|You don’t end up like this by winning fights. I should have read the book!|
In my youth (well, perhaps my thirties and forties), I did the poetry reading round. Anyone who has ever done this, will know just how tough it can be. Surely, sitting in a quiet recording studio should be far easier. No drunks, no chanting football fans or passing poet haters. Just me….and that is the problem. Once you’ve read a poem to a crowd (or four acrid smelling people who thought it was ferret club night), the thing is done. You can’t go back to tweak the bleak or lengthen the longing in the tone. It’s done my dear and where’s my beer? (See – once a poet always a poet).
A narrator’s work is never done. The errors will haunt you for ever. For all that it is a wonderful job. A couple of weeks ago I completed a rather unusual project. 101 Tips On How To Be A Bouncer is a unique book. The tag line is “Techniques To Handle Situations Without Violence”. The author, Darren Lee, is an experienced “Crowd Controller” who has also spent many years as a lawyer. The book does exactly what it says on the tin. The only thing is that the tin contains far more than you would think. In fact it is a book about psychology at the cutting edge of real dangerous life. From my own experience of many years as a London street cop, I can tell it was written by a guy who absolutely knows the score. It’s premise is how to be a bouncer and avoid conflict or violence. The essential thing is the management of potentially aggressive ego. At the same time, the “crowd controller” must be in charge and act with INTENTION. This is a balancing act, in front of a dangerous audience who massively outnumber the “controller”. Never underestimate the courage needed to turn up for work, knowing that any failure of your personal skills or physical confidence could leave you seriously injured.
I finished this book with a great admiration for all those guys who do this job. Few folk could not learn something from it. Anyone in security, event organizing, policing roles or the entertainment industry could gain insight from this book. As I read it, I realised that as a parent, this was a book I wish I could have put in the way of my clubbing kids. Youngsters don’t want to be mothered by old hens – after all – what do they know? A book by a “bouncer” has street cred and knowledge. It would help anyone to recognise situations and be able to assess risk. If you are with a group which is beginning to lose the plot – the “crowd controllers” will know the signs and be aware. Knowledge is power and I certainly would have put it in my kids’ sober hands as a quiet piece of homework. If the only thing they learned was that there are guys out there who’ve got their number and have seen it all before – that’s a major plus believe me. In the ocean of beers, shots and fun, a few will drown. Knowing the score could keep you afloat.
It was an unusual book to narrate. I found my tone in my London roots as a police patrol car driver. Darren is quite right. The “old school” bouncer is as dead as the old rough justice cop. It’s still a tough world out there and always will be. Cheers boys and girls – and have a good night eh!
Thanks Oscar. I’ve read this book myself. I was dismayed to learn that the last doorman asking for my I.D. was probably just doing a canned flattery routine. Oooh – he was sexy and I still love him for it anyway!
Here is a clip of Oscar explaining how to handle an old Doris like me…
Emma Thinx: Love on the bounce requires a man with balls.
Great blog !!
Oscar always has great insights into his work and the work of others. I always appreciate what he has to say. Thanks for sending his thoughts our way.
Bet Oscar really enjoyed doing this one! And Emma, love your 'Thinx' – soooo true!
An interesting topic that would have carryover to many situations in life. It's the old episode 43 of The Tao Te Ching: The softest thing in the universe overcomes the hardest thing in the universe. That without substance can enter where there is no room. Hence, I know the value of non-action.
Well relayed, Oscar, and I would expect no less. Thanks.