Book Review – Clublife by Rob the Bouncer

ClublifeEvery once in a while I go through my old bookmarks and this time, just like when digging around in the attic, I found something special. By clicking around, I came upon “Clublife” blog, written by (now) a former NY bouncer who was working at the time in several major “megaclubs”. Rob is still writing his blog, which was a bit of a sensation at the time and got him a book deal. 

Here are a few excerpts from the book

“I don’t know where the world keeps nightclub customers when they’re not drinking and dancing, because I don’t see people like them anywhere else but inside. Before I became a bouncer, I hadn’t seen people like that walking the streets, at least not in such overwhelming numbers. Originally, I thought maybe they all lived at the club, but now I’m sure they don’t, because I see them all leave at the end of the night. Clearing the room at closing time—four a.m. here in New York—is part of my job, so if they really did live there, I’d know. ”

“Bouncing’s like anything else—you learn it only by doing…   I figured out how to assert myself with everyone—even people I wouldn’t ordinarily fuck with. I found that I could talk just about anybody out of anything—even people who wouldn’t otherwise give me the time of day because I was a bouncer. The title, along with the big, block-lettered staff sign across the back of my shirt, seemed to make people listen. When they didn’t, all I needed to do was get behind them and choke them until they did. There’s a ratio you eventually learn: the harder you work to obstruct a drunk’s breathing, the wider their ears seem to open.”

“A thumb to the eye is one of those moves that will elicit an immediate instinctive reaction from the recipient. Another is a kick to the testicles. When someone kicks you in the nuts, it hurts like a motherfucker, and the first thing you’ll do is vomit, profusely. Likewise, when someone sticks his thumb in your eye, you’ll swing. Trust me on this one. There’s no thought process involved when something’s in your eye, especially when that something is another man’s thumb.”

Rob had spent a few years making very decent money standing by VIP lounge and eventually, the coveted cash spot, the door, where people who want to squeeze past the line have a few extra twenties in their palm. The book is an easy read unless you are not fond of about a dozen of F-words on every page and buckets of sarcasm used to describe the regular club-goers.  The description of relationship between bouncers was interesting too – the same kind of camaraderie that exists between soldiers on the front line – in a lesser extent, of course and marred somewhat by who is making what kind of cash where.

I think it would have been more interesting if Rob had actually maybe tried to dance once or twice himself – just to see what people go to the clubs for! Again, a little less sarcasm and a few more sympathetic and humourous observations of fellow human beings would have made a more lasting impression on me.  Overall, I am glad I hyper-clicked my way to it, and it’s at least worth digital “leafing through” on

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1 Response

  1. Ðørsun says:

    Hey Natalia, for more on the life of bouncers, you’ve gotta check out Geoff Thompson (UK). I’ll post links in a new article.

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