Friday, 23 November 2012

Your name's not down, but your girlfriend can come in.

This may suprise a few of you - But I am actually a fully fledged, licensed and notarised 'Door Supervisor' (What we all used to call a Bouncer).

In the dim and distant past, probably about twenty years ago, as I'd done some freelance bailiffing work, I would occasionally get accosted by the bouncers of local biker bars and clubs (Whom I'd known previously, I mean these guys didn't just spy my rippling biceps and go - 'He looks like he'd fill a doorway') and asked if I'd like to 'watch the door' whilst they stepped away from their posts for a bio break or to *cough* check some young lady's ID *cough*. This slowly evolved into me becoming one of those people that everyone hates - 'The guy who gets into places for free'. You'd rock up at the door of your venue of choice, the bouncer would ask 'Working?', I'd reply, 'Can do, if you're busy' and then there'd be some fist-bumping or that fist-handshake thing and I'd go and get a bottle of Dog and sit down for the rest of the night. The only proviso was that if things did kick off, you were seen to be in the front row, handing out righteous judgement with whatever blunt instrument came most readily to hand.

This very seldom happened if I'm honest as, contrary to popular opinion, biker bars (in the UK certainly) tend to be self policing, and also, bikers in general are a pretty good natured bunch - Visit one, you'll love it, but it's probably best not to wear a tie unless you like people pointing at you and laughing. (This does not apply if you're female and dressed as a schoolgirl, feel free to wear a tie then, although in fairness, you'll probably still get pointed at - Although it's unlikely to be with a finger.)

However, it all tailed off as things got more and more regulated, you started to need certification, you had to have a 'Little Blue Badge' issued by the local authorities, then the SIA (Security Industry Authority) got involved and it all went to hell in a handcart... Bouncers became Doormen, then Door Supervisors, the bats and socks full of pennies got replaced by politeness and psychology and it became 'safe'... OK, let's qualify that bit, I mean it became safer for the punter. You were significantly less likely to wake up in a ditch, looking at a selection of your own bodily fluids, wondering why you could see the back of your own head. It was no safer for the guy in the monkey suit saying 'I'm sorry sir, not tonight, try again next week' as the local authorities had not seen fit to regulate the behaviour of drunks to the same extent, it was still quite acceptable for them to lash out with glasses and broken WKD bottles and whatever else they carried about their persons.

I thought myself to be well out of, for want of a better word, you could describe as 'A mug's game' and settled down to a life of comfort, videogames and beer. That is of course until my wife commented that I should probably 'Do something in my spare time', it seems that sitting, drinking beer and playing games aren't 'something' as far as the current Mrs Dandy is concerned. I took this to heart, and within a couple of months I was offered a place on a Door Supervisor training course - Spooky!

Our instructor was a little Scots fella, who had been invalided out from 3 Para after (IIRC) smashing both of his legs (or arms) to pieces after a faulty parachute deployment - And he was, without doubt, the most double-hard b*st*rd that I have ever had the honour to meet. He would merrily go through the official SIA Door Supervisors Training Handbook with us, then slam it shut and say 'Tammorae, I'll tich ya poufters whae ya rally need tae knae'

And he did... We learned what bits to poke, where to chop or twist, how fast, how hard and how long for - In fairness, he did preface every demonstration with 'An ya shoul' ne'er do thas, but ye'll nee' to knae how to defen agin it' - It was the first time I ever saw anyone use the 'sleeper hold' to it's natural conclusion and also the first time I saw a guy who was probably only 5'5" subdue a guy around a foot taller, one handed. (It should be noted that the big fellah wasn't just tall, he was probably about 300lbs and has once been sacked for knocking someone out with a live chicken - He works for the BBC now I think, or at least he did the last time I met him)

And he also HATED first aid training, don't get me wrong, he still taught it, and taught it well, but his opinion was that it made you soft and you'd worry about hurting someone if you thought you might have to fix them again afterwards. To this end, he organised a bit of 'role play' the day after the first aid training. He set the classroom up to mimic a darkened nightclub layout and slumped one of our number in the corner, then he let us in, one at a time and told us that it was the end of the night and the rest of the club was clear, 'Whad'ye dae?' Of course, we were all still in 'Helpful First Aider' mode, we checked for breathing and conciousness and stuff and went to help, whereupon the guy opened his eyes, brought an empty syringe from behind his back, and stabbed us in the neck, 'Yer deid, if ya lucky, it wae jus drogs, if ya wea onlucky it wea infected blod, if ya wae rilly onlucky it whuz jus' full o' air !' he cried, with more than a little glee - The only guy who passed this test was the one who he'd put in the sleeper hold - Maybe it focuses the mind?

I've used it a couple of times since, even done security for bands and suchlike. All in all, a pretty great experience, people who are interested in self defence should definately look into it - I've taught a lot of what I learned to my daughter, and will be doing the same when my son's a little older - So that's something for the next generation of bullies to look forward to.


  1. You taught your KIDS? Be afraid,very afraid!!!

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