the price will rise again. All the time the tax on all drinks will rise and the many punters, daily, weekly, monthly or occasional, will be paying with every drink. This will hurt hard the vast majority who drink without problem and the minimum unit pricing, will hurt everyone.