Wednesday, 1 August 2012
Talking to the man on the door
He was a Royal Marine ("I was in Northern Ireland - Springfield Barracks in 1979. Now that was scary!"). As a doorman he's been stabbed twice ("Both times by women. You're getting the guy under control, the girl-friend comes up behind you with the knife"). He had just one incident with a gun: "I was in one area, got the word there'd been a guy in another place had been shot in the legs. So I sprint round this corner and there he is, ten yards off, shotgun pointed straight at me." What'd he do? "Guy looked at me, says 'I don't want no aggro - no dog in the fight with you, mate. I done what I come here to do'. And he puts the gun over his shoulder and walks off into the night, like Davy Crockett".
Why does he put himself in mortal danger with this kind of thing - whether in the Marines or as a bouncer? "No, not any camaraderie or that sort of stuff. Tell you the truth, it gives me a buzz, You're right there in the moment, when it happens, ain't you? Doesn't happen that often, but when it does, you feel this, how am I going to say, you feel this concentration".
I don't tell him Dr Johnston's line about the prospect of being hanged concentrating the mind wonderfully. And I don't ask him about his experiences in Springfield Road and the north generally. Maybe that's why I find myself sort of liking him. There's something child-like as well as hard man about him - he looks himself like a dog that's been in a few fights and wouldn't mind a few more. Has he a political thought in his head? Not beyond a Sun editorial, I'd say. And I think how the British armed forces, and the US armed forces, and armies throughout the world feed the Malcolms a few comforting line about patriotism, and off they go anywhere they're sent, because it's better'n sittin' at home flickin' channels on the telly, innit?