Jim Barter | 23.08.2003 20:14 | Sheffield
"You probably deserved it..." you might think.
Well yes, I'd had rather a lot to drink, but I was not paralytic, violent or sick, a bit wobbly maybe but certainly well able to stand on my own two feet unaided (one of the 'bouncers' didn't seem to think so - more of that in a while) hold an intelligent reasoned discussion with the manager (well, my half of the conversation was reasoned) and I most certainly was not a danger to myself or others.
Now any club or pub in the land has the right to eject any member of the public they do not wish on the premises, this is a fact of law, they may also use 'reasonable force' to do so if necessary. So if they did wish me to leave a polite request would have done the job, I'm not reactionary.
Anyway the first bouncer asked me to leave because 'I was drunk' I said, "OK - let me get my bag", which they did. then with one bouncers hand on my arm, and a second bouncer leading the way, they started leading me out of the club. Now I cannot stress this enough, I'm not violent, I abhor danger, fighting, bloodshed of any form, so when for no reason that I can work out the second, larger, bouncer steps right up in front of me, leans into my chest and makes quite clear his intent to cause me pain and distress should I be any trouble I did what any self respecting 37 year old man would do - I totally complied and let the first bouncer, a smaller asian gentleman - put me in a double armed hammer lock and frogmarch me to the door - he was obviously concerned that I may fall and damage myself on the furniture, or the floor, or someone's fist.
So I find my self out in the street at around 1 in the morning, wondering what to do, I decide to wait for my friends still inside as the club closes at around 2am. I'm standing calmly leaning against a railing smoking a cigarette when bouncer number 3 who is working on the door starts talking to me (I think he was either trying to decide if I was going to do something stupid, or just being friendly - I'm not sure) I notice his name badge 'Wayne'. "I'm a bit puzzled as to why I was thrown out Wayne, some of the other people in there seemed in a far worse state than myself, would it be possible to talk to the manager?", there was some further discussion but after a while another gentleman steps outside and asks for my name, so I tell him, and my second name, so I tell him, and ask for his, "Richard" he says pointing to his name badge, "Whats your second name", he refuses to tell me and tells me to leave the area, "But I'm just waiting for my friends, I think I'll stay", "No" he says, "You'll leave" at this point I am starting to get a tad miffed, so I inform Richard that I plan to write up this series of events and publish them on the internet, at this he does become decidedly unhappy and promises to sue me should I say anything slanderous, so I am whilst writing this trying very hard to paint a full and accurate picture of the events. Richard again tells me I should leave or perhaps phone the police if I'm unhappy, 5 of them 1 of me, I decide to humour him and take a walk round the block.
5 minutes later I'm back infront of the club, Richard notices and again tells me I should leave the area, his voice did seem a tad upset so I move slightly away after telling a slight fib, "I have phoned the police - and now I'm waiting for my friends" at this he decides to ignore me as I think he's deduced that I'm not dangerous and I settle in to wait.
I have some friendly banter with a couple of other people leaving the club, and also with Wayne the bouncer, and I also talk a little to another bouncer 'Mark' nothing of any consequence, no threats, no posturing - totally professional doormen - just doing their job.
It's about 1.30 - 1.40am now and out steps the 'larger' of the two bouncers I'd met earlier - he looks at me and asks "Are you gonna get your mates to beat me up then?", "Not at all" I say, "I'm just waiting for them", thankfully I think, the area is quite well lit, and I was talking to a nice couple called 'Ken' and 'Iaeda' (I think she was Spanish) so this large chappie just disappears back inside.
About 5 minutes pass, and this is where the night gets really disturbing - now I've been clubbing in Sheffield for about 20 years and have seen quite a few sights, fights and frights, but the next 5 minutes were the some of the most disgusting I've ever seen on any night out.
Two more bouncers eject a young lad from the main entrance into the street, he is a tad upset and they quite firmly move him away from the door. His friends follow and a small group of drunk young lads starts to move away from the club, there is some jeering and catcalling at the doorstaff. Then the lad whose just been thrown out makes a mistake that nearly cost him his life.
He throws an empty cigarette packet at one of the bouncers, (this is a new one I'd not seen before) it hits him about the level of his chest and drops to the floor, This bouncer then proceeds to head in the direction of the young lad about 12 feet away, Mark the doorman follows. The as yet unknown bouncer proceeds to lift his leg in a kick that dropped the youth to the floor he may well have punched him as well - hard to see from my angle - the lad is on the floor, not moving.
People are a bit stunned, is this lad drunk? dead? what is going on? Mark the doorman leads unknown bouncer back inside, this lads friends are kneeling round him and I walk over, there is a pool of blood about 2 feet across coming from the back of his head, he's obviously unconscious and probably cracked his skull on the pavement as he went down. I tell one of these lads to phone an ambulance, and walk towards Wayne and Mark, "can you ask Richard the Manager to come outside please? one of your bouncers has just layed a guy out in the street and I saw it all happen." Mark disappears inside, a few minutes later Richard is back he looks around and starts yelling at people to back off and let him deal with it, but the public at this point don't really like Richard or his staff and a girl kneeling by the poor youths head says "I'm a nurse and I'll look after him".
Unknown bouncer and Mark are back at the door, "Thats a bit of a mess" I say to unknown, "Yeah" he says, then "Do you go to the Arches (another sheffield club)." "Yes, my names Jim, whats yours?" "Dave" he says, pointing to his ever present name badge, "My girlfriend goes there alot" he says (It may have been sister, I wasn't really listening), I walk away, unbelieving that he's so calm!
The police and ambulances arrive, I make my statement to the police, and Richard arrives again and tells me to leave then shoves me, right in front of a police officer I ask the officer if he saw it, he nods. Richard disappears back inside. There is some arguing going on by the door, people are confused about what they have seen.
Another Officer then asks me for my name again and to confirm my address, He also mentions that they have video from CCTV cameras in the street. One of the lads friends asks for my name and number, I oblige, he also informs me that the lad (I wished I'd got his name, was a first time visitor to Sheffield). At this point the club is starting to empty, the ambulances leave, the police hang around, Richard is still arguing at the door, Dave and Mark are still there, seeming totally calm.
When the last of the punters have left the club, the Door staff fall back inside and slam the doors shut, there seems nothing else I can do, my friends are not to be found (I may have missed them in the confusion) so I walk home.
The name of this club? The Lead mill. I used to think of it as one of the friendlier clubs in Sheffield, but after last night I won't be going there again. Ever.
I was under the impression that the days of 'profesional thuggery' were long-gone, most doormen (and I have met a lot of them) are kind, courteous, well trained to do their job. After all, their job is to protect you the punter from acts of violence, not to put you in hospital, it seems that there are still one or two 'Bouncers' I won't call them 'Doormen', who are willing to slip the leesh and become rottweilers at the drop of a fag packet.
I hope that the lad is OK.
I ought to add that the above history of last nights events is from my viewpoint and others present at the scene may have sightly or even totally different recollection of what happened, we each live in our own universe and interpret physical reality in different ways each according to our own consciousness.
There were several witness's
The author can be contacted at ' firstname.lastname@example.org'