Bouncers, doormen, cunts in black, whatever you want to call the security staff in clubs they rarely receive kind words. The unsympathetic might view them as particularly ill-equipped to be the gate keepers of fun: they often seem to combine an unfortunate mixture of belligerence, stupidity and brute strength. Sometimes it might be tempting to wonder if they can spell their own job title. However, from personal experience, I would advise you to keep your wondering to yourself or do it from a safe distance..
Yet, I have come to conclude that assessment as somewhat unfair. Last night, I am somewhat ashamed to say, I attempted to swing influence at By:larm festival by using my delegate pass to jump the queue at Cross Roads club. A long line had grown in anticipation of Mikhael Paskalev, and they looked freezing and grumpy. I decided I didn’t fancy joining them, so I swanned up to the front and suggested my pass should permit me early entrance. I justified it by convincing myself that as a labourer in the festival operation, I should be entitled to special privileges. This didn’t wash with the men on the door.
They proceeded to politely and articulately explain how while they could understand my position, it would be unjust to allow me to walk straight in ahead of the freezing masses and would set a dangerous precedent. In sum he concluded, were this discrimination to become law, he could very well have a riot on his hands. Looking at the beardy, smartphone-wielding queue, I doubted the likelihood of this prophecy. A growing mumbling of discontent climaxing in a group scowl and a collective and forceful decision to just go home, would have seemed the more likely outcome.
Nonetheless, touched by his eloquence and convinced by his logic, I decided to join the back of the queue. From here I witnessed several others wielding delegate passes trying to pull the same trick. Not precisely the same trick, some went for pleading, others for anger “Do you bloody well know who I am?!” sort of approach. Meanwhile, pretty girls drew up close to the doormen, whispering suggestively in their ears. I don’t know what they said but you can guess at the gist. Throughout the doormen remained implacable. They neither raised their voices nor did they ever succumb. With each failing quasi VIP my respect for them grew.
By the time I reached the front (the old fashioned way), the doormen were on great terms with the queue. Each person that left was immediately followed by a person from the queue being admitted, prompting cheers from those waiting. Many of those who entered, made sure to shake the doormen’s hand. This is how a one in-one out policy is meant to work.
I did in the end manage to catch the excellent latter half of Mikhael Paskalev set, but I would rather tell you about how I learnt to give doormen a break and why you should too.
This text was originally published in the print edition of By:larm News, 16/02/13.