Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Background (Cont'd)

HarperCollins heard (from me) that I’d finally decided to start promoting the book, so they told me to embed the ad you’ll see on the right side of the site. In the three-plus years I’ve been writing on this site, there’s never been any advertising here. Shit, I’ve never even made a dime off this fucking blog, unless you count the advance I received for the book – which, while a welcome addition to my bank account, was not exactly a life-changing event.

So, fuck it. I’ll put this one up because it’s advertising something for me, and not some bullshit Google Ad-Sense deal plugging shit nobody needs. God only knows what their keyword match software would come up with for me considering the subject matter I’ve covered over the years.

As always, you can still order the book on Amazon if you’re so inclined.

Back to the history…

Jim Hughes wasn’t looking for any bouncers for his own places when I called, because he was in the process of selling one bar and converting the other into a restaurant. Because it was me calling, however, he was willing to make a few calls of his own to help me out, and I had myself a bouncing job in the city by the end of that week. As it turned out, one of Jim’s friends had a hand in running the security crews at a couple of places in Manhattan, remembered me from some work I’d done in the past, and hired me immediately. Relatively speaking, I got lucky.

Jim had known me since I was a kid. Like most people in my life, he was well aware of the fact that I was known to be “a little off” at times. He also knew me as a guy who showed up on time, never called in sick, ran to fights like a man possessed and, most importantly, wouldn’t steal a dime from anyone. My reputation in the little pond was solid.

None of that mattered when I started working in the city, however, because the job wasn’t even remotely similar to anything I’d done in the business. I’d never worked at a club before. All my bouncing experience had been in bars, so the “scene” was completely foreign to me. I’d never even been to a club as a customer. I knew nothing about any of it – the DJs, the promoters, the doormen, the “club kids” and all the rest. My first night of work was the first time I’d ever set foot in a real New York nightclub, and the whole thing was one big, fat, fucking sensory overload.

So I started writing about it, though not in blog form at first. Most of my initial “entries” were emails to friends of the “you wouldn’t believe what the fuck I saw last night” variety. After a few weeks of these, someone told me what a blog was, and I created this site and started posting here – sitting at the same desk and working at the same computer I’m using right now.

After work some nights, like I’m doing right now.

I was hardly thinking about a book back then, believe me. I didn’t consider myself a “writer,” and neither, most likely, did anyone else. What I really wanted was to get all my material in one place, and maybe try and use it to get laid or something if I could. And yes, that is exactly what I had in mind.

That’s pretty much why we do anything, is it not?

I posted here for eighteen months without anyone other than people I knew reading anything I wrote. For well over a year, the sole purpose of the blog was to provide a few of my friends with shit to talk about at the bar on the Friday nights I didn’t work.

“Hey, did that Guido really rip his shirt off and challenge you to a dance fight?”

“Yes, he did.”

“Ha. That’s very funny.”

Then I made Gawker and everything changed…

Monday, July 30, 2007


I think I have to become something of a self-promoter now, starting this week, because the book hits stores on August 14th. This is somewhat uncomfortable for me, because a self-promoter is something I’m decidedly not. Since I want the book to do at least fairly well, however, I’m supposing it would probably be a good idea to launch my big time marketing campaign right here on this site, where things got started in the first place.

First off, you can pre-order the book on my Amazon page if you want. If you’ve already done so, we’re probably related and I’ve already thanked you, so I’ll skip that part. Instead, for the benefit of those of you new to this site, I’ll try to explain what’s been going on here for the past three-plus years. This post will be fairly short because I don’t have loads of time at the moment, but I’ll write significantly more on the subject as the week goes on.

I’ll be posting new developments both here and on my Myspace page if anyone gives a rat’s ass. I have a few New York appearances in the works, and I’ll announce them soon on both sites.

Four years ago, things weren’t going very well for me financially. I was trying to figure out what the fuck I wanted to do with my life while living way above my means in an apartment I could barely afford -- with the requisite $500 Olds Cutlass parked out front. My landlord was a douche who’d only call me at 8:30 on Sunday mornings, and only to complain. Never to help. I hated my life.

“Robert, I came by on Friday afternoon but I couldn’t get into your apartment. I noticed you changed the deadbolt and didn’t give me a key.”

“Yeah, I did. Want to know why?”


“Because you’re supposed to tell me when you need to get into my apartment, and you never do. This way, by changing the lock, I can hear about it before you need to get in instead of after.”

Everything sucked back then, relatively speaking. All I ever did was work, but I had absolutely nothing to show for it because I wasn’t making jack shit due to a brutal combination of shitty decision making, poor career choices and a lifetime of not living up to anyone’s expectations. Or my own potential. Take your pick. You reach a certain age and it simply doesn’t matter anymore, because everyone’s sick and tired of offering their guidance. If you haven’t “gotten it” by you’re mid-twenties, you’re not getting it, period.

All I knew was that I needed more cash immediately, so I called “Jim Hughes,” a family friend who owned a couple of bars in my old neighborhood. I’d done bouncing work for Jim off and on since high school, but hadn’t spoken to him about a job in over ten years. This was because I’d already soured on bar work once before, and never really planned on going back. Bar money was just as green as any other kind, however, so I decided to take advantage of one of the few unburned bridges I’d left behind.

What I really hadn’t expected was an offer to work in Manhattan, but since Jim’s place was about to go out of business, that’s what he came up with for me. My timing, for better or for worse, was perfect.

So, just like that, three days after I decided I needed a second job, I was on my way into the city to stand on a box. As I’d eventually come to find out, things tend to move rather quickly in the nightclub business…

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Sorry for the lack of new posts lately. I've pretty much been working every night of the week for the past month, and free time is something I haven't had much of.

This situation, however, is showing signs of potential improvement.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Every time I’m involved in - or privy to inside information about - something that makes the newspapers, the version of the story that appears in print bears absolutely no resemblance to what actually happened.

Every single fucking time. Facts are confused, names are misspelled, and locations and names of places are never listed correctly.

Why is that?

Friday, July 20, 2007


“Attention passengers. This station is Kew Gardens-Union Turnpike*. Kew Gardens-Union Turnpike station will be the last stop on this train due to track work. Transfer here for connections to the F train and a shuttle train to Sutphin Boulevard.”

The doors slid open and a mass of dispirited humanity filed off the train, our soon-to-be-more-comfortable reverie interrupted by the news of an entirely unwelcome transfer. I reached between my legs, scooped my backpack by the loop stitched to the top and carried it, suitcase-style, out to the platform with the rest of the disenfranchised souls who’d boarded the train, miles back down the line, with no knowledge of “track work” or a disrupted “weekend repair schedule.”

I made a beeline for my customary subway standing-spot, leaning against one of the support columns that run along the track. You think differently about subway pushers when you’ve actually seen one. I have. When I was twelve years old, I was waiting for a train with my cousin when a man pushed another man off the platform. There hadn’t been a train coming, and some people jumped down to help him get off the track. Some other people chased down the pusher and kicked him in the face so he’d be unconscious when the cops arrived. In Manhattan, they’d surround subway pushers and wait for John Law. In the outer boroughs, people kicked them in the face. New York in the eighties.

Vigilante justice notwithstanding, I’ve long been in the habit of looking for danger when trains are about to pass.

I leaned against the column with my weight on my heels to prevent people from pulling me away and throwing me in front of the next train. I’ve been thinking about these things on subway platforms for twenty years, and my heels are my defense. When I feel the breeze of an oncoming train in my face – it hits you just before you can see the lights down the tunnel – I know to brace myself, and when I brace myself I know I’m not going to die under the wheels.

The effort had me sweating.

Twenty minutes of post-sitting later, another E train pulled in, and another luggage-laden throng of frustrated travelers spilled onto the platform, their JFK-on-time dreams trapped in the jaws of a living, breathing MTA cluster-fuck which, judging by the stale, unmoving air in the station, didn’t seem likely to end anytime soon.

“I want to know what the fuck is goin’ on down here!”

There was shouting. I turned around. An African-American woman with a navy blue scarf on her head and a stroller in tow had confronted the train’s conductor, who stood stoically in his compartment, window open, listening until he could leave.

“Why ain’t these motherfuckin’ trains stoppin’ at the nex’ three stops?”

“They’re doin’ track work, ma’am,” replied the conductor, palms turned placatingly upward. “You got to transfer to the F when it comes.”

“This is bull-SHIT! I got to stand down here with my child, in this heat, and you motherfuckers don’ tell nobody that the motherfuckin’ trains ain’t stoppin’ at Parsons?”

“I’m sorry you’re inconvenienced, ma’am. All I can tell you is that you got to transfer to the F. That’ll take you to Parsons.”

The woman sucked her teeth. “Why you can’t take me to Parsons in this train?”

“Because I’m just doin’ what I’m told, ma’am.”

“Well, why you can’t tell nobody that before they get on the motherfuckin’ train in the first place, n---a?”

The conductor was a black man. “I’m sorry, ma’am. I can’t do anything for you. You just got to get on the F when it comes in.”

“You goin’ that way. You goin’ to the yard, an’ you got to go past Parsons, an’ you can’t take all these motherfuckin’ people where they got to go? You a asshole!”

“Oh, I’m a ass-HOLE? You’re the one standin’ here makin’ a ass out of YOUR-self in front of YOUR child, bitch! What the fuck you want me to do, HIJACK THE MOTHERFUCKIN’ TRAIN?!?”

*This may or may not be correct. I wasn’t paying much attention at the time.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Why can’t short guys just be short guys?

I wouldn’t want to be a short guy, but it seems to me there’s nothing particularly wrong with being a short guy, other than the fact that you maybe can’t reach things in your house without standing on a chair. There’s nothing really wrong with standing on chairs to reach things, either, because one does what one has to do in order to accomplish what one needs to accomplish.

It also seems to me that if you shoot yourself full of steroids, fall asleep in the tanning booth, then walk around with your chest puffed out in the style of the New York Napoleonic short guy, you’re calling exponentially more attention to the fact that you’re a short guy than you would by simply leading the quiet, non-confrontational existence of the common short guy. We need more common short guys in New York. We need less Napoleonic ones.

You’re short, you’re bald, you’re loud, you’re stupid, you dress like a retard and you’re wearing too much jewelry. This is why you have to give girls cocaine in order to get laid.

Every club in New York is packed to the rafters with these little rooster fellas, and bouncers can’t stand them. Women don’t seem to like them much, either. On any given night, they constitute at least 40-50% of the male population in the room. I don’t like them because they’re at the club. I don’t think they should be at the club. They should be home reading books, practicing proper diction and learning some manners instead of wasting their time trying to impress people by inhaling deeply and pretending they have excessively developed upper back muscles.

Maybe if they had something to say and could say it properly, in context, with the requisite measure of decorum, these New York Napoleonic short guys could actually talk women into taking their clothes off and leaving their vaginas undefended. I can’t say with absolute certainty whether this is indeed the case, but it seems to work fairly well for those of us who don’t feel the need to overcompensate twenty-four hours a day.

I called someone “Napoleon” tonight after dragging him out of a lounge by the throat. I dragged him by the throat because he was “talking shit.” He was a head shorter than me. He told me he was going to “fuck” me “up,” so I needed to show him, immediately, that such an act was not within the range of his physical capabilities. He waited until I walked back inside, then told me I was “lucky.”

Only in the genetic sense, I suppose.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Doing a smattering of bouncing work in some new places – summer favors for friends in the business – has made me think about a few things I hadn’t really taken the time to consider in quite a while. In a while refers to the three-plus years I just spent as a member of a nightclub bouncing staff’s so-called “in” crowd. Sometimes, when you’re “in,” you tend to forget what it was like to be “out.”

Since I’ve been writing this blog, I have, without fail, stood up for bouncers at damned near every possible occasion. I’ve tried to let you see the “profession” through my eyes: as a second job taken by decent people for the purpose of making more money than we would by relying solely on our primary incomes.

I started bouncing strictly for the money. A little over four years ago, I needed more of it, so I returned to the business after a fairly long absence. As much as I’ve complained about everything since coming back, I don’t regret doing so because bouncing, if you will, has been very, very good to me. I’ve made some friends I’ll be keeping for life, socked away more than my share of shakedown cash, and learned a shitload about myself, and about the world, in the process.

As things in my nightclub life have started to shift recently, however, I’ve figured a few things out, and one particular thing I’ve figured out may surprise those of you who’ve been reading this site for a while. Here it is:

Some bouncers are assholes.

So, yeah, I said it. Some of us are assholes. Not every bouncer is a nice guy. I’m not a particularly nice guy to the customers, but I’m always, to a fault, a nice guy to my fellow bouncers. I don’t posture, I don’t walk around the club flexing, and I don’t put anyone on the staff through any sort of “test” in order to win my respect – which, when you consider what we’re actually at the nightclub for in the first place, is just about as meaningless as it gets. Too many people in this profession don’t understand this, and it’s a shame. It gives the rest of us – the ones who simply want to take home an envelope filled with cash at the end of a peaceful night – a bad name.

The problem with me is that I sometimes fail to realize how good I have things until it’s too late. Or, maybe I realize how good I have it, but I don’t realize just how good “good” really was until “good” is gone and I’m stuck with whatever’s left. I can introduce you to about two dozen people who’d happily tell you that this is the story of my life.

See, some guys have never done anything in their miserable motherfucking lives. They’ve never done shit and they’ve never been shit, so they hit up some guy at the gym for a few vials of God-knows-what, stick a needle in their ass for half a year, and then go out looking for problems because they know they’ve been nothings since the day they were born and they’re stuck with something stupid to prove. Something they should’ve proven when they had the chance, but didn’t. The hard part for me comes when these dicks become bouncers, because they’re the ones with whom I’d rather not work.

I’ve had it made all this time – without really knowing it, of course - because the people I’ve worked for have historically avoided hiring bouncers who fit this description. When a juicehead would come down to the club looking for a job, management’s wheels would immediately begin to turn. Instead of hiring him immediately because of his size, they would, thankfully, put some thought into the matter:

Now, let’s look at this rationally. This gentleman has injected himself with steroids for an extended period of time in order to make himself look like a freak. Why has he done this? What are the underlying reasons behind this choice of his? Is a person who’d do this to himself really the sort of bouncer with whom we’d like to work?

The answer to this, invariably, was a resounding no. We didn’t need complexes and syndromes on our staff. What we needed were people who could get along with each other, so that’s what we hired: good, solid guys you wouldn’t think twice about inviting over your house to watch the Super Bowl. Guys you’d go out drinking with. Guys who’d help you carry a sofabed up a flight of stairs or give you an extra ticket to a playoff game. Guys you’d risk your own health to protect because you sincerely didn’t want anything to happen to them.

What I’ve evidently failed to realize all this time is that not every establishment thinks along these lines. They don’t stop to consider whether a new guy “fits in,” and after a while, as the good people bail out, what you’re left with is a staff full of asswipes who’d rather fight each other than protect the club owner’s investment, which is the only reason they were hired in the first place.

I’ve been spoiled. I’m willing to admit that now. I’ve been spoiled by the quality of the crews on which I’ve worked, and this, essentially, has soured me on working for anyone other than the people who originally hired me.


Because some bouncers, much as it pains me to admit it, really are assholes.

Monday, July 16, 2007


I had fully intended to start out a busy week of quality posting - yes, quality like the old days - with an irony-laden account of an observation I made at work recently.

This was before my glorious weekend was capped off by a rather poorly timed bit of car trouble that took place in a rather poorly situated locale.

So I'm pissed, and nobody gets a post until tomorrow. I guess you can all just watch some more Long Island shit for today:

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

More of the Same

"Neptunes" - Neptune Beach Club - is one of the primary reasons why I tend to avoid the Hamptons at all costs. This video will show you what transpires there. Take note of Gigantor Guido dancing during the first half of the clip. Six-foot-nine Guidos surface in clubs from time to time, and such sightings, rare as they are, never cease to amaze:

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


“This place is a fucking joke on weeknights,” she said, looking at me as some sort of compatriot in this God-awful Guido confinement mess we’d found ourselves in. She was there by choice, which made her less credible. I was there by dint of some misplaced sense of obligation, which made me stupid.

“I thought it was supposed to be good on weeknights and dead on Fridays and Saturdays.” I looked around and rubbed my forehead with the back of my wrist. I was sweating heavily. It sucked. “This is downright fuckin’ sad.”

“There’s so many girls in here, and all the guys are so shady. I hate this shit.”

You hate it? Try doin’ this shit without a drink.”

“Oh, honey,” she said, “you want something?”

“Nah, I’m good.”

“You sure? I could get you a glass of water or something.”

“No thanks,” I replied. “I get everything free here.”

“I don’t even know what we’re doing out tonight. I told my friend I didn’t want to come out, but she wanted to meet the guy she’s dancing with, and I’m stuck getting felt up by a room full of Guidos.”

“I don’t know if the problem is really the Guidos on a night like tonight. The ones that make me laugh are all these desperate divorced fucks walking around. That’s who comes out on Monday nights.”

“Forget the divorced ones,” she said. “It’s the desperate married fucks that make me sick.”

“Married ones?”

“Yeah. They take their fuckin’ rings off and hit on anything with a pair of tits.”

“How do you know they’re married?” I asked.

“It’s summer, honey. They all got fuckin’ tan lines.”

“On their ring fingers?”

“Look for it,” she said. “It’ll give you something to do.”

Monday, July 09, 2007


A reader emailed this, probably thinking I'd agree that Toronto's proposed "sidewalk tax," as outlined in the linked article, is as absurd as it sounds.

It's not.

Have you ever tried to walk down the sidewalk in a bar/club-heavy neighborhood during "peak" hours? What if you lived there? What if you had an apartment on one side of a nightclub district, needed something the other side, and had to wade through that mass of humanity in order to get there? Shouldn't somebody be made to pay for the inconvenience?

Friday, July 06, 2007


I'm "retiring" from one of my bouncing jobs this weekend. The money I'm making at this place simply isn't worth the hassle anymore, so the time has come to take my leave.

I don't have much to say about this right now, because it's the place where I started my second bouncing incarnation a little over four years ago and leaving, believe it or not, actually makes me sort of sad.

This club, over the years, has also employed some of the best crews of guys with whom I've ever worked at any job. I won't miss the customers, and I won't miss the club, but I'll miss the friends I've made and I hope I'll manage to stay in touch with some of them - preferably all of them, but we all know how life goes - for a long, long time.

I'll still be doing this job for a while - this hasn't ever been my only bouncing gig - so you'll still get the same sort of material here, but I can't let this pass without saying something.

Gentlemen, it's been a pleasure.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

My Gritty Day/Night Off

I watched Crash. This movie had it all – a terrific concept with a great storyline and magnificent acting.

But it sucked, and that’s a real shame. Could have been done a lot better. When you combine social commentary and gritty realism with implausible situations and unrealistic character reaction, what you’ll get is something in which I’ll lose interest every fifteen minutes or so.

Then I watched The Da Vinci Code and learned that cinematic mediocrity is a relative concept.

Now I would like to file a lawsuit in order to recover these four hours.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


I didn’t work this past weekend. I did relaxing things. These things included two strenuous workouts, a rented movie (Breach), and a long walk around lower Manhattan. This essentially means that I’m not in the mood to write about nightclubs, or the nightclub industry, or the state of the Guido collective with regard to New York’s perpetually evolving social dynamic.

Here instead, for anyone who gives a shit, is a list of the last ten books I’ve read:

1. You Don’t Love Me Yet, by Jonathan Lethem

2. The Mormon Murders, by Steven Naifeh and Gregory White

3. The Foreign Correspondent, by Alan Furst

4. Girl in Landscape, by Jonathan Lethem

5. Mormon America, by Richard N. Ostling and Joan K. Ostling

6. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald

7. The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand

8. Anthem, by Ayn Rand

9. Dead Eye Dick, by Kurt Vonnegut

10. The Adventures of Augie March, by Saul Bellow

I’m not including the two books by the author to whom I referred in a post two weeks ago, as I don’t want said post to be construed as a personal attack. It wasn’t.

Breach was very good, and held my attention for its entirety, but Chris Cooper wore too much makeup. Chris Cooper is one of my favorite actors, and I’m sure this excessive application of makeup was not his fault, but when a character in a movie looks like he has a fake face, I get upset and lose focus on what the filmmaker is trying to accomplish.

I am easily distracted.