Thursday, November 18, 2010

Fronting Up

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