I remember careers advice day at school.  The careers advisor would ask you a bunch of questions and come up with a suitable occupation based on your preferences when you were aged 14.  Not surprisingly, not a single one of my friends is occupied in the job recommended by a pipe-smoking, beardy twat who was also the religious education teacher.
If things had gone to his plan, Johnny Dope would have been working as a horse trainer.  In fact, from a class of 30 kids, 28 of them were advised to become horse trainers because they positively answered the question, “Do you like animals?”   All fourteen year old kids like animals, but they’re thinking of dogs and cats, not fucking horses – big, sweaty, grumpy animals that can’t be trusted.

I don’t know if there’s a Thai version of careers day.  But if there was, the questioning could run as follows…

“Are you a bully?”  Y

“Are you too stupid to be a policeman?”  Y

“OK… You can be a nightclub security guard.”

It’s doubtful that that’s the way security staffs find their calling but it might as well be.

Let me be fair, I know it’s not the best job in the world.  I know that handling drunk girls and aggressive guys is a pain in the ass… after all, that’s my usual night out with buddies.  But the nature of the job seems to attract three different sorts of people – The Good, The Bad and the Fucking Stupid.

Let’s start with The Good

These are the guys who understand that people are out to have a good time.  They know that people are imbibing alcohol and drugs and are likely to be less socially aware than usual.  So they cut them some slack.  When they see some guy dancing like a Thunderbird puppet, they laugh and give the guy the thumbs up.

The Good remember regular guests’ names.  They bring them to the front of the queue and say hello.  Inside, they look relaxed and happy with their job.  If they are standing next to Johnny Dope’s table, they’ll keep an eye on the girls’ handbags and make sure randoms aren’t helping themselves to my booze.  And whenever there’s the possibility of a bit of trouble, they stand close enough to let me know they’ve got my back.  The Good are also the guys that get tipped well.  They get good reports to their bosses.  And when it’s their day off and they happen to be drinking in the same place I am, they get a couple of drinks (or a pill or a bump if that’s what they like).

The Bad

The Bad don’t do any of the above.  They scowl and look menacingly at guests.  And when a guest wanders into the wrong area or infringes on a club rule, The Bad are loud, rude and aggressive and enjoy ruining people’s nights out.

The best bouncer I ever met wasn’t a giant of a man.  He had a ready smile and an easy attitude.  Whenever trouble was looming, he’d identify the troublemaker and walk over like he was the guy’s best friend… “’Scuse me, mate… Can I have a quick word please?” and start to walk away… Almost always, the guy would follow until the nice-guy bouncer had walked him outside ‘for a chat’.  And once outside, that was it.  No violence.  No scene.  Just a simple explanation that the guy couldn’t re-enter the club.  It’s pretty difficult to fight your way back into a club… so nobody tried.

The worst bouncers I met were at Climax.  I don’t usually like to name and shame clubs, but as I’m not going back there and Johnny Dope isn’t my real name, I don’t give a shit.  I was there under duress and under the influence.  It was after 4am and pretty busy.  I popped into the toilet for a little pick-me-up.

I’d just made up a little line on my phone and was ready to partake, when I glanced up, I saw a pair of hands slipping back from the cubicle wall.  I wasn’t sure if some gay guy wanted a look at my tackle, or I’d just been spotted.  One little peek through the doorframe confirmed five Thai guys waiting outside the door – I was either getting busted or gang-raped.

Quickly I flushed my stash… Actually, that’s not quite true.  I figured I’d better do my line first before I went out to talk to them, and then flush the remainder.

As soon as I stepped outside, I was grabbed.  They said they were police and wanted to search me.  I let them do a search, but they couldn’t find anything.  I was remarkably calm because I felt sure they weren’t real police (and I’d dropped two E’s earlier).  I asked for ID and one guy flashed a card without a photograph.  They threatened to take me to the hospital for a test… Hmmm surely they’d have taken me to the police station?

After ten minutes or so, they relented and let me walk without paying a satang… Which I think confirms my theory.  They had an eyewitness – he even identified which card I used to chop my line.  If they’d been real police, I know I’d be in Lumpini police station or at the ATM within 10 minutes.

I did a bit of asking around and discovered that they are simply security staff that change out of their uniform and shake down customers for money.

The Bad are rude and aggressive.  The Worst work at Climax and rip off people who like a little roll when they go out.

Which finally brings us to The Fucking Stupid.  Actually, I deliberately used profanity in the title to test my editor.  I noticed she has a tendency to change letters for symbols, such as F#@!.  So if this piece is full of symbols instead of swear words, blame my editor…

TheGoodTheBad1

The Fucking Stupid…

…are the bouncers who can’t use common sense.  The ones who invent regulations to suit their moods and the ones who beat up guests just because they’re bullies who are too stupid to be policemen.

Here are a few examples…

A friend of mine was denied entrance into a nightclub because ‘he had a camera’… Errm right.  ‘Because he might take a video’…. Errm and?  Every phone in the club can take a video.

A bouncer in Khao San Road decided to ban a whole continent of people because ‘they are stingy’.  In my opinion, you let people in, until they prove themselves to be a problem.

There’s a ladyboy I know that works as a model.  Very successful and earns good money.  She can’t go into several clubs ‘in case she steals a handbag’.  It’s possible that some ladyboys steal handbags… But the solution is to ban the thief, not everyone with the same genitals as the thief.

Last year, a girl collapsed in a busy club in RCA.  My friend and I were taking her out for some fresh air and some water.  Rather than permitting us to use the shortest exit, the bouncers insisted we lug this dead weight an extra fifty meters through a crowded club because ‘this door is an entrance only’.

But the Fucking Stupidest…

…of all bouncers are the ones that abuse their position to beat up guests.  Some people need to be thrown out of clubs.  Some people are complete dickheads and shouldn’t be allowed to mix with other people.  But being thrown out is their punishment.  Not being set up by a gang of punching, kicking thugs.  I’ve seen guys tasered while being taken off the premises.  I’ve seen girls being beaten by 2 or 3 men.  And a popular, busy club was closed early recently after a guest complained to the police about the violence used while removing her from the club.

In my opinion (and I’m usually right), security staff needs to learn how to immobilize a rowdy guest, without beating him to a pulp.  I remember sitting in a club before it opened watching the bouncers learning Muay Thai.  And I remember thinking, ‘No guest should be on the receiving end of a flying knee to the face.’

As I stated earlier, working in nightclub security is a difficult, dangerous job.  And I hope that The Bad and The Fucking Stupid are in a minority.  With luck, some entrepreunising, young professional will open a security training school and so that future guests are treated with respect, manners and safety.

After all, a club needs to be careful of its image or guests won’t return.  And I’d encourage people to vote with their feet and go somewhere else… Anywhere else… Except to those scamming bastards at Climax.

Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. Johnny Dope is written for entertainment purpose only. Bangkoknightlife.com does not encourage buying, selling or using drugs in any way.

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