Jess Farmery pits bouncer against bouncer as she tours the clubs.
It was a rainy Friday night when I set out on my mission – to delve into the mysterious lives of Cambridge bouncers. It was a novel, if somewhat underwhelming experience to tour the clubs whilst entirely sober, and I certainly felt a little out of place in my jeans and hoody as I skirted round hordes of drunk clubbers.
However, I did not let this deter me from my journalistic endeavours, and so fuelled by a nutritious snack from the Van of Life, I decided to track down and pester some door security until they agreed to be interviewed.
First stop was Lola Lo’s, which I had sworn never to return to after an unfortunate and highly embarrassing incident during Fresher’s week involving heavy rain and a costume constructed predominantly out of newspaper.
Desperately hoping that no one there possessed an uncanny ability to remember faces, I approached Bobby and Terry, two cheery guys who were more than happy to answer my questions.
They agreed that the best part of their job was the opportunity to meet and chat to a variety of people, and the worst was (predictably) dealing with ‘intoxicated’ and abusive clubbers.
Their ideal bouncer-superpowers would include the ability to shut people up, and the ability to persuade people to go home.
Bobby’s weirdest experience was a night when the club was mysteriously filled with dead fish, and Terry’s was an occasion when the entire lower-level became a sea of vomit after an ambitious chilli-eating challenge amongst a group of Freshers.
Feeling slightly ill at the thought of this, I asked them (somewhat apprehensively) about their opinions of Cambridge students. They concluded that townies and students were, shockingly, really very similar.
My next stop was Life, where I received a somewhat less enthusiastic response to my requests for an interview. Despite the fact that the queue was entirely non-existent at this point, and the main occupation of the bouncer seemed to be gossiping into his walkie-talkie, he refused to answer any questions on the grounds that I might use his words to generate a media scandal and get him fired.
I was left feeling that he may been under the illusion that he was working at Boujis with a confidentiality contract, when in reality I doubt Prince Wills has even paid Sunday night Life a visit.
Undeterred, I headed to Cindies, where after a somewhat frosty initial reception, my charm and charisma (and some subtle ego-stoking) won round Jack and Robert. They revealed that the positive aspects of their job were plentiful, and admitted that their power was slightly addictive. The only negatives were breaking up fights, as Robert told me that secretly he was a big softie, and a “lover not a fighter”.
I asked them about their most memorable experience, then instantly regretted it when they told me that it was finding a couple having sex on the floor of the toilets covered in urine and faeces.
The atmosphere became a little awkward when they told me that they thought students were jumped up twats who thought they were God’s gift. Their subsequent reassurances that they ‘didn’t judge’ were slightly unconvincing. I wondered if I should leap to the defence of student-kind, but then realised that they very much had a point, and thought it best to hastily thank them and say goodbye.
As I returned to college I passed a group of my friends breaking away from convention and heading out (on a Friday?!). They had clearly somewhat over-indulged on the after-dinner port, and I found myself feeling strangely empathetic with for Bobby, Terry, Jack, Robert, or who-ever would have to deal with them later that night.
As I headed to my room, I felt I had learned a great deal about the intriguing career choice of bouncing.