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REVEALED: Bouncer's life of drugs, drunks, death threats

TOUGH GIG: Former Toowoomba bouncer Peter has opened up about the shocking things he has seen on the job.
TOUGH GIG: Former Toowoomba bouncer Peter has opened up about the shocking things he has seen on the job. Rob Williams

A FORMER Toowoomba bouncer has opened up about drugs, drunks and death threats while working in security. 

THE BEGINNING - IT'S NOT LIKE THE MOVIES

IT'S his first week on the job and Peter's adrenaline is flowing.

Yesterday was his 18th birthday. The nerves are building but so is the excitement.

It's late but if he's going to stick with his new job as a bouncer late nights are something he's going to have to learn to deal with.

Everything's going well in the first few hours. He's putting on a tough façade and people are buying it.

That is until someone swings a pool cue at his head.

That was Peter's* first taste of what can go wrong as a bouncer.

His first thought? "It's not like the movies."

Since then, three years have passed and Peter is a changed man.

He's been punched, spat on, attacked with knives, threatened by bikies, glassed and had numerous death threats, both on the job and from those who recognise his face in the street.

Now 21 the young man is back living in Ipswich after stints in Brisbane CBD and Toowoomba.

"Three weeks in I kicked three youths out right on close.

"They didn't want to finish their drinks and they were quite violent," he said.

"I got them out, closed the doors, walked around the corner and they had just slashed the last of my tyres.

"One ran. The other two stayed, they both had knives and came at me with the intent to kill. You don't have time to feel anything. It's after that it all hits you.

"It was full on."

Windows smashed, panels dinted and tyres deflated, his car was a write-off.

Now he doesn't park anywhere near venues.

"From that moment I changed as a person, completely," he said.

The hands of this Ipswich bouncer have been glassed, bitten and broken.
The hands of this Ipswich bouncer have been glassed, bitten and broken. Rob Williams

'I'M NOT A VIOLENT PERSON. I JUST HAPPEN TO BE GOOD AT IT'

SURPRISING as it may be to some, Peter doesn't consider himself a violent person, just someone who has had to do violent things for work.

"Once I got someone's tooth stuck in my hand and I had to pull it out and give it back to him," he said.

"There was a 20-girl fight in an Ipswich club and I grabbed a girl and said 'Come on, love' and she bit down on my hand.

"I had to get tests done but they came back clear.

"I've had people put cigarettes out on me. But that's just part of it.

"We're not people, just the a**holes who didn't let them in."

Peter loves his job but life as a bouncer has severely impacted his personal life.

He's been verbally and physically abused in shopping centres, including Riverlink.

"It's hard to maintain relationships. I don't really have close friends any more. I keep to myself, it's easier," he said.

"I was going out with this one girl and we'd been dating for five weeks. We were driving through the city and this guy who I'd thrown out two weeks prior tried to run us off the road.

"That was the end of that."

The most important thing Peter's learned over three years is people skills.

"I learned sometimes you have to be as nice as possible. I can't deal with a 50kg girl the same as I would to a group of guys," he said.

"I haven't punched anybody in a year and a half and it's so much easier."

Peter sees people on party drugs almost every night but says those using meth are the most dangerous.
Peter sees people on party drugs almost every night but says those using meth are the most dangerous.

PUB, CLUB DRUG CULTURE 'FULL ON' ON IPSWICH

ONE of the biggest problems in the clubbing scene according to Peter, is drugs.

"You deal with 600 pill poppers in one place. It's not bad if it's just one or two but when there is 600 of the same person it's hard," he said.

"One girl was jabbed with a meth needle and she overdosed. She was biting me, thrashing around. I carried her out of the venue. She ended up surviving and her mother tried to sue me.

"The venue was great and said if I hadn't have grabbed her daughter she would've died."

He described the drug culture in Ipswich as full on.

"The meth heads are full on. They're different to the pill poppers I see in places like Springfield because they just want to fight everyone," he said.

"One of the strongest bouncers I know here in Ipswich had a 50kg guy on meth. I had one arm and another bouncer had the other arm and we still couldn't restrain him.

"That's scary."

After dealing with drunk people all the time, Peter tries to avoid alcohol.

"In my first year, I drank a fair bit. It helped but now I rarely do," he said.

"When it comes to drugs, I find there are three different worlds in nightclubs. There is what you see when you go out, what bouncers see and the managers and the entire drug world behind managers and staff.

"There's cocaine, there's heroin. If police were to crackdown on bar tenders and managers, you'd be shocked. It's full on."

The most rewarding part of his job is helping vulnerable people get home safe.
The most rewarding part of his job is helping vulnerable people get home safe. Gordon McComiskie, Daily Telegraph,

DEATHS OF THE JOB - 'YOU BLAME YOURSELF'

PETER has seen two other overdoses in his time as a bouncer. Both those people died.

"I didn't even know them. On the way home walking back to my car I saw feet in the bushes," he said.

"He was shaking and I rolled him on his side, grabbed a first aid kit from my car and called the ambulance.

"He died with my hands on him. He was about 20 and homeless. The other person was almost in the exact same situation four weeks later. He was only 36.

"That changes you when you've got an hour trip home back to Ipswich on the highway. You think about what you could have done. Could I have left work five minutes earlier? Could I have taken a different route. You blame yourself."

The 21-year-old said despite the constant violence, horrible pay and late nights which encompass his job, he couldn't see himself doing anything else.

"When a girl is too intoxicated, you've got to take her out. I sit with her, find her friends and we'll all find her a way home together," he said.

"Every single time they say thank you. Helping people is what makes it worth it."

While police will be monitoring outside the 2018 Commonwealth Games, private companies are being contracted to undertake internal security.

Peter has already been contacted to be part of the 4000-strong army of private security guards working at the Games.

"I want to be in this industry forever. I'm going to study a Bachelor of Counter Terrorism. That's what I want to do," he said.

*Not his real name.

Topics:  bouncer clubbing editors picks ipswich nightlife


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