When I was 17 I used to go out in Birmingham on a Friday and Saturday night. And I'm pretty certain that back then, way back then, in 1993, drinks weren't as cheap as they are in my new place of work.
You can get a vodka mixer for £1. ONE POUND. And on Thursday and Saturday nights you get a free shot with that vodka mixer. So that's 50p a drink. Mental. Also the reason that at the end of a shift, as I discovered tonight, you can find the staff sluicing vomit out of the toilets. In fact, by the sounds of it, if it's only in the toilets then it's a good night.
It's been a long time since I was a hard drinker. But, man, I haven't seen people drink like this in years. It's borderline terrifying. And they just don't stop. On and on until they can't even get their drunken, saliva sodden lips around the words: "Vodka and lemonade."
And the anger and sheer disbelief when the bar shuts at 2.30am is tres amusing. Not so amusing is that, during after shift drinks, while discussing piercings, we realised that the last piercing I had (in 1993 - my nose, since you ask) was in the same year that one of my new colleagues was born. I could literally be her mother.
I'm not sure how I keep ending up behind a bar, but it does feel like my natural home in many ways. And so much more honest than many jobs I've had. People come in. People give me a pound. I give them booze. That's it. No power games. No politics. No trying to please people who just won't ever be pleased.
True, it's 5am and I don't see sleep happening any time soon. And I was slightly worried about walking home as a group of disgruntled, and very drunks, assholes spent a good 15 minutes trying to kick the door in after we closed. I'm covered in that unnamed sticky film that just happens when working in any kind of a bar or club. It's not just booze. It's like you soak in all the noxious gases emanating from people by osmosis. It feels like it'd be quite nice to soak in a bath of bleach right now.
There just seems to be a pattern emerging here, maybe dark and dingy clubs and pubs are my natural habitat. And now that I'm too old to get as wasted as perhaps I used to, maybe working in them is what's always going to happen. I'll most likely end up at 60 years old serving shots to embryos.
Still, it's at least 5,000 times more enjoyable than my last job.