The zen of hospitality

A few weeks ago, I landed myself a job in a grimy, noisy bar/music venue on Brunswick Street. I think it might be the best job I’ve ever had. It pays pretty well, we play whatever music we like, as loudly as we like and we have a lot of fun. I was welcomed by my peers and superiors alike with open arms, very quickly becoming one of the family. And what a family! Not only have I never worked in an environment quite like this, but I’ve never even seen this kind of thing before: the family includes the bar regulars.

The only experience I have had with bar flies in Perth was at the Hydey. The regulars there are well known to everyone who frequents the venue- those old dudes with their beanies and beards, quietly drinking and keeping to themselves. It was all I’d seen, so it was all I knew. But with a big population comes a wider variety of people, and in an atmospheric bar in a well known night-spot area close to the city, it makes sense that the type of person who frequents a bar is different to the type that has the same desire to drink away their problems in sleepy little Perth.

The relationships forged between the regulars and the staff at my new work place are, in all likelihood, founded on mutual respect- we all drink a lot of booze, and we all drink it often. The obvious difference is that they have to pay for it, and we get paid to do it. At first I felt a little guilty about that, but I quickly came to realize that it’s not as bad as it could be. Imagine working in a bottle shop. You’d get some brutal alcoholics in there, and they’d come back every day, and you would know that they’re going straight home to get shit faced alone. No one to keep them company, no conversation, no jokes, no fun. Unless they have a television. That would probably keep them company. I find that just as depressing though. But maybe they don’t? I don’t know. It’s not really my business.

But I respect the new alcoholic members of my family, because even though they have fallen into a horrible addictive cycle of what is essentially self harm, they have the courage, or simply the personality, to do with style, without hurting anyone else.

It might not be the most politically correct view point to have, but after falling into this industry a few years ago, and turning out to be good at it, I’ve learnt to have an attitude that makes the job easier on my sanity. And if I can get to know some interesting people in the process, it’s win-win isn’t it? I think so. And I think they do too.