The Albion, Part One.

I had been working as a doorman at the Highwayman for just over 2 years, and things were going from bad to worse. I was about ready to quit. One Friday afternoon an old pal and training partner called by my home and asked if I would be interested in working a shift at The Albion, in Newcastle-Under-Lyme. I wasn’t working that evening, and didn’t have anything important to do – so, I said yes. I was fed up with the way things were going at the Highwayman, and was looking for a new door to work. I thought that if I made a good impression and did a decent job, that I may just get an opportunity to get a door-job there, or make some contacts in town and maybe work on one of the other doors. As things turned out, I was right.

Newcastle-Under-Lyme was totally different to working at The Highwayman. It was a totally different entity. For one, the doormen were far more professional, and I now had people around me who I knew would watch my back, and wouldn’t shy away from danger. I was no longer working out in the middle of nowhere with a bunch of amateurs. Newcastle-Under-Lyme had loads of bars and nightclubs, and there was loads of people going from one bar to another on “pub-crawls”. All the bars were jam packed full of people. The street-life alone was very busy, and entertaining. It was a hedonistic playground of sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll. …massive amounts of alcohol, and plenty of violence too! I can’t lie and say that I didn’t enjoy the lifestyle. In fact, I loved it! …and unlike average 9-5 day-jobs, I actually looked forward to going to work.

Things had stepped up a gear in comparison to The Highwayman. I was no longer dealing with the local village idiots. The Albion attracted one or two wannabe tough guys, biker gangs, football hooligans, prostitutes, and a few snakes with tits! My first night went OK. Pretty uneventful, and no real serious trouble. At the end of the evening I was asked if I wanted to work the following night. I couldn’t say no, because it was too good an opportunity to turn down.

I worked the following night, and I was tested. A doorman isn’t a doorman until he or she has been tested. …In other words put under pressure. You have to prove yourself capable of doing the job. You can attend all the door courses and seminars under the sun, but nothing beats real life experience. Having a door supervisors badge or licence won’t make you a doorman overnight. You have to be tested. It’s a kind of initiation. You had to earn your respect – so to speak.

Anyway, on my second night I was working on the front door, and the evening was coming to a close. Suddenly a fight broke out on the street. There was a man repeatedly punching a woman, and he was really laying into her. There’s just something about me that does NOT approve of a man hitting a woman, and I couldn’t stand by and let this coward continue. I was standing behind this guy, and I applied one of my favorite restraining techniques. A catch-as-catch can wrestlers chicken wing. The hold was applied quickly, and effectively! …BUT that wasn’t the end of it! …The woman got back up onto her feet. and hit him with a good three or four hard shots to the face! The guy lost his front teeth. I saw them hit the floor. and now I had a bloodstained shirt. I wasn’t too thrilled about that. The woman was restrained from doing any further damage. …That’s a shame!

To cut a very long story short, it turned out that this guy was an off duty police officer. So, unfortunately I had to let him go. I had to turn a blind eye to the situation. I didn’t want to, but I didn’t have my official Newcastle-Under-Lyme Council doorman badge/ licence, and I din’t want to draw any unwanted attention my way until I had one. As far as I was concerned that was the end of the matter.

At the end of the evening I was asked if I wanted to work Sunday night, and come Sunday I was offered a regular Job. Every week guaranteed. Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights. Mine for taking if I wanted it. I didn’t need to think about it. I said YES, right there, right then, in an instant. Sunday was interesting because all the doormen around Newcastle were talking about what happened the night before. News travels fast. …and most of the time it gets very exaggerated. It seemed as though they approved of my actions, and It went a long way to gaining me some respect. Sunday was rather quiet business-wise. But Sundays could go either way. They could be quiet for two or three weeks, Then bang! …I think it was because most people around Newcastle and Stoke were paid their wages monthly. So they would spend and drink, and do whatever it took to block out the depressing reality that tomorrow was going to be Monday, and it’s back to that job that they hate so much.

I called Lee Justin over the phone, and told him that I had quit working for him at The Highwayman. It was the decent thing to do. Now it was time to move forward. Serious stuff. Onward and Upward. It was time to get out of my comfort zone. I spent at the very least the two years working there, and it was a life changing experience, and that’s no no exaggeration.

The next two years were the real test, that and so much more. You were only as good as your last fight. Losing could be a sacking. You’d be dismissed from your job. Unemployed. Iv’e known doormen who’ve spent months in hospital. Iv’e known some doormen who’ve been put into a coma! …and many of them were never the same after that. Every night was sink or swim.

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