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Friday, July 2

Tales From The Other Side Of The Bar

I started my new job properly on Tuesday evening, at Y. Thanfully I managed to avoid the Tube strike by about half an hour, and was able to get their on time. Getting anywhere on time is a good achievement for me, so I'm quite pleased that I was able to do it on my first day at a new job. Make a good impression, and all that.

mY (see earlier post) wasn't there, since there was the Pub of the Year awards in Birmingham or something, but her lovely assistant amY (assistant manager at Y, not Amy...) was able to show me the ropes. She'd been there since 6.30 in the morning, which in anyone's books is a fucking long day's work, so she disappeared upstairs to her apartment pretty swiftly, leaving me to my own devices.

I prefer working that way, exploring my way round the bar and its many intricacies. Operating the till would be the one thing that immediately springs to mind when considering ways in which this pub is different from my old one. As I've said before, I've been used to adding all of the numbers up in my head before asking for the money, but now I just hit the buttons on the till which correspond to each drink. Less room for mistakes, I guess, but less interesting.

I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed myself for the 5 1/2 hours that I was there. It was a lot quieter than it apparently usually is, due to the Tube strike that evening, but I still had enough to do to keep me occupied for most of the evening. A few people were there who were evidently regulars, and I chatted away with them between serving other customers.

They all seemed like really nice, cool people, and I'm quite content to chat away with them most nights I'm there. One is a typical Essex-boy, loud, brash and up for a laugh. He's really good to crack a joke with, and has a similar sense of humour to mine.

Another was a Geordie lass who now lives down here. She was telling me and S, the Essex guy, about when she used to work back in Newcastle as a host for wedding receptions on a moored ship. There was this one hilarious story of how her boss, an Italian, mafia-esque guy, scared the shit out of a student they'd caught ripping something off the walls. He took him to a room, got a bouncer to stand guard, and then came back in with a water pistol that looked very real, before proceeding to ham up his "mafia" performance ("you disreshpectin' me?", etc).

He had to keep leaving the room to avoid laughing and giving the game away, and whilst he was out, the bouncer was laying it on thick, saying how the boss was crazy and dangerous. Finally, as the boss left the room in what seemed like an absolute rage, the bouncer said to the guy that he wasn't getting involved, but didn't want anybody shot on his watch, so the guy should just run.

A, the Geordie storyteller, said that she'd never seen anyone move so fast, and that the guy ran as fast as he could all the way down the pier and along the quayside until he was out of sight of the boat.

That's a fucking genius way to deal with someone, and absolutely hilarious. What made it even better was that the Italian boss had a big scar running from his forehead, down the side of his nose and across his cheek. Can you imagine someone like that going crazy at you, whilst holding what looks like a pistol? Fuck that for a game of soldiers.

As the night drew to a close, and the pub got emptier and emptier, I found myself chatting to a genteel old guy for a half hour or so. He was telling me about his trips to the West coast of Ireland, and how different it is from London. We also talked about the smoking ban they have over there (remember, I'm a vehemnent anti-smoker), and how even bar staff can be fined 2000 if someone sparks up whilst they are working. Shit, I knew that barstaff can be fined for serving underage drinkers, but it's not that high, as far as I know. 2000 for letting someone smoke in your pub?! That's a lot of overtime to pay that off.

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Meh, I've lost my train of thought. I'll write some more once I get back from work tonight, my 3rd shift in 4 days. My parents will be proud...

I still expect them to nag though.


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