Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Spaced cadets

I was reading the musings of a doorman from over the pond who seems to have fallen very out of love with the profession. He, like many other rampant bloggers, is finishing off his novel at the mo and looks to publishing as an escape from the joys of toe to toe work.

(Aside) I don't know if it's just me or have publishers gotten lazy and instead of reading manuscript after manuscript have just devolved to reading blogs, finding those who can write and chasing after them with cheques and pormises of glory. Please let me know.

The idea that all of your punters are spaced off their tits does make me wonder what kind of a place he's working at. I don't let the visibly stoned, brain wandering, pupils oversized or tiny in through our front door. In addition we all run around inside checking for drug use and it's acoutrements and swiftly eject all those we find. Yes people will always try to have a better night and with drugs now cheaper/cleaner/more available than ever some think it worthwhile. Not my bag baby but from the number of empty coke bags lying around in our club that the cleaners find stuffed down the back of places alot seem to.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Show me the…

Money, the whole business of running nightclubs and bars is to make money from some very fickle people. It’s possible to get this hideously wrong despite huge efforts to avoid it and it’s possible to get it right without having a clue.

The club I do a lot of work at has sensibly got a series of different nights throughout the week tailored to different audiences. The student nights working on a pack ‘em in get ‘em drunk and send ‘em home approach where dress-code/sobriety/large groups/drunken tomfoolery and their ilk are overlooked in favour of increased volume of poverty struck punters spending shrapnel on cider and black.

On other nights we’ve grab a granny where those without their own teeth/hormones/original spouses/hips/bladders or hair get together in an attempt to dance badly to tunes they either can’t remember or have never heard. Not a good night to find folk shagging in the toilets but despite their enhanced age they do seem willing to part with their cash in enough quantity to make it worthwhile.

The big weekenders which in our town includes Thursday and Sunday don’t skimp at the bar but usually roll in later as it’s not a school night so we need a lot of these and thankfully our small city has more than enough.

The trouble with all these foolish folk is their fickleness. If see a rain-drop they’ll skip it and get a dvd in. If there’s a new bar it’ll be rammed for two weeks and then dead for a month as everyone avoids it for being too busy. If there’s a local press worthy story, of which in our little city gnomes being stolen is considered one we’re given a wide berth for weeks. It’s a competitive customer service world and there’s no way of hitting the nail on the head every night of every week.

There’s one group who are a notable exception but that’s more to do with the absence of them having anywhere else to go. Praise be for the gays! I never thought I’d be saying that.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Ladies, Ladies, Ladies

Something that perpetually causes entertainment is the difficulties of large, intimidating rough looking doormen dealing with small, non-threatening, pretty-faced, off their face ladies. The usual hands on approach used for those who can’t prop themselves up is often best avoided as the light strappy tops in combination with tottering off high heels in a drunken state make the slipping of hands and garments all too easy and no one working wants to be called a pervert for what they’ve been doing legitimately at work.

So the best approach is often to present an arm and some patience as you guide a very unstable former lady to the door. Unstable in both the physical and psychological sense probably both as the result of those daft looking shoes.

As I was indicating, patience is often the best approach but when stubbornness and drunken obstinance provide a person for ejection/rejection who needs a more physical approach certain members of the door team prove themselves blindingly useless. I’m sure it is moments like this that bring female doorfolk the high pay they receive. The male doorman will generally hesitate in getting hands on and be weaker than needed when restraining the lass in order not to be impolite. My approach is to get stuck in and as if dealing with a troublesome child, pick them bodily up and move them as far as needed ensuring no slips of hands and no harm to either party. Though the look of professionalism is somewhat diminished when the daft footwear falls off and I have to scamper back and collect the offending/offensive/torturing object and present it back to the inevitably ranting bint in my best prince charming fashion.

Well its better than getting bitch slapped and still not having a comeback which I’ve seen a colleague of mine suffer. 20stone violent drunks look simple by comparison.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The fabled night off

This weekend I'm indulging in a weekend off. A friend is coming up to flee the inlaws on mothers day and we'll be indulging in some quality beer, sport and curry. The way all good weekends should be.

It does however mean I'll have fun catching up with my pay cheque whilst out on the lash this weekend and not be getting one next weekend but the opportunity for a full weekend off with beer and a buddy are too good to miss.

Hopefully there'll be no door related shennaningans this weekend unless we get that sozzled we're causing a nuisance.

Monday, March 20, 2006

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

On being asked politely to leave there are some classic responses, the first being, "Yer What?" This one I let slide as the music is loud and the punters are thick.

The repeat of "It's time you went home now" is then when the fun begins.

The Good get up, stagger and collect themselves for the Amundsen like trek to the front door and the sobering horrors of the night beyond.

The Bad sit down and say No, I'm not leaving. Then the message is repeated and the radio is readied. Now is a good time to get ready to duck, sidestep and grapple. Once positive movement towards an exit has been achieved a swift acceleration into the doors and then a swifter trundle down the fire exit lands the punter on the street, a tie needs straightening and someone needs to reset the fire-alarm sensor.

The Ugly, well ignoring those covered in their own or others vomit, that generally just leaves me and my face a mother would struggle to love.

A nice quiet weekend all told. I don't think I was sworn at more that 5 times though sadly none were original enough to be memorable.

To those who feel the need to swear and abuse doorstaff, please do it in a novel and amusing way, it won't get you back in but it will lighten the usually bored, dour mood of the men in longcoats.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Making young girls cry

Yes I've been at it again. There are occasions where despite my mother's best efforts I can't be a gentleman whilst doing my job. Picture the scene, I'm on the front door of the nightclub as the night winds down, the tills are closed and the letter of our licence says no one can be admitted.

Three young ladies arrive at the door. Actually, two ladies and a stripper of some local reknown arrive at the door. They ask very drunkenly if they can come in to which I reply,
"Sorry ladies, were closed, it's too late!" very politely put and intended to cause no offense.
"But you'll let us in, we'll be very good." comes one pleading response.
"Sorry ladies, no. We're closed" still remarkably polite.
"But we know James, he'd let us in" comes the reply.
Yes I do know James, he was fired from this club for being highly un-professional and had to leave under a cloud of doubt.
"Sorry ladies, he doesn't work here and I don't know you from Eve" slightly less polite but still wihtin the bounds of friendly.
"You're going to let us in, we're gorgeous, we'd make the place more beautiful" comes a further attempt.
"No ladies, best you head home, we're closed, it's too late" politely but rapidly losing patience.
"Call Tony, he'll let us in, he's a top mate" is their next attempt.
Figuring he might fancy a laugh and at 3 in the morning laughs are rare I ask on the radio if Tony would mind popping to the door if he has a minute, no problem. He responds with, 'busy at the mo give me 5.'
So I repeat the polite go away.
"You didn't call Tony. He'd let us in you're lying to me!" came the next response.
Drunken people aren't very observant but I don't push the point.
"Go away ladies, we're closed, it's cold and taxi's are dissapearing fast," practical and honest advice from me.
"No, just let us in" strops one lass again.
Me, patience lost though still within control, "Go away, you're boring me. I can't, won't and wouldn't let you in."
Her genius reply, "You go away you're boring me!"
"Sorry chuck, I get paid to stand here and freeze, if I'm boring go away. It'd make my night a lot nicer if you just vanished off into the cold dark scary night"
Cue her turning on the water works. Cue one, up to that point disinterested, friend getting aggrevated and warranting the passing plods to stop and ponder. Cue the stripper, whose IQ was probably lower than her bra size in inches, going "but why?" for the next 5 minutes.
My mother would be astounded, reducing a grown woman to tears, perplexing a stripper with a two letter word and nearly getting a section 5 for another.
Good work from me.

Brrr... again

It's been too damn cold this weekend but I've been working silly hours of late so now have the money at least to do me some good. No real trouble this weekend, think the cold has gotten to folk and kept them indoors drinking over strength cider and punching each other instead of gracing us with their presence, oh well.

Need sleep!

Friday, March 10, 2006

The time has come

It's that time of year again when the weather is set to improve and daylight starts to return and my natural instincts to hide away in a semi-hibernation come to an end. This means training.

This years dilemma is whether to train for strength or speed. Note the absence of even considering training for stamina. Inevitably there will always be someone stronger than you and someone faster than you. So do I go for bag work and road work slimming down and speeding up to add tone to my current bulk. The training takes longer but is faster to recover from and does lead to a good physique. Or do I go for strength, short blow out sets where I write off being able to use that muscle group for a few days. The latter does mean I get stupidly big and look alot more intimidating though the doorgut tends to stay put with all the protein and bulk gainers. I don't do gear to get big, just beast myself.

So the question, is this summer's look bigger is better or less is more?
I think this year I'll try and go slim and fast. Last year I got big. hopefully enough of the strength will stick and I'll still be as useful as I was. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, March 9, 2006

Consent

I'm concerned that in recent gabblings I've heard on the radio they're toying with saying drunk women can't consent to sex so it would by definition be rape. There goes my job!
If drunk men can't meet drunk women and by ritual strutting and cooing translate a vertical suggestion into a horizontal practice I'll be scuppered.

The vast majority of couples I know met through the nation's favourite social lubricant. If getting oneself willfully drunk in a situation where sex is on the agenda, which is most places with a dancefloor, could lead to rape charges, I'm worried. Will getting drunk and going on the pull stop? Will I have to stop drunk couples, not just from having sex in the toilets, but put them in separate taxis? Could I be in legal trouble for the premise that the man she came in with while nearly sober and has been kissing all night can't have her consent because now she's three sheets to the wind? This could be a well intentioned kick in the knackers to a large part of the national way of life.

You're boring me

Now this weekend I encountered one of those annoying moments when you just feel like you're being a git but there's bugger all you can do about it. Two folk come to the front door and I thinking they might possibly be under 18 have an ask.

I've had 10 seconds of seeing them walking down a poorly lit street and she was wearing a hat so I saw her face for only a second. So I ask in my usual fashion if I can see some ID please. She has a drivers license, he has only a Student card. She is 23 so I missed by half a decade, he claims 22 and I'm inclined to believe he is. However now's when I'm forced to be a git. We work on a company policy of questioning for ID all folk we think look 21 or under. So 23 and 22 were not too bad to stop and ask. Unfortunately, when we ask and don't get we can't let the have nots in. So here am I faced with a nice couple of post-graduate type students with their mates already in and by policy I can't let the lad in despite the fact I by now am fairly convinced he's old enough. My associate on the door has left this one to me so I repeatedly inform said lad that he can't come in and I know it may sound daft but without a means to prove his age he's not getting in tonight.

After 10 mins of repeating this, boredom creeps in. The couple were not drunk, friendly, well spoken but miffed and I ended up just telling him to shut up and go away as he was boring me. To which he kept on talking but his other half said "Jesus, just shut up and come on, you're boring me too!"
Nice!

Tuesday, March 7, 2006

A Shout

The time when doormen stand apart from other employees in a venue is when physical violence and threats of physical violence occur. Now most sensible poorly paid souls would think to themselves 'get me out of here' and quite rightly so. If you're not being paid/been trained/expected to/expect to get in harm's way then really getting out of there is the best plan. However this is why doorfolk stand out as a little different.

Although permanently under-rewarded for a quite frankly stupidly dangerous job we expect, nay enjoy the moments of adrenalin raising, glass breaking, blood spillings that occur at random intervals. Though often at the expense of our laundry. This may sound daft and for the purposes of running an establishment well, there should be as little possibility for violence as can be allowed human beings. However, economy, efficiency and imperfections in the management of both individual doormen and their management mean there are oft not enough hefty folk in bad shirts and clip on ties around to get everywhere before it happens. This means instead of a 'keep your eye on them' or 'make yourself seen over there' call we get 'Fight Fight, main dancefloor' which inevitably means dropping all but the most crucial tasks and fleeing into the affray.

Once there we are expected to soak up blows, prevent all punters from harm, including the ones throwing fists everywhere, cause minimum disruption to those punters who are unaware of the loud violent fracas happening within arms length, escort those necessary from the premises, calm and observe the remaining punters, do all this in the swiftest time possible, not suffer any personal injury and hopefully remember enough details about this 12 second event to write a page long report on the whole bloody incident. Not as easy as it sounds in a crowded, high noise environment filled with non-rationally thinking drinkers.

So we rely heavily on good communication, both verbally on radio and physically. The physical is scuppered by the frequent use of smoke to make two doorfolk 20 metres apart invisible to each other and the radio is just scuppered by every factor imaginable. This all leads to us spending our working life talking distractedly to punters and staff alike whilst always looking around at everyone else in the room, stopping mid sentence, losing the thread of even the simplest things and running off into the crowded masses without even a 'by your leave' to return minutes later with no real explaination and blood/beer/vomit on our shirts. We must seem like a care in the community work scheme. Oh well, it's better than pouring pints.

Updated links

Have a gander at the side bar as I've both culled and spawned the list to better reflect my daily trawls

Monday, March 6, 2006

Brrrrr...rrrrr...rrrrr

It's been cold of late. Two things spring to mind from this particular seasonal treat. The first joy is that of standing still outside on the front door for 6 hours. This is not a thing a sensible person would attempt. Most folks however inappropriately wrapped would only spend a few minutes outside as they hop between taxi and pub/taxi and club/pub and club/pub and take-away. Though wearing thick socks and very study boots, T-shirt, shirt, waistcoat, overcoat, hat, scarf and gloves the cold will permeate. No problem you think, just pop inside and defrost every now and again and let another cool down while you warm yourself. This provides little reflief however. When shuffled inside for a short while, after doffing hat, scarf, gloves and overcoat you inevitably are rapidly too hot. This is possible even though your extremities still resemble ice cubes. This rapid overheating speeds your return to the door where upon donning your hat, scarf, gloves and overcoat you are standing in the early hours of the morning on a clear frost hardened night sweating to cool off with limbs rapidly tingling from the formation of ice crystals in your blood. Repeating this human tempering process will lead only to a headcold and sinus pain the following day. To stay out and accept a thorough freezing with the hope of defrosting some distant dream is, I have found the best solution.

The second thing that ocurs is the use of frozen, iced roads as a source of great hilarity. Now A.N. Other punter will be out on the tiles in their finest Saturday night get up including the slick soled dancing shoes and stylish light patterned shirt. The female counter part has ditched her sensible work trousers and winter thickness tights in favour of a denim/leather/faux leather/light cotton belt and strappy open toe shoes with heels that raise her from dwarf to acceptable with only 3-4 inch heels, usually accompanied by a cleavage/midriff/back showing top and b. all else. To watch these fine inebriated souls prance/dance/slide/glide down the frozen streets is fine entertainment for the sober though only for the inevitable thump as backside lands solidly on ice coated tarmac. The bambi like efforts to resurrect themselves are equally amusing though often tainted with sympathy as the fine dressed folk stagger on to your door or someone else’s wearing the blackened salted slush puppy that dwells on the roads in this season. The sympathy seldom extends to letting these fine Saturday nighters in however once they’ve got that freshly gritted and salted look.

The prize offering of my weekend was the lady whose shoes were clearly such an obstacle to her enjoyment of the night that she retired homewards at 3 in the morning along the snow dusted streets barefoot.