Sunday, 16 November 2014

My take on managers

Now this observation could very well get my in a lot of trouble but seeing as how I'm retired now, meh why not!
I've worked with many different types of managers over the years and notice how I said with there, not for.  We'll get to them later.
The old school belief is that the door team run the front door, it's their call who comes in and should never be belittled in front of customers for what should be obvious reasons.  Once overruled by a manager a doorman loses all control over that individual and renders him useless and pointless him being there!
Sadly this does increasingly happen particularly in trendy wannabe nightclubs where profit dictates all.  This is a terrible way to manage a venue as it just becomes a ticking time bomb with doormen feeling they can't say or do anything or they'll lose their jobs.  Not the best or most secure environment really! Larger clubs who are guaranteed heavy foot traffic are usually ran well as the  manager is far too busy to be worrying about who is in the venue, the door team will have received instruction previously about dress code, VIPs etc and should be left alone to do their jobs, I've been there and this works very well.  
In smaller venues who are trying to be something they're not however you can get a manager who is always on the front door calling the shots, this never works well and nearly always leads to problems between management and doorstaff as doorstaff feel they need to ask permission at every turn this reducing their authority directly in the eyes of the public.   It's a shame but still happens.
On the flip side though you can get a Manager who supports you totally and I can't tell you what a relief that is.  For me I have the most respect for two of my most recent managers at different venues in York,  Jason who is an ex doorman of many years who is still licensed and Vicky, a straight talking gal from the north east. 
 Now with Jason you may think that a manager who also still has a door licence is a recipe for disaster but far from it, Jason gave me full control from the get go, I could talk to him and he never overruled me once.  I do remember one busy Saturday afternoon spotting an idiot about to take a leak in our entrance passageway mere meters away from us! Jason couldn't contain himself and pushed the guy firmly out of the venue, then apologized to me for losing his temper!  I think the restraint he showed was amazing to be honest given the guys attitude at the time!
Vicky was similar but unfortunately being a 'boro girl you had to usually calm her down before you could throw whoever it was out!  

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Do you know who I am 2!

You meet a few minor celebrities every now and then as a doorman and when I was working in a nightclub last year we happened to get some of these folk meeting and greeting customers.  
We had some guys from the tv programme Geordie Shore in one night well I think it was Geordie Shore it could quite easily have been Made in Chelsea, can you tell how much it grabbed my interest!  I was only aware that we had one celeb in and, not watching the show myself I thought I'd best google a pic of him so I knew who I was supposed to be looking after!  I needn't have bothered though because he was so orange from overtanning he stuck out like a sore thumb, he seemed a nice bloke and was very polite and thankful which was a pleasant surprise.  
We barriered off the raised 'gallery' area of the club and he had his own little party going on with plenty of girls queuing to get his attention, after a while though the head doormanc who was enjoying being up there amongst all the young girlies, came to the entrance and told me to stop letting anyone up now as it was getting too busy up there.   So I started turning people away at the front, now em people want to do something in a club and you stop them they're not impressed, it doesn't matter that you can clearly see how busy it it, as far as they are concerned you are solely responsible for ruining their night and they will tell you that!  I must have been there for ten minutes or so when a tall, wavy haired pretty boy came up to me to go up and join the party.
"Sorry fella its too busy up there at the moment." I told him.
He looked irritated and then said, 
"Don't you know who I am little man?"
Little man?  Really?  Is that a good idea to say that to a doorman?  You twat.  Yep I thought all the above and then said
"It's just too busy up there mate."
"Don't you watch tv, don't you know who I am?" Came the condescending reply from the man. 
I noticed the heavy tan and the penny dropped that he must be with our minor celeb, he certainly had the attitude for a male diva!
I leaned forward and spoke in his ear
"No I don't know who you are, and in six months time no one else will either, now wind your neck in and be a bit nicer, it gets you further."
Not a word came back in reply, he actually looked like I'd been the first to tell him just how short lived his career was likely to be!

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Tools of the trade?

No I don't mean weapons that's not allowed although I have seen my share of knuckledusters and gloves with sand filled knuckles!  
I'm referring to the items you can buy to make your job a little easier and safer, from the top down there's the obvious hat in winter if you're allowed to wear one because believe me it gets chilly at 5 am on a winters night!   Then of course there's as decent earpiece as you can afford, preferably an in ear type as there's less chance of background noise, there are skeleton type earpieces and over the ear types but I'd only use one of these if I was going to be outside all night.
Venues should also provide earbuds and in some places I'd say wear them all the time as I'm sure some of the noise levels are crazy high and you do tend to spend a lot of time very close to speakers as these are typically situated to provide good sound coverage, this also means chances are high they are also in good visual vantage points of a venue.  There been plenty of times when I've been home for hours and my heads still been banging with the noise of the club I've been in earlier!
Never wear sunglasses on the door, for one if you get hit you're likely to damage your eyes, for another you look totally unapproachable, and like a tit.
Clip on ties are a must and should be provided by your door company or if you freelance then make sure you get one!  It's a lot harder for someone to grab and choke you with your own tie if its not attached to you!   This also brings a little humour every now and then when someone grabs your tie near some stairs ...... The pause of realisation as their face registers the fact that they're gonna fall is quite comical! 
Thermals, top and bottom in winter if you're outside because again it's bloody freezing sometimes! 
Overcoats, 3/4 length "crombies" are fantastic for keeping warm in winter and I think look very smart over a black suit too, make sure you get one that fits well and you can still move quickly and freely in it if necessary!   Unless you happen to actually be Wesley Snipes never, ever wear a 3/4 or full length leather jacket on the door, you are not Blade and you look like a tit!
Gloves, I prefer long leather ones to minimise the wind coming up your sleeves in winter but make sure again you get a pair you can actually grab someone in if you need to, there's nothing worse than losing grip on someone to have them run away or worse, hit you!
Footwear,  I tend to get into the same habit of looking after my feet, after all its rare for a doorman to get a sit down at work so you can spend long periods of time walking or standing in one spot so a good strong pair of boots with ankle support is highly recommended, ankle support particularly so as its easy to jar or sprain your ankle when dragging someone to the door who doesn't want to leave!   I prefer to wear 2 pairs of socks, a thin and then thicker pair to keep warm and allow my feet to breathe, if its going to be a long hot shift I quite often use a foot powder in my socks first, may sound strange but after 6-8 hours in a hot club in boots I'd rather have dry rather than sweaty feet!
On top of this there's a few things you can get to help you, first and foremost?  A pen and notepad, when an incident happens if you write the details straight down it makes reports and dealing with things easier and looks more professional to the public and police alike.
A UV light on a keyring, cheap as chips and perfect for checking ID's for the "watermark" only visible under Ultraviolet light.
A torch, a mini maglight will do nicely and makes it easier to check ID's and check areas of the floor when someone inevitably loses something!
There are other little bits n pieces I've seen over the years but these are the ones I've stuck with myself as they've helped me out, there is one final item I'd like to mention I just hope no one ever needs to use it, a stab vest, there are certain areas and venues which are extremely dangerous and if you're working or thinking of working in one of these then definitely give it some consideration, there are many types out there and I myself have worn one on many occasions after being stabbed in the arm and hand, it's not a nice thought but its very little financial outlay for something which could potentially save your life.