Talking to the man on the door

I was at a family wedding in England over the weekend and I got talking to the bouncer, I mean doorman. Interesting. He was called…let’s say Malcolm and he had tattoos everywhere, notably on his head (“Bit painful getting the one on the head done, but worth it. I think they look attractive”). Malcolm does the doorman thing at the weekends (“What would I be doin’ instead? Flicking channels on the telly? I can’t be arsed with that rubbish”); during the day he works with motorbikes. His first wife couldn’t stand him doing the doorman stuff; his second wife doesn’t mind. He has no children (“No! Got three big German shepherds though -that’s enough!”)

He was a Royal Marine (“I was in Northern Ireland – Springfield Barracks in 1979. Now that was scary!”). As a doorman he’s been stabbed twice (“Both times by women. You’re getting the guy under control, the girl-friend comes up behind you with the knife”).  He had just one incident with a gun: “I was in one area, got the word there’d been a guy in another place had been shot in the legs. So I sprint round this corner and there he is, ten yards off,  shotgun pointed straight at me.”  What’d he do? “Guy looked at me, says ‘I don’t want no aggro – no dog in the fight with you, mate. I done what I come here to do’. And he puts the gun over his shoulder and walks off into the night, like Davy Crockett”.

Why does he put himself in mortal danger with this kind of thing – whether in the Marines or as a bouncer? “No, not any camaraderie or that sort of stuff. Tell you the truth, it gives me a buzz, You’re right there in the moment, when it happens, ain’t you? Doesn’t happen that often, but when it does, you feel this, how am I going to say, you feel this concentration”.

I don’t tell him Dr Johnston’s line about the prospect of being hanged concentrating the mind wonderfully. And I don’t ask him about his experiences in Springfield Road and the north generally. Maybe that’s why I find myself sort of liking him. There’s something child-like as well as hard man about him – he looks himself like a dog that’s been in a few  fights and wouldn’t mind a few more. Has he a political thought in his head? Not beyond a Sun editorial, I’d say. And I think how the British armed forces, and the US armed forces, and armies throughout the world feed the Malcolms a few comforting  line about patriotism, and off they go anywhere they’re sent, because it’s better’n sittin’ at home flickin’ channels on the telly, innit?

One Response to Talking to the man on the door

  1. giordanobruno August 1, 2012 at 1:37 pm #

    Poor stupid Sun reading child-like Englishman, never heard of Dr Johnson (we assume). Not a thought in his head (we assume).
    I am amazed you were able to understand his grunting half formed words.
    It's a good thing no-one here in Ireland is gullible enough to buy that patriotism guff innit?