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Friday, October 26, 2007


This Life column from Day and Night in today's Irish Independent

Guess what my pick is for movie scene of the year. The awesome Dunkirk panorama in Atonement? The pants-wettingly intense Waterloo Station segment of The Bourne Ultimatum? Every single frame of Ratatouille?

No, no and no. I'm plumping for that scene in Knocked Up where Leslie Mann unleashes a tirade of abuse at a snotty bouncer who won't let her character into a nightclub. When I saw that, I nearly had to be strapped down in order to stop me from jumping up in the middle ofthe film, and sassily shouting, 'You go girl!', all while making animated snapping movements with my fingers.

We all have had our run-ins with rude and obstinate door staff and bouncers. Show me someone who goes out on a regular basis who hasn't had at least six infuriating experiences with bouncers and I'll show you someone who obviously drinks so much that they've blocked out the said encounters.

People point to George Dubious Bush or Vladimir Putin as examples of how absolute power can corrupt absolutely. Well, we have mini-Bushs and Putins on the doors of every bar and club on earth. Granted, there are some bouncers who wield their power benevolently, but there are twice as many who go insane on their power trips, the ones who cackle maniacally while stroking a cat as they watch mile-long queues form outside their superbars or clubs for no other reason than to make the place look more popular and fabulous than it really is.

That kind of petty behaviour I can just about tolerate. It's the rudeness that I can't stand. And I think I found the all time champs in that regard while on a weekend away to London a fortnight ago.

Our nightclub of choice that night was hosting a major girl group so we expected there to be crowds. The queue was manageable, but when we got to the top, some lovely lady with a clipboard barked at me, 'How many in your group, love?'. 'Five', I replied, presumably in some rare Inuit dialect thatI didn't know I possessed, because she glowered at me and repeated very slowly, 'How many in your group, are you deaf?'

Now if it had been an episode of Ally McBeal, that would have been the point where I fantasised about biting off her head and then using it as a sled to ride down the side of a craggy mountain. Instead I patiently repeated, 'Five' and she rolled her eyes and growled at us to go around the corner into another queue.

Except there was no other queue. It was more like an enclosed pen for grazing cattle, which, it turns out, is the best metaphor for our general treatment that night. We were herded inside, and literally pushed along by an army of staff who prodded us like cows at the mart and bellowed orders at us all like we were the fresh meat arriving on our first day at Shawshank.

When the gig ended, we went out for a cigarette, and were again shouted at for daring to ask for a stamp to get out. But when we all got out, they wouldn't let us back in, saying the club was too full!

I could go on, but space and rising blood pressure are constraining me. My point is that this club was a perfect demonstration of what happens when a place becomes successful: inevitable complacency and arrogance. Why bother treating people as humans anymore? We're just commodities afterall. Move along now cattle. Moo!

I tell you, that whole experience was so traumatising that I had to double my vodka intake once I got inside. So like a mindless bovine, I played right into their hands and was milked for all I was worth.

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