“I deal drugs, enjoy violence, fuck with good people for no reason, turn them away and then let in huge groups of chav pieces of shit because they remind me of me, then act surprised when I get bottled and they burn the place to the ground”. This is a sentence you don’t hear in Bouncers and nor will you ever despite the fact that it would be the one truthful thing many of them could say. Documentaries on doormen inevitably end up talking to fairly decent pugs like Shaun and Ben who work the door of The Quay in Blyth, a rundown area of the North East of England. They used to build ships and mine coal in Blyth but now it’s even less fun. “Everyone gets absolutely shit faced and ends up fighting. There’s not much else to do” says one resident. He’s not kidding.
It’s a Bank Holiday Sunday and Shaun chucks someone out for throwing lipstick (I have literally no problem with this – nightclub twattery often starts small). This is zero tolerance bouncing. Shaun and Ben are relative newcomers to the door and the regulars aren’t happy they now have to prove they are 18. Why aye man, the last booncer Big Tony knew us and let us in. Let them in Shaun!¹
But wait, here come a couple of celebs. Sandra and Tracy from Viz. The boys have been warned by text from another pub that these two are waddling their way, off their tits on poppers, cracking flags and scarring psyches in their wake. The girls are quickly turned away and they take it quite well all things considered. “The tide wouldn’t take them two out” says Ben, accurately if ungallantly, as they lumber off to find a skip to pass out in.
The boys have been warned by text from another part that these two are waddling their way, off their tits on poppers, cracking flags and scarring psyches in their wake.
Over in the somewhat classier suburb of Jesmond, former paratrooper Jim Rennick, AKA ‘Jesmond Jim’, plies his trade. Jim likes the fact that as a result of his job he can now count surgeons and doctors as friends and that he’s had a fair amount of pumpum he would never have had were he not a bouncer. He’s less crazy about the shite pay and multiple brutal assaults and hopes that his skills are transferable to working in a care home (having worked in a few Aerial Telly can confirm that this is a pretty decent shout).
We also hear from the other side of the barricades. Chumpish twentysomething banterlad Scott hoyed a glass at someone a year ago and is now completely barred from every pub in Blyth thanks to the town’s Pub Watch scheme. He writes asking the Pub Watch committee for commission to return from exile like a shite Dalai Lama². It works! He goes out on his birthday and gets pissed as a cunt – a step closer to early death, cancer, strokes, heart disease, mental illness and further violence. It’s just the most wonderful redemption tale.
He goes out on his birthday and gets pissed as a cunt – a step closer to early death, cancer, strokes, heart disease, mental illness and further violence. It’s just the most wonderful redemption tale.
It’s not a job you would choose for yourself. Puking scuttlers and their hair gelled suitors are your constituents and you are their unelected despot. Violence, abuse and life-threatening boredom are certainties and your home life is as fucked as a basement party at Ariel Castro’s gaff. But on the plus side one day Channel 4 might make a documentary series about you and it might be quite tolerable. Bouncers is one such documentary although it could do with a bit more punching.
The verdict: Not in those shoes, mate.
Marks out of 10: 7
¹ On no account let them in.
² Aerial Telly is perfectly aware that the real Dalai Lama is a shite Dalai Lama.