Wednesday, September 27, 2006

A living

A punter came up to me one night while I was watching a rather empty dancefloor in a yet to be busy club.

I knew this punter as the previous week he'd had one too many and I had to ask him to leave. That night he'd not gone quietly, though he did walk, he just wasn't happy about it and told everyone who would pay him the time of day.

This night as he walks up to me I'm thinking to myself, he's relatively sober and with his girlfriend tonight. He either wants to lay me out for screwing up his night last week or he's come to apologise. Turns out the latter was the case. He shook my hand and said he was sorry for being a nob the other night. He didn't think he was that drunk but it caught up with him in the morning and he really must've been. I told him not to worry and to have a good night of it tonight. After a natter he seem mightily impressed I'd been able to spot his drunkeness when even he was unaware.

To this I could only reply, "I do this for a living."
I'm sober, alert and generally fairly well rested. I've been doing it alot and know what to do and when. Unlike your average drunken punter I'm fully aware of my surroundings and can percieve the tell-tale signs of a drink addled person from quite a distance.

It's sad to think that one of the skills I've proven myself remarkably useful at over the years and have now honed to a fine art is assessing whether some-one's had a sherry or two too many from just watching them, from a distance, walk five steps. I can see it in their shoulders and the way they carry their arms. I can spot it in their facial expressions and the look in their eyes. I can also tell the subtleties of who's most likely to get aggressive, who'll see sense and walk off and who'll just get it wrong and need more than a little help to get out of the building.

All of these things I've picked up over the years and now I'm beginning to get similar appreciation of the illegal drugs that one occasionally sees. Who's up on charlie or speed, who's taken special K and will be needing some serious talking down later in the morning. All of these I see less than the drug of national habit, alchohol, and each can cause a range of behaviours with some very mixed signals.

As I say it's what I do for a living, glamourous it is not but it is a living. And importantly it doesn't involve sitting in an office at 9.am every morning waiting to shuffle paper from one box to another and read 200 emails that a sane man would just file and forget.

Seen in that light, it's more than living but it's sure as hell not a way of life.

Friday, September 22, 2006

My eyes (pt I)

There are things you should never have to witness.
This is part one of an occasional series where horrors from my line of work come back to haunt me and by means of spreading the love to you through this blog I take a little therapy.

Today's image scorched onto my retinas is almost literally so. In a dark club, you see a punter, fairly average size and drunkeness, finish his pint in a bit of a hurry to get himself onto the dancefloor for some banging tune.
You keep watching and as the song ramps up, the lights dim and the strobe lighting comes on. The pale white frames of stop motion show the instant when the punter stops his dancing amid the sea of writhing people and projectile vomits. I see the solid shaft of beer, bile and chunks of stomach lining fly straight above the heads of the crowd frame by frame. It freezes mid air in the repeated jerking frames of the strobe then falls onto the dancing crowd to cause untold woe.

The image of this frame by frame nightmare is very haunting. The incidident wouldn't have been note-worthy were it not for the stobe, 3kW of violent bright strobe lighting, burning it into my mind.

Excuses excuses

Some folk will try any line to get past you on the door.
"But my cousin/brother/best-friend/girlfriend/etc is in there"
"I know X and Y"
"I come in here all the time..."
"You're doing this because I'm Z"
"You know this is bullshit, you're just doing this to piss me off"
None of these will ever work. This kind of useless pleading is just not entertaining, it won't work, it won't win you friends it'll just leave you outside and provide some spectacle for those currently outside with you.
It's that simple.

Now give me story I believe and that prompts a little sympathy, humor or even pity and without begging or even directly asking for it and the door may open for you. Not a guarantee but a lot of the rules we operate have some leniency which can be dusted off and sprinkled sparingly on individuals from time to time. If you can spark a rapport with a doorman, this rarely seen commodity can be yours, just don't be a dick when you get in there as that will really piss us off.

Friday, September 15, 2006

I. f**king D.

Why in the name of all things scabbed and ulcerous do young punters think I'm stupid.
I've been doing this job for a few years and statistics suggest I've probably let a few under-age folks in over that time. Not many mind you and never knowingly.

If you look like you could be under-age I will ask for I.D.
Now thats a much different thing from thinking that you are under-age. Don't get offended and think I'm on a power trip, I'm just doing what the law suggests I do to ensure I'm not involved in the supply of alchohol to minors.

If you look young and are over-age you'll fall into one of two camps. You'll either be a nice punter and understand the need for licensed premises to check these things and bring ID with you. A nice passport or a photo-driving licence. The photo will look at a first approximation like you, allowing for age of the photo and hair, diet, glasses to change.
Or you'll be saying to me that you never need ID and I must be daft to ask. Not normally that polite but it's nice to hope. Here I look at your friends. If they all look over 25 and you look like you fit in I may be generous. If they've just shown me their ID and they're 18 by two months, you can wander off into the night.

I've seen beautifully crafted fake ID over the years and many more recently with the arrival of many sites upon the web offering these "joke" services. I'm still suprised by the look on their face when I tell them that the ID isn't up to par. They usually combine the drinkers anger at not being let in with the whimpering look of a dog that's just been caught with it's head in the roast.

The use of out of date passports is really starting to bug me. We don't accept retired passports. The photos are far too old and if you've got older siblings or relatives with even a passing resemblance it can be too hard to tell.
If you're trying to slip one past me it's not gonna happen past me. But then I'm old bored and cynical, I've not been ID'd for over a decade and you'd be suprised that I still carry my driving licence all the time.
Ironically, I was a right teenage under-age drinker. I kinda slowed down when it became legal, had girls to worry about then. Still worrying about them.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Drunk

What do you do when you're at work, it's quiet, it's going smoothly and all of a sudden your boss turns up absolutley off their box?

Not the door company boss, that'd be scary, as that amount of horse growth hormone mixed with alcohol would send anyone loopy. No, the licensee.

The person who we doorstaff theoretically work for. The person judged by the relevant authorities to be a fit and proper person to retail intoxitating liquors to the public. They turn up b*ll*xed and don't just sit there merrily sipping their large white wine. They wander round abusing customers, making them leave their drinks and leaving them threatening to report the licensee to the brewery. They shout at barstaff, in full view and hearing of all the punters on the premises, reducing them to tears and seeing them walk out. Swearing and being ballistically offensive.

What you do is find the bar manager, cowering out of the firing line for equal fear of either losing the job they and their kid need or losing the plot and smacking the boss into the middel of the street. You explain that we can either escort the licensee off the premises and get a shed load of grief from them as we've just forced them out of their own home. Or we just quietly stop letting anyone in and stop serving those within. Once the last punters leave, whilst the boss is still mid swearing rant, we shut the doors, escort the tills to the safe, collect the obvious glasses and leave them on the bar. Escort the remaining barstaff off the premises and lock the drunken fool in there.

That meant an early end of the night, but we and the staff just bundled across the road and amid the touting for job vacancies had a cool calm beer and a rather nervous laugh. I know that most of the group will never work with that licensee again. It's hard to run a pub with no staff.

Not a fun night's work. But a good solution I think. Hopefully in the painfully sober light of day the realisation of their f*ck up will leave them rather sorrowful and hopefully thinking of a new career, where they can't walk in pickled and shoot themselves in the foot with quite such aplomb.

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Back up

The most effective means of getting my back up is to provide me with no back-up.
when I'm on the door of a bar with one other doorstaff, I expect them to back me up and for me to back them up. I may disagree with what they've just done but aslong as they're not breaking the law there's very little chance I'll do anything at all to undermine them. With the exception of winding other staff up I think that's farily universal in the trade.

I've only worked with one doorman who thought it pertinent to disagree with me infront of a rejected punter, most happily disagree out of punter's earshot and this is expected/necessary/productive. I don't work with him anymore.

To work well in this job you need authority, not just from size and meaness but from your manner and your decisiveness. To have the chap dressed as you are, standing doing the same job you are, undermining that authority is one of the fastest ways to land yourself in sh*t. That gets my back up.

When we ask for barstaff to call police or ambulance, we expect them to do it as a first priority. If it's a soda water and lime I'm after then fair enough, take your time but, when it's mine or anybodies arse on the line, back me up. Almost all of the bar and management staff I've ever worked with have been good this way. It may be to do with my manner or it may have something to do with only asking those who'll get it done to do it.

When the call goes out for a blue light noisy vehicle of some form or other we really do like them to arrive as fast as is sensible. The whole reason we've called them suggests there's somthing they need to be doing. We'll not call an ambulance for a healthy punter, but we do like them to ba able to walk out under their own steam with at least enough consciousness to make it to the kebab van. The ambulance service has always been very good at getting to the right place at the right time and asking the right questions quickly. We may not have all of the answers but it's nice to know they're on the ball.

So enough of praising the drunk kidnappers, time to whine about the cops/pigs/rozzers/scum/filth. I know they work in a world of boxes to be ticked and forms to be filled but some nights you get the feeling they'd rather be keeping themselves nice and warm in their van rather than stopping a minor disorder from sending some-one into hospital. The calls go out from us and we know they hear us, but if it's not a tasty job I think we get passed to the unit who are off to the nearby town with excess overnighters and won't be back 'til shift end.
Not all in all the best response to a situation which'll leave either doorstaff or punters asking for alot of NHS money to put right something we could all have done without.

Monday, September 4, 2006

Blue light taxis

Now it's not often we have to deal with the boys in blue, though they do like to drive past and keep an eye on us.

Most commonly they'll just wave as they drive by and they can see we're working and we can see they're driving around seeing we're working.

Every now and again they actually walk past and say hello or stop and get a tea/coffee and a natter. They do this I'm sure to tick a box somewhere saying they've spent time working in partnership with licensed premises staff to promote a safer city. From the sounds of it there are always boxes to be ticked.

Sometimes we have them come around and check we've all got our silly blue badges somewhere about our person. We show them, they write down the numbers and then promtly ignore the whole transaction other than to tick another box somewhere to say they've verified the integrity of the licensed doorstaff scheme.

Every now and then they'll ask if we've seen someone, there are only a few folks who they'd think we'd have recognised though it's odds on we haven't on any particular night.

Evreynow and then they'll pop in and have a gander for someone, seldom find them in the premises but it does work to scare our customers honest every now and then and it keeps a pair of bobbies out of the rain for 10 minutes as they stop for the inevitable tea/coffee.

Then we come to the times when we call them.

This is not a very often occurrence though when on the doors of the bigger clubs it's often more as a heads up to CCTV or patrols about the folk we've rejected. They usually ignore it though there are times when it's best to let them know the folk they've been asking after all night have just left our doors heading onward into the cold dark night.

Everynow and then the doorstaff would rather the police ejected someone. This is rare where I work though if you think it'd be more trouble and cost to scrap a large group out into the street its amazing how one or two brightly jacketed high viz police officers can be very persuasive.

The other time this happens is if the person by entering a licensed premises has already broken the law due to court order or bail conditions. Then rather than just hoicking them out onto the street we'll let the police know to be waiting with the back doors of the van open.

Sometimes when folk get rejected or ejected they just don't go away. These times we just send for the boys in blue to send them on their way homeward. If they keep being royal pains in the arse even when the van turns up they'll be getting B & B for the night.

Everynow and then we'll pull someone in for a random search and they'll agree, somehow forgetting the quantity of drugs they have poorly concealed about their person. They could just head to the door and we've no power to stop them but they agree to be searched and then we find all manner of illegal goodies on them. We then ask them to stay put and generally they do. If they want to leg it we persuade them it's best not to as the police are one their way and we're fairly sure they would far rather not have to run after them. It usually works and the police either say hello to an old friend when they come in or just book it and sling em in the back.

If large scale public disorder is likely to erupt on a front door we often find ourselves shoulder to shoulder with the high viz plods and thankfully we don't have to use HO approved restraint techniques. It's more fun doing it our way but they do get to play with extendable batons and handcuffs.

I think in our city we get on well, with the changes in the industry over the last 5-10 years, I think both us and them see the others as partial allies in the grand scheme of keeping punters safe doing what they want to be doing and keeping the rotten apples out of the pie.

Every now and then they just don't turn up which properly gets on our tits.
More on this when I've cooled off enough not to give a ten page rant.

Friday, September 1, 2006

Ways to...

get rejected at the front door

1. Be drunk. I know the need to get a few jars down your neck and get the social juices flowing before you attempt an approach towards a good-looking lady. I also know it's illegal to serve anyone who is drunk. Merry I can live with, drunk I can't. Be it slurring, staggering, swaying or just that relaxed facial expression that says one too many, I'll be more than happy to send you away to enjoy your night elsewhere. It may seem daft that we turn away potentially our highest consuming customers doing this but we'd rather see them go from merry to drunk inside, it's more profitable and less messy.

2. Be inappropriately dressed. Now I'm not a fan of scruffy people. Men, have a shave, not every day but at least some time in the last 2 weeks. Ladies, do something with your hair, even if it's just brush it or put it up. you can dress as you like as long as you meet he ever varying and always open to interpretation dress code. Not looking like you've crawled out of a dark hole backwards is always a good start. I don't have a sense of fashion, only of taste, that means that whatever the label is on your clothing, the bigger it is the less I'll like you.

3. Be undressed. Less of a problem than (2.) but don't leave shirts unbuttoned or off and I don't want to see your pants escpecially when you've got a belt on you chavvy morons. Ladies, unless it's very exceptional bra's are not for public display, nor are nipples or the top of your pubes. Don't take offence when I reject you for this, I just think that if I were a punter I'd rather not be seeing these things when I'm inside enjoying myself.

4. Be loud. Having a laugh, telling a joke, winding a mate up. All good uses of the time spent not drinking whilst queuing. Loud shouts, loud singing or other abrupt loud noises will only increase my unease and will leave you with more than a queues worth of time without drink.

5. Poor queuing. The person standing infront of you will likely be trying to do the same as you and get into the premises. Sometimes this is not the case though it's always best to ask them. Don't think you can just cut in ahead of other more patient punters. If we notice, and we generally do, we'll happily remove you to attempt another manners lesson from the back of the queue. If you actually think it's worth requeuing than go ahead, it's likely we've just done it to wind you up but you may get lucky. If not you've only wasted your time not mine.

6. Be part of a large group. Now for mixed groups this is often less of a problem but for single sex groups, out on the town for some spurious celebration reason or another, some fool in your group will likely have fallen foul of 1-5 above and nothing you can do or say will entice me to change my mind. Best bet is to leave them with money for a taxi and kebab and wish them well for their head in the morning.

7. Be barred. Now some folk don't seem to get the hint that when we say they're barred from the premises, they are barred from the premises. We only have a few clubs in this town so maybe that's the reasoning but whatever the motivation, we don't want you in. You may get past the front pair and even pay to get in at the front desk but someone working will know you and you will be abruptly back on the street. If you are barred, turn up sober and ask politley why and for how long. Don't argue, just accept it and take your custom elsewhere in the mean time. Argue and we'll just keep upping the length of your exclusion 'til zimmer-frames and more than a few changes in ownership will be facing us all.

8. Be distressed. Now I know when folk go out drinking thay can get emotional and can get upset by the smallest things. Sometimes bad news reaches you or it's as you relax that something finally hits home. I understand this, I'm not going to let your sad sobbing self into the club to drown your sorrows. It's just not good for the place to have you drinking here when you're in such a state the other customers will notice.

9. Have a history. If I've had to kick you out before, I'll possibly remember this and possibly why. If you were too drunk or you'd fallen asleep, if you look like you're half-way there again I'd likely not let you in. If you were violent or threatening previosly, I'd try and assess what mood and company you were in. If I had any doubt you'd be trouble, I'd save myself the bother of having to let you in. Unless of course, I was bored and fancied having something to do. In which case I'd be more than happy to let you in and have myself a whale of a time kicking you out again.

10. Arrogance. I get paid to work here and do a rather unpleasant job at rather unpleasant hours. This is not a good reason to think I'm stupid, idle or only recieving the minumum wage. Be polite to me when I greet you and I'll like you a whole lot more than when you respond to my greeting with the kind of stare that kept the british empire only ever one good rebellion away from a kicking. If you think I'm scum, why, oh why, would it bother you so much that I decide not to admit you. It may seem like I'm doing it for kicks and it's partly true but rude and ungrateful people cause friction within the club both with punters and staff. If I can reduce their number inside by one I'm a happy lad.

11. Misc. There's a world full of things you can do to annoy me enough not to let you in, however a good manner and some sobriety can overcome most of these obstacles. The best thing to bring with you to a club is a good attitude,

oh and of course your ID.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Walk like a man

Talk like a man,
Punch like a little girl.

I for my sins was back at the gay night the other evening and had a whole world of fun dealing with the wonders of drunken protective tom-boy butch lesbians.

I saw one female push another clean off her stool, falling backwards and smacking her head on a step behind her. I went up and politely told her she was leaving. She gets up and goes towards the door when up pops, as much as she can do, 5' nothing of skinny angry friend/girlfriend. She tries to block me, hold me back and shouts at me. Another one for the exit and a quick radio call, to come, goes out. One of the others on the team emerges and this doorman escorts the initial one calmly out the front door. I attempt to guide the little one the same way.

We haven't made it 20' of the 100' feet to the door when she backs into me and tries to wriggle past me back to her table. I block her and wrap her arms infront of her. She kicks, screams and tries to struggle free. I don't have a clue what set her off as her friend was clamly walking to the door in front of her having been politely treated by both myself and the other doorman.

Anywho, instead of a wander out the main door, past other punters, it was straight to the nearest fire exit. Most folk just stop struggling at this point and get the message in the harsh strip lighting and white washed walls. This skinny little thing just kept cranking it up.

She was small enough I had to bend half over to grab her wrists. Once I had gotten hold of them however they went behind her back like bending a pipe cleaner. She didn't give up, kicking and stamping all the way to the exit door. On depositing her politely just off the exit steps, she turns back round and tries to throw another punch.

Not a good move lass. I'm big, fast and when you're 5' f*ck all and down a step on me, the last thing to be trying is to land one on my oversize, metal plated jaw. As she turned and swung with her fist already tightly wound I just had to push her away. Given the height difference and weight difference, I must have been easily twice her body weight if not thrice it, she splatted onto the floor in a most graceless lump.

I'd have thought that'd be enough but oh, no. Leaving her with the front door team I headed back inside to straighten my tie and get back to the dull part of the job. Five minutes later there's an all persons call to the front door where she, the original friend and another of their party were swinging at the two front door men. Cue a quick call to the blue light taxi service and after the inevitable delay found on a heavy drinking night one of them gets bed and breakfast courtesy of the government and hopefully a fine or two for her stupidity.

Very few lads, whatetever their state of mind think I'm worth trying to punch. Why this one small, light, weak and technically inept lass thought I was worth a punch is just totally beyond me. I always hope for a bit of verbal abuse that I've not heard before or that makes me laugh. Gay men have proven brilliant in this respect in the past, I just wish the gay ladies would follow suit.
Or at least get better technique.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Friends of

This week I've been dealing with more shit than is necessary from friends of the owners, friends of the managers, friends of the doorman who worked here once upon a time before they got fired for being shit.
All of them asking favours and all of them getting refused.
If I know a punter by sight, or even by reputation, then I'm happy to lend an ear and see if their favour is within my means. Good loyal customers are worth putting yourself out for a little as they'll keep the place going in the quiet times.

It's the random who walks up and asks for something using a name as a lever that winds me up. I don't respond well to that. If you think I'm just there to serve you alone because you know the name of the manager you're sadly mistaken. In most places I work it's written on a plaque about 3 inches above my head and although it's nice the punters can read it's not a guaranty of entry when I'm blocking the doorway.

The kind of leverage I respond to is realising you're not stuck so far up your own arse that you can't be civilised to a person who works in customer services at the most unsociable hours possible. I'd rather you talked coherently to me as a member of the human race and then I might take your desires into consideration.

It's only bitten me on the arse once and that wasn't too bad. I refused entry to a scruffy, drunken student looking tree hugger type. It was a nice bar late on a Saturday night. He says he knows Nel. I tell him that's nice of him but I'm not letting him in. He wanders off and calls Nel. Nel then has to come out of the office, through the massed crowds and to me on the door. He then says to let him in, he's alright. I smile, nod and becon the punter back. I send him inside and bite my tongue.

Got a growling at from the agency boss for that and told not to be so obvious in rejecting punters. How that's possible from the punters point of view I have no idea. Oh well, I think I'll just keep sending them away until I get fired. I think I'm good at selecting the the intended clientele for admission.

If I had the choice, it'd be over 25s, smartly dressed, no loud groups, no scousers at every place I worked. I;d have sod all trouble inside and have a fun night of it on the door too. Oh well, best just go and get into a mood to kill everyone again.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Ugly

Now as you may have gathered I'm not a big fan of the smelly side of the job. Be it drunken folks attempting to vomit on me or urine covered toilet floors I wrinkle my face and take a step back.

Now it's not always possible to avoid having to actually do some work where the odour is high but generally the punters don't like to linger in these places any longer than they have to so we don't see too many incidents here.

One incident was brought to mind though by a scary recurrence this weekend. Thankfully the one we got a call about this weekend was a wind up at the new bar-cleaners expense. In the original situation I was working inside in a repectable bar of a decent size, spread over 3 floors with toilets on each. Thankfully the basement toilet wasn't involved in any of this as it's a small dark box a long way from fresh air.

There was a private function in the place and they had one floor whilst they dined and had almost exclusive use of the toilets on that floor. As the evening went on and they dispersed around the building for fresh air, more drink or dancing one of the doormen felt the need to use the facilities. As was typical of all folk who worked there , for reasons of ease and tradition, he used the ones on the floor this private function had been using.

Cue a radio call of the nature, "Cough...can we get Matt to the rear toilet, there's a shit on the floor"
Uh-oh, those are words you don't want to hear, especially when given in the I'm about to blow chunks voice we heard from a typically husky, robust doorman.

The offending item was small, dark, glossy and quite soft, almost runny really. It had kind of flattened itself out a bit underthe heat of the halogen spots and in the enclosed vinyl floored toilets made one hell of a nasty smell. It lay a good two feet from the toilet bowl and there was no sign of paper. It'd been landed in one go and not mucked about with since.

We were more than a little perturbed. We all see the mess drunken folk make of toilets by the end of the evening but this little jobbie was a work of deliberate defecation for distressing those who would follow. Matt got the short straw bar cleaners get and got the gloves on and had to send it on it's rightful path down the white tubing to the sewers.

After a few moments collecting ourselves from our hysterics after seeing the green and shaken Matt curse and swear through a cigarette afterwards we decided it was likely one of the folk from the function but we weren't in a position to chase it further.

My wanderings later found me checking the main toilets on my route round the premises and lo and behold another little jobbie had been left on the cubicle floor in there. These were no manly logs, more small to middle sized dog efforts. We were most perplexed. My call went out for Matt went out again as I closed off the cubicle and awaited his arrival. This time the gods of bar work smiled on him and as he was off getting ice form a nearby venue the shift manager had to do it. Gloves on, scooping and tossing down the bog, cursing and swearing all the way through.

It was looking more and more like a deliberate attempt to damamge the good name of the bar or at least cause offence to someone. All of the doormen were now watching the group of function goers very carefully. All toilet trips being followed by a quick head and nose through the door from us to see if any more little presents had been left.

None found and after an hour we surrenered it to the shit happens pile and carried on as usual. Some scuffles, some ejections and next thing I know we're sweeping through the place getting punters back out onto the streets where they belong looking forward to the swift refreshment of the afterwork pint.

All punters out, time to check the toilets, unfasten the ties, turn in the radios and settle in for a slow cool beer.
"Ladies toilets clear"
"Gent toilets, oh-oh-oh, shit..ooooffh"

That sounds like a doorman getting floored mehtinks, time to shift.
Cue three large men who thought their night was safely over flying up the stairs from the shut front door into the main toilets. To find one doorman bent at the sink seeing how colourful soda water cna get after a few hours in the stomach and one more rancid little jobbie on the floor. This one alot more pungent and runny than the previous two.
We all left that one to Matt while we descended and seemed to loose our appettites for that after work pint.
All in all, we know shit happens but we, Matt especially, don't like shit to happen to us.

Busy

Been a busy little b*stard of late so sorry for the absence of a post. Will rectify this asap.

Monday, August 7, 2006

Fools

Some doorfolk just don't know when to keep their trousers closed. Either physically or mentally.

When you're working you'll see all sorts of wonderful sights to accompany the tedium and the horrific things one sees. You just can't let yourself get distracted. You can't be standing watching the dancefloor for bottles/fags/fights/drunkeness whilst checking behind you for scuffles, sleepers and the like while catching the eye and flirting with some random sex godess who happens to have wndered in that night.

You'll get your job wrong and all hell will break loose while you're trying to catch the eye of a lady who doesn't think your IQ exceeds your bicep measurement, your job prospects avoid chokey and your steroid shrunken balls still function.

Some doormen have the reputation of sleeping around and having no morals at all, and it's true. Watching punters slag about every day just rubs off on some folk. Their moral compass is just heading toward the mean of what they see day in day out. Thing is, they just make bad doorstaff. If you want to be a sexual demon and do naughty things, do it on your own time, not when someone else is paying for you to do a different task.

I'm probably just narked I never get girls flirting with me. There's something about having a face like a bag of spanners that really just doesn't appeal to sane members of the opposite sex.
Insane members would be another whole blog but I'm not sure I'd be happy writing that one without some personal security to watch my house while I slept.

Thursday, August 3, 2006

a beating

Somedays in this job you just feel like you're waiting to get a beating.

I'm not vain enough sitting here behind my computer to think that I'm the hardest fastest brightest man I'll ever meet. When it comes to going toe to toe you need to think that to get the best out of yourself. On my arse behind a computer in the office I don't need to think that and the realism that you're perfectly likely to get a hiding sooner or later can kick in.

What can you do? We put ourselves deliberately in the line of fire for abuse, threats and realisitic probability of violence. You cut down the risks, you keep anonymous, you don't let it get personal, you be wary of everybody as they'll only be too happy to shaft you if it's their arse on the line.

You never plan on going into hospital with your work but this must be one of the only professions where a trip to A&E is perfectly expected every few months. I'd hate to see how the health and safety executive can justify this. We're not the highly paid professional police who get trained like crazy, given all sorts of cool toys to deploy and generous sick pay if dented in the line of duty.

We get a weekend off with no pay and are told not to be back 'til the bruising's gone. Everyone knows it's best not to get a beating but all of us know it's going to happen to us sooner or later and there's bugger all we can do about it but keep sharp.

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Pretty

This weekend for some reason, one beyond my capacity to fathom, instead of the usual sausage fest we experience we had a skirt fest. More ladies than anybody but an honestly deranged person would want to shake stick at. Some very pretty and some less so but ladies in buckets full, actually clubs full but who really cares.

The usual way of things is this. We get a few couples in for a dance and a drink. They are not usually numerous but they often stay in for a while as they have company they enjoy and aren't chasing around after fresh meat. Most of our punters are groups of lads or groups of lasses. They arrive in threes and fours and meet similar groups inside. We get a few mixed groups in, either for an birthday/leaving/engagement/office party outing or small groups of friends who fancy taking their Saturday night drinking on a bit. These folks make up a good ninety percent of our clientele with single individuals the rest. There are usually more men than women with a ratio of about 3:2. This is probably just a reflection of who fancies drinking until 3 in the morning and unless we get proactive and up the lady ratio this is usually fairly invariant.

For some reason this weekend and Saturday in particular the ratio was off. We had considerably more ladies than men, possibly up to 2:3 and this reversal helped make for a trouble free night. With a more open playing field the men weren't squabbling over opportunities and the ladies seemed to thrive on the competition and take the lead to ensure they got the quality man-time they usually get when in the minority.

I've no explanation for the shift and no problems with it. Looking a the numbers we weren't down that much against a normal saturday though I don't know what the bar take was. There was little trouble and most folk seemed to have a good night. The pull rate was alot higher than usual. Some nights you barely think that people are there to pull. All you see are poorly coordinated men dancing with poorly dressed women while the more sober ones look on in mesmerised shame. This Saturday there were faces getting sucked off left, right and centre. Hands went wandering and outside it was taxis for two all night long.

I don't get it but I don't mind it. It's good to see folk getting what they are after from their night out, especially when it doesn't involve scrapping, getting too drunk to stand or chilli sauce down your shirt.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Why?

I've just been reading more from a fellow doorman over the pond and it's raised a thought I'd like to get down.

Why do doorstaff even exist? When large numbers of people gather to have fun supervision is necessary at all times to prevent large scale disorder from occuring on the odd occasion. Many times folk meet in large numbers and disorder does not break out, however when mixed with alchohol and the activity of finding a mate disorder can and does break out.

When disorder breaks out people get hurt, some get trampled in the mad panic that can ensue, some get hit, punched and bitten, others have things stolen from them or panic in the stresses of large scale disorder. This often entails laws being broken and people getting their rights abused. For this reason supervision is needed, even if only to hand out the water and bandages.

People enjoy going to large events and some are even prepared to pay for attending them. When events take place on a regular basis, solely for money to be made by the organisers, the burden of providing supervision often falls on the organiser's shoulders. The law enforcement authorities ask for the law to be upheld and will intervene if it's broken but don't want to divert the general public's money and resources to supervising people when disorder may well not occur frequently.

This leaves the organiser looking for supervisors and that's where I step in.I work for a company specifically set up to fill that need. I'm trained and vetted both on paper and by experience and reputation. I, along with others, regularly supervise events where people gather to enjoy themselves. Always supervising folk in the presence, if not under the influence, of alcohol and mostly under the general banner of finding a mate. It’s not technically finding a mate on football or gay nights but there's always alcohol involved.

I get paid to watch other people have fun and I get some satisfaction that when a night’s running well and our job of supervising people is being done invisibly to most of the people. I appreciate the need for the organiser to make money in order to get a return on their investments and keep the industry going. It’s not easy to keep making money organising other peoples recreation and when it’s done well it’s a very slick operation.

Punters barely seem to know this. When they’ve encountered doorstaff it’s either because they’ve befallen a mishap or they’re having their evening curtailed due to the doorstaff’s perception of the punter’s likelihood of causing disorder.

We do get called all sorts of stupid names. It’s part of trying to do a job that’s impossible to get perfectly right all of the time. Those who’ve befallen a mishap are difficult to placate and amends can seldom be sufficiently made. Those who we deem likely to be incompatible with others having a disorder free night are excluded either at entry or at some later stage. Nobody likes to be excluded and we as the agents employed to decide and perform their exclusion and make easy targets. If a punters dress or decorum leads to their exclusion it will not be the doorstaff excluding the punter who have control of this. The organisers will have decided how their gathering of people will run and merely passed it on to their agents.

We doorstaff are a diverse bunch of folk. We’re not as a rule stupid though there are some that clearly are. We are not as a rule sexist, racist or homophobic though there are those that are some of these things if not all of them. We don’t hate or despise our punters. Most of us recognize that they are the means, however indirectly, of our employment. We do try and remember those who cause disorder and exclude them in future to prevent disorder.

To make sweeping statements about a person solely because they are a doorman probably passes a greater shadow upon your door than upon the doorman’s.

It’s never fun to work a door in the shadows, it gets bloody cold and you can’t see ID’s properly.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Technique

A special event is arriving shortly to my esteemed city and with it will come a certain community in their thousands. They have a significant reputation for raising hell, stealing and fighting down to the last one standing. It's time to talk technique.

I'm big, not as big as I used to be but big. Broad, solid and very ugly. This season I've gotten my speed back and can dance round most things thrown at me. This is what I do and I'm good enough at it to still be doing the job 7 years after thinking, without a clue about the actual reality of doing the job, it would be a good idea.

This commuity that are appearing in town are easily spotted if you know them. Physically they're small, wiry and very fast. When it comes to going toe-to-toe they do punch hard, fast, accurately and don't pay any regard to size and strength when they wade in. They do however keep it fairly clean. When the inevitable happens and we have to reject, rather than the unfortunate who have to eject, these folk it's worth considering the technique we use.

In some sparring I've been doing lately we've been trying a few methods. One of us spars light, fast and clean, the other tries to work out how to defeat it. The options are many though we've been trying to cut down the risks. The natural response is to be light, fast and clean but we're all too big and strong for that to be risk free. One option is to go for martial arts, sweeps, kicks and throws, this works fine in the gym but it rarely works in the doorway, with uneven floors, confined spaces and multiple tightly spaced aggressors. Another option is the grapple, suits us with our size and weight, we can pin and lock a problem in a tight space and without any distance between us there's no way to swing a good punch. The drawback to this is the numbers. You can only grapple one at a time and it leaves your back very vulnerable.

The solution I and my friends will be employing is going to depend on the circumstances. With only one silly punter it'll be grappling and throwing depending on situation. In the larger open brawl situations we expect it's gonna be dirty and powerful. Using our weight and strength to finish encounters while we use every tactic we've got to buy us the time to land these heavy blows. I'll not go into specifics but there is an arsenal of techniques in the dirty tricks book which should open enough of an opportunity window to create a positive effect for us.

I've probably given too much away but not enough folk read this for it to get back to me. More sparring coming up and the speed work this season is really paying off. I'm missing some of the bulk I used to enjoy throwing people around with. Oh well can't have everything.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Fancy dress

Now I get to see an awful lot of folks out on stag/hen/birthday parties and occasionally they decide to wear fancy dress. There are only so many vikings, policewomen, cowboys/girls, T-birds and pink ladies, school girls, cavemen you can see before the shine really wears off.

If I'm working and you turn up in fancy dress don't be offended when I refuse you. Certain places have specific standards to keep up. Unless I'm working gay night, if I you're a man in ladies clothing you'll not be getting in. If you've gone to alot of effort, have a refined character costume and haven't had too much dutch courage to get out of the house in that get up I may be letting you in, if this is not the case I'll more than likely not be seeing you inside the venue I'm working at.

I've indulged in this too from time to time though I like to spend alot of time and effort getting a good look.

Some of my favourite outfits to date are dressing as Margaret Thatcher complete with heels, blue dress and handbag, which put me as the ugliest thing at 6'3" you're ever likely to confuse with a lass. Once I was dressed as a west country pirate with a thick accent, a carry keg of scrumpy and more small fake knives than I had belts to put them in. In November 2001 I went to a famous people from history in a simple cotton shirt, smart trousers and normal shoes. The only accessories I needed were the arab head scarf and a piece of paper, out of my home printer with united airlines printed on it, tucked in my shirt pocket. That went down well.

My overall favourite was to an event with the theme being the letter being 'T'. In a moment of inspiration and horrific bad taste I put on cricket whites, hung a small length of string from the back of my trousers and took with me both a red and a white beanie wollen hat. I got some very strange looks and only one person gagged but it was a fun event. (answers in the comments section please)

Technical tomfoolery

After much persuasion a new motherboard has prevailed and it's taken this long to get round to Monday's post.
It's a funny one I hope.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Something in the air

There's a feeling at the club that's been developing over the last few weeks/months and it's all going to end in tears.

Since the change in management, and the reshuffles in staff between various venues, the club has not had a steady set of doorstaff working on a particular night. Now in other larger cities on mainstream club nights you don't really need this consisitency. There are enough punters to go around, enough similar venues and as long as you set a door policy that's consistent you can get a certain ambience every night.

I work in a smaller city where you rely on seeing the same faces in the same clubs night after night. There is a certain amount of leeway offered to regular trouble free punters whose dress or inebriation wouldn't be accepted from randoms wandering in. This protects the takings on quiet nights and builds a certain loyatly in the very fickle club business.

Now, that the staff have been changed more often than an obsessive compulsives pants after an explosive bout of the runs, we've lost that essential familiarity. This leaves you with two options. The first is to set an absolute standard and not care if you've seen their faces before. This makes for easy door work but is bad for business in the quiet summer holidays and students away time of year. You need to make your money in this business so the other option is used.

I n this second approach, if you recognise the punters faces you extend some leniency. This works as a way of getting punters in but without knowing wether they're good punters, spend a lot of money and cause no bother, or bad punters, sharing a pint of house cider between 4 and causing low level grief every night. If they're bad punters you end up with a very bad vibe. You can only know if they're good or bad punters if you've been working, seeing them, week in week out.

This second way, the money keeps flowing in for a bit but, the big spenders move somewhere more exclusive and you're only left with scum. This is where the club is at for every big night at the moment. We're getting the feeling all hell's gonna kick off. There's alot of aggressive gesturing, incivility and posturing.

Normally when their numbers are few within a premises you just keep an eye on them and laugh when they make themselves look like idiots.

When you're worried they're nearing critical mass and you can feel and see the tension, you've got to be very careful that you don't get tunnel vision. Even if you're fairly damn certain you'll be taking one group out the nearest exit some point in the night, it may not be them you're taking out next.


It's too easy to focus on some groupm waiting to see them be idiots, but it's bad form and poor work. It's all too easy to pick up on the vibe and get drawn into the tension. It's best not to be boiling yourself when you need to be the cooling water applied to hot tempers.

I get the feeling it's going to go off big style, only hope I'm there that night. It's been far too quiet since summer has begun.

Monday, July 3, 2006

Decisions

In work I have to make alot of decisions, on my own and quickly. I have to take full responsibility for them and if I get it badly wrong I'm out of a job. If I get it slightly wrong I'm either going to get the piss taken out of me or I'm out of a job, depending on who saw it.

This is both a good and bad aspect of the job. I get to make decisions and act on them quickly, with the full support of a team of equals. There's no politics when there're punters to be dealt with. The job gets done.

From this weekend I'll give you two examples of simple decisions I make ad nauseam which can vary in outcome so wildly.

I was escorting a punter from the venue, after staff had come to us about their aggressive and antisocial manner. Not a time to go in all guns blazing, but definitely a time for them to leave. The punter agrees to start walking and I place an arm behind them, not on them, to guide their egress. A common thing to avoid any sudden turns or darting efforts. Think basketball marking. All the way out they say.
"Oi, keep your hands off me."
"Keep walking, the doors that way"
"Keep your fucking hands off me"
"Just keep walking."
The steady progress to the exit ensured by the barrier arm catching up every time they stopped. Then staying just clear every time they moved on. They didn't want to be manhandled, so kept walking. When the sod stopped, I stopped, though pressing against their back gently to get moving again. We reached the entranceway in this fashion and I'll leave it there for a moment

Another incident I asked another punter to leave, this time for being intoxicated, they agreed and start heading doorwards. I've one arm behind them as a barrier and in this case also a catchnet/bumper for their swaying gait. Every time they stopped, so did I letting the arm press them to keep moving, again I get,
"Don't fucking touch me."
"Keep moving to the door"
"I said don't fucking touch me, get off"
"Keep moving, out the door"
This time progress was relatively fast if a little meandering 'til they arrived at the entrance way.

Now both customers were argumentative, reluctant to leave and fairly abusive, so if I wished to apply some force to their exit , I would have been justified. Both customers paused at the sight of the door as the reality of their ejection struck them. Both stopped, planted their feet and said words to the effect of,
"Don't you fucking put a hand on me"

Here were the decisions,
One punter found that the hand on the barrier arm had taken grip around one wrist. Their other wrist got pinned to their side and they left effing and blinding in a flurry of scuffle out the door.
One punter I let have a moment, I didn't let the barrier arm catch up. I didn't concede ground but let them assess the lost situation then let them amble on out through the door.

Both worked, both acceptable.
The difference,
Punter one, male, mid thirties, medium to slight build, short, no physical threat.
Punter two, female, mid twenties, average height (in low heels), medium to slight build, no physical threat.
Punter one walked out, punter two was scuffled out.

Why?
Punter one was able to see the situation was lost and a pause saved us both effort.
Punter two was a few empty glasses too far and would not see the situation as lost 'til outside under the starry sky. Any pause would just add to their resolve and make the scuffle anticipated.

What'd be your call?

Do you know who I am?

Generally no. I don't know who you are, don't care and quite frankly have no need or wish to find out. If you do something stupidly criminal, I'm sure your details will be read out in court and the local press will inform me in due course.

If I do know who you are, it's probably not a good thing. Excluding friends/doorstaff/drinking associates/workmates who would never be asking me the question, if I do know who you are it's more than likely because you're a muppet/muppetess and I'll have been tuning out from your rant about 5 seconds after I realised who you were.

I've only ever heard it used well for humour once.
" Do you know who I am?"
" No "
"That's probably a good thing 'cause I'm pissed, I'm being a twat and I wouldn't want you to spread the wrong impression of me about town."
To which I could only laugh and send him on his way with a smile.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Ahhh,

That's better.
After a very drunken, little sleep weekend running around all waking hours, talking serious amounts of s*it all of the time, I'm back.
Feeling as physically tired as if I'd been working all weekend but mentally as alert as I get. Good social rest has left me in a nice frame of mind after the weekend.

I did work last night and it wasn't too bad considering the football had been on. We weren't letting lads in England shirts in and most folk seemed ok with that. Some even popped home and changed, for which we thanked them.

The police on the other hand were having a mare it seems. 8 seperate vehicles drove past and, although not any of our of our punters, we saw two folk getting carted off and two more very nearly getting the blue light taxi service. They keep in touch with us by radio, which is meant to mean they will turn up if we call for them and they can give us a heads up if they spot something heading our way. Doesn't always work but it's another tool in the box.

They looked mightily fed up of drunks by the time we saw them, probably as a result of having been lifting them since the end of the match, 6-8 hours before I saw them. They've got a team initiative going on at the mo which probably means daft targets and all the rest of their paper chase nightmare, but it does mean they like talking to us more. Thankfully most of them just take it as a chance to say hello and chat sh*t for a while before chasing after drunks again.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Off topic,

I'm wandering well off topic here to post about something that's been getting on my nerves of late.
I was spurred by reading this and this from a goverment invited academic into writing.

I deal with scores of scrotes on a regular basis and encounter an awful lot of antisocial behaviour, some directed at me, but mostly directed at others or fixtures and fittings both inside and out.
It's petty criminality but it's illustrative of a few problems.
The massively understaffed, or is that staffed under massive officiousness, UK police do their best to deflect antisocial behaviour from ruining the lives of many. (see a coppers view ad nauseum) where the ambulance service deals repeatedly with those whose situation due to heroin or alcohol has become truly dire.
We hear from research, however casually preformed, that this is being done at a massive cost, to the taxpayer. These habitual offenders appear in the courts repeatedly but to no avail.

I see from my work that the vast majority of people are sensible, law abiding, reasonable folks. They will occasionally stray into misdemeanours and ocassionally punishment from the courts is proportional forthcoming. There are however those persons whose antisocial and criminal acts are endemic.
As discussed in the New Yorker article, the distribution of offences to offenders is not that of a Normal distribution, but of a Power Law distribution with a small number of offenders with a huge number of offences to their name. The fact that they all may be trivial doesn't bear on the minds of their victims, which for these habituated, serial offenders can number into the hundreds.

I feel the sentencing in the UK should reflect the offenders and not the offences. The fact that currently if an indivual appears only for a petty offence they can only recieve petty penalties despite their history of perpetual offending needs to be challenged. Guilt of offences, beyond reasonable doubt, should still be the bench-mark for each offence taken individually but the sentencing to time inside or rehabilitation is the sentencing or rehabilitation an offender not an offence.

I know this could lead to sobbing mothers in the tabloids saying their beloved little scrote of a kid was only ever up to harmless fun and didn't deserve 5 years of porridge for shoplifting but if the persistent offenders were taken off the streets for long periods of time, those streets would be better places to be. I also know this smacks of the three strikes and your out rule which I think is a prone to being a tad extreme, but 13 strikes, 33 strikes, 300 strikes? You get my point I hope.

In alliance to this idea I've had great difficulty seeing why a guilty plea should lead to a discount in sentence. I feel its origins are sunk in the christian prodigal son idea, returned and repentant, seeking forgiveness. When you admit your guilt before trial and co-operate with the police, fine let this be taken into account. When you only plead guilty in court because it's evident you're losing and will get a discounted sentence if you do, that's just abusing the system. Another point to slip in here is the need for only minimum tariffs to be reported. If your action in prison is below the standards expected, expect an extended stay but the idea of a 12 year sentence being served in 4 is just a 4 year sentence being served by someone who can follow the simplistic rules inmates live their dialy drudge by. Related to this is the trend for releases being withheld from those who don't admit their guilt. If the sentencing was clear and not heavily discounted this would not occur, the admission by an offender or guilt should not effect their sentence length. Again it's the prodigal son idea reducing guilt to a solicitor drafted admission constructed for maximum impact on reducing a sentence.

It's an old and venerable system of justice in the UK but it is far from perfect. Those inside it from every angle know this and those in charge of it seem to be cottoning on. No one's being brave enough to come up with serious changes. Lets see how the home office react to this libery supported lady and her claims of human rights infringement

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Weekend off

This weekend I have comitments out of the city so I'll only grab short late Sunday night shift. This means I'll be getting drunk and abusing doorstaff for my own amusement in some other town and generally enjoying being able to get to bed on a Friday night some time before the sun's soming up Saturday morning.

Also a chance to improve my diet. In the early of the morning I often find I have to resort to kebeb wagon fodder. Whilst generally not toxic it is fair best suited to those whove numbed their tastebuds extensively with beer and spirits, not those on a diet of soda water and swirling stomach acid from too long chewing gum. I may indulge in post imbibing victuals but the key point here is post imbibing.

I'll return to the fold on Monday with more tales of derring do no doubt. In the mean time I'll leave you pondering the possibilites of bacterial growth in a food preparation vehicle with no running water, limited refrigeration and foodstuffs to be kept for the duration of at least my working shifts. That's 8 hours in the balmy heat that's been upon us. Thank god for the anti-bacterial/viral/life/hangover effects of hot chilli sauce.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Being set up II

Now there are always going to be times when to allieviate the immense boredom of a job, which basically involves watching other people have fun, leads to a prank or two. With the chopping and changing of staff this weekend saw a classic series of wind ups.

One I will divulge purely because the punter involved will be highly unlikely to even remember the incident let alone read about it here happened on the front door. The door pair were having a very quiet night so, on the arrival to the door of a very inebrated single male in his mid thirties one doorman steps to the side and lets the other repell the drunkard.

"Why you not letting me in?"
"I think you've had enough. I don't want you in here."
"Is is 'cos I'm a geordie, ya racist?"
No it's beacuse you're hammered, now go home"
"You're a bastard, you are"

All fairly run of the mill so far. At this point the punter takes a step back and prepares to launch himself onto a futile tirade. Here the other doorman intervenes but with a suprising line.

"You're right he is a bastard, I'd've let you in if it were up to me."

Here the punter turns to see who's supporting him. A good test of sobriety, as if one's needed, is whether he clocks his new found ally as a doorman or not. With his new buddy he carries on strenghtened.

"Eh? Yeah he is a cock. You know that, you're a fat f**king cock you are."
Doorman now gets the feeling of being the but of the joke and either plays along or loses it. This man plays along.
"You're p*ssed, you're wasting my time and he can't do a thing to help you get in here."
"You're a f**king w*nker, I'm not p*ssed and I'm coming in."
"No sir, you're going home, I'm getting bored and he's getting a smack up side the heed."
"You here that buddy, this cock's gonna take us both on."
Here the turncoat pipes back up.
"He is a fat cock and he's gonna get a kicking, I'm with you buddy"
"You're right man. You're gonna get a kicking"
One wink from the turncoat the end result is inevitable.

The punter launches himself at the straight doorman and is suddenly suprised that he's gained the power of flight. This is due to the wind up merchant grabbing a belt loop on his jeans and letting him levitate towards the front door. The look of terror in the punters eyes as the laws of physics break is more than worth the effort. Once back on his feet back a yard further away from where he started he wanders off realising he's been had and that in fact there were two fat w*nkers on the door.
It's one way to fill ten minutes on a dead shift.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Slow chaos

I thought sitting out of harms way, letting the egos battle and chips fall off oversized shoulders would be my best plan of action. It still may be so, but the down side is no-one knows what's going on with the rota. I usually pick up certain weekend nights with late starts at a certain venue. Now occasionally I'll be off to this door or that club to cover gaps but generally I know where I'll be for my weekend.

All that's gone tits up now. The rota monkey is one of those clashing heads and has taken to sorting the rotas to suit him. Fine, thats about the only perk of trying to sort out the bloody things. I've done it for a team of 25ish in 6 venues and am more than happy not to have to do it again. The thing is, he's splitting established teams up, deliberately putting friction into nights where he's not working and making sure all the inherently unrealiable folk land on shifts he's not. As a random bystander I'll just catch whichever shift is sent my way but inevitably I'll catch one of the disturbed and disfunctional teams. Time to consider moving companies methinks.

Oh well, it'll make for some fun in the mean time. There is a certain satisfaction to be had in knowing that a certain antisocial chav punter will queue for half an hour, get admitted to the venue by a new front door man and, after paying their entry and first drink, gets spotted by managment. Yours truly gets to escort the whiny sod off the premises without alcohol, refund or luck. If you're barred don't try it, you'll only get upset. A new face on the front door may not recognise you, that doesn't mean none of the staff/doorstaff/management/doorstaff on their night off will not and your speedy expulsion will follow.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Knife amnesty

There's been a hell of a lot of noise being made in the UK about inappropriate sentences for serious crimes. It's good headline grabbing stuff but it's highly unlikely to have any influence on most peoples day to day life. These extreme crimes are rare, thankfully, and most folk will get through their entire life unaffected by such events. That is as long as they don't live in permanent fear because of their skewed tabloid based perspective of the dangers inherent in the world.

This knife crime fear that's been stirred up by the media is just another pile of hyperbole and nonsense. A knife amnesty will not stop anyone who wants to get a knife, getting a knife. It won't save one carrot from being diced and won't save one kid from having their ribcage aerated. It's something I've worked with for years and it's always a concern. Thankfully using a knife properly is a very difficult thing to do. Taking a knife off such an expert is hard, taking it off some-one who hasn't a clue is a whole load easier. It's not something I want to be doing but it's something I've got to know and practice.

Even if you got every knife out of every pocket the risk from broken off bottles or even hair combs would remain. Life is never going to be 100 percent safe, you've got to get some perspective and take sensible precautions.
Thankfully it's so much less of a problem south of the border.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Dropping like flies

Well despite my best efforts I think we had a quiet weekend across town. There were groups of marauding drunken yobs but the boys in blue (actually very bright flourescent yellow tabards) sent them packing, after some cunning ground work, as soon as the match ended and they inevitably poured onto the street. I think most folk just got their mates round and had a barbeque and a few cans while enjoying a football game and getting sunburn/heatstroke/dehydrated/paralytic. Not any bother for me.

The staff around me seem to be having issues. There's a few too many ego's being knocked and a few big heads clashing all of which makes for some folk quitting, some switching venues and some, like me, left out of it all as the breeze blows by.

It doesn't really bother me as long as a viable team exists and doesn't change on a night by night basis. I think our only liability will not be coming back to us . This is after a night off when while sober he got pasted by a very small and ineffective lad who could barely stand. When you have to jump up to nut someone you'd better be in a fit state to stand up and handle yourself otherwise it'll go horribly wrong. He must be incredibly thankful he got his nut on the liability and no-one else. It's never a good thing to see a man lose so badly when, doing the job he tries to do, you'd think he could get out of the way or handle himself better.

As to the future, who knows. Two new head doorman for 'my club' who don't know the barred list will make for some interesting nights working inside. Or, with some sense they'll move me onto the front step too so I can get to pick and choose the wonderful punters. I have a good memory for faces and don't like chavs. Good times may be round the corner either way.

Friday, June 9, 2006

Hot

I'm off to work this evening to stand on the sunbaked doorway for the early part of the night then into a crowded, poorly air-conditioned sweaty dancefloor for the end of it. It will be hot. I'll be leaving the long coat at home and will likely make it back to my bed as the sun comes up still overdressed in just a short sleeved shirt.

The impending seven and a half hours work standing up with no official or unofficial breaks will begin with me seriously needing sleep. Last night with the window fully open and only the most transparent of sheets covering my body I still was too hot to get to sleep easily. After eventually getting off to the land of nod the fully open window let in the sounds of the morning far too early for my liking and curtailed any furher dozing rather effectively.

Methinks I'll be an even more evil git of a doorman than I usually am. Oh well be thankful you'll not cross my door tonight.

Wednesday, June 7, 2006

Bottle?

Nah, I'll have a real ale and not anything in an undersized bottled at oversized prices.
Straying from the intended topic, a scots door steward writes recently of the need for bottle.

It's a fair piece and you can tell he's impressed by the efficiency and increased potency of good team behaviour.

We're essentially pack animals and it shows when in conflict situations. It's not size that matters when there's multiple folk having a set to. It's covering your back and getting the best outcome. In the end you've got to win or it's gonna be your last shift.

I used to play an awful lot of rugby, both codes, and you see there the importance of moving, acting and thinking as a team. It's instinctive to me to work in this way. Some folk don't get it and spend too much time thinking of themselves and miss the opportunities they need to take. If the team works the best thing you can do is get in there and forget yourself.

It's the same reason why large groups of lads are dangerous when trouble happens. If they snap into gear it'll take an army or some seriously evil use of force to subdue them.

Thankfully the places I work and the things I do there we're not gonna be losing in the end. A few bruises and dents are to be expected but the team works. Every now and then a new body turns up and we have to test the water. If they put in, they stay. If they've got a different idea they're free to try it elsewhere.

Tuesday, June 6, 2006

Crusaders?

Imagine your peaceful town having thrust upon it one day an influx of drunken debauched young men. Drinking foreign ales, shouting and jeering in terms unknown to you. All sporting the white tabard with red cross upon it. They arrive and insist on support from the natives in their pilaging activities or the thinly veiled violence they represent will be unleashed. Moving like squads from a rabble army, they wander from hostelry to hostelry, scaring the innocent back into their homes. Roaming the streets in their drunken gangs, spreading violence and disorder as they pass. Breaking property and soiling in all manner of excrement the pathways and premises they pass.

Welcome to the football world cup.

The louts and small minded who find it in some way appropriate to behave as a rabble on the pretext of national pride I find easily detestable. If you want to be proud, be proud, not a drunken abusive mess of violence, intimidation and disorder.

I will not be out drinking in public on days when games are on. I'll be working like a blue arsed fly, earning my pennies and having myself a nice summer holiday as a result. I'm a Scot and an egg chaser. Overpaid weaklings in bad hair-do's don't excite me at all.

Monday, June 5, 2006

Wiry one

Now as I've explained before, I'm not small. I'm fast, strong and far too ugly for most folk to even think about taking a pop. It just wouldn't be worth the effort trying to re-arrange a bag of spanners. This little incident however showed up just how far from ontop of the game we are.

Now I had my attention drawn to a situation where I spied one of the other useful doormen taking this diminutive lad by the neck towards the nearest fire exit. The fellow it transpired had picked up one of our heavy 3' bar stools and launched it at a punters back. I didn't know this as I ran in and saw him wriggle free from the strong arm Bob had round his neck and think about having another go at the stooled punter. I arrived and with momentum alone sent him into the wall near the exit and quickly applied a hold and sent him through the fire-door.

Here in the bright overhead neon light and the cool and quiet most folk recognise they're leaving and though swearing and shouting, start walking off. This little wriggler was having none of it. He was small enough that he never had a chance of physically moving myself or Bob but when either of us tried to grab an arm and get him moving he writhed like a conger eel and twisted himself free or into a position where we thought it best to release the hold.

For all of his size he was seriously strong. He didn't want to hit us, which in a way would have made our job easier as we could have just upped the game and incapacitated him. He just wanted another go at the stool catcher. He was bloody persistent. Eventually the larger mass and self control got him out of the premises into the night at which point he got the message and buggered off without a further word.

I had a glance back at the nights cctv and I think he'd just taken a snort before he went off on one. I like the 3' stools in our place, they're heavy enough that I wouldn't think of using one as a striking weapon, let alone a throwing weapon. He just grabbed it and flung it with no wind up. Oh the joys of illegal stimulants. The punter whose body stopped the stool was winded but intact and by all accounts pulled by the end of the night so all was well.

Friday, June 2, 2006

A Git

A bloke I met on the weekend while not at work asked me if I was a nice doorman or a nasty doorman?

I was quick to reply that I was a nasty one. I make young girls cry. I don't believe anything punters say, half of what management say and most of what other doorstaff say. I don't want to let punters in without a very good reason. I won't stop and listen to your grievances. I won't enter into conversations with you unless I'm after something. I will invade your personal space. I will intimidate you. I do not care about anything other than getting the job done in the best way possible.

I am clearly a nasty doorman.

I'm not a bad doorman, I don't hit people, I don't abuse the weak and innocent, I don't flirt/drink/text/deal/shag/steal while in paid employ.

Bad doorfolk last about as long as the nice ones. But the nasty ones hang around for ever.