Tuesday, 2 September 2008

All Power to the Doorman

When I used to go regularly to Workingmen's Clubs, it always used to amuse me to witness the internal politics and the eternal struggle between the doorman and the Committee Men.
Once, when I was on a bike run deep in the heart of pitmatic Durham, I dared to wheel my bike into the Foyer of a Workingmen's Club, bearding the lion in his den as it were, and asked the doorman if he would sign me in for a drink.
"It'll cost you 50p, son" he gruffly replied, nodding towards the charity box.
"What about my bike?" says I. The surrounding estate was bandit country and I didn't dare leave the bike outside.
"Just put it up against the radiator over there, lad".
I complied and went to the toilet before going to the bar. As I emerged from the toilet, I was just in time to hear the authoritive voice of a passing Committee Man.
"Whose is this f...ing bike, get it out of here!"
This drew a rapid and belligerent reply from my benefactor, the doorman:
"You leave that bike alone, you nosy count (well, it was another word actually, which decency prevents me from writing).
"Bikes is not allowed!"
"I told the lad he could put it there, you piss off"
Embarrassed, I said:
"It's O.K, I'll shift it"
"No you won't! You go and get your pint, son (I was over 50 at the time, by the way), take no notice of this nosy b.....d."
"Bikes is against the rules!" roared the Committee Man, who had now been joined by another.

I went to the bar and peacefully enjoyed my pint, while the battle raged in the Foyer. Everyone who entered the bar had a big grin on his face. I had lit a touchpaper and the place was alive with the excitement of it all.
When I left, my bike was still there against the radiator.
As always, the doorman had won.


Auckland Mackem said...

"Pitmatic" isn't a word I've heard before. Do you mean that "rules is rules" attitude so common in the mining areas of the NE?

I love it!

Real word or home made?

papastonch said...

This word I thought to be fairly common slang for the set ways of former mining communities, the kind of groups of people who, as you say, stick firmly to their own traditions.
But doormen make their OWN rules!

G. Chapman said...

We haven't had a doorman for a good 7/8 years I think. The last one died and at the same time electronic door systems were coming in. It's a shame, as although I only caught the last year or two of it I do remember feeling that it meant a lot to Pat to do that job in his retirement.