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Gawker, Clubbing and the Wisdom of Road House

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On the eve of the release of the thinly veiled exposé novel Clublife: Thugs, Drugs, and Chaos at New York City's Premier Nightclubs, we exchanged some words with the terse, jaded and ultimately enlightening author, Rob the Bouncer (née Robert Fitzgerald). The long-anonymous blogger has finally surfaced, if only for a brief moment, to share a peek behind the velvet ropes and confirm what you probably already knew: It's hard out there for a bouncer.

UD: Which clubs did you work at?
RF:
I'm not going to answer that.

UD: Can you hint?
RF:
No. Absolutely not.

UD: Is everything real?
RF: It's real life but with all the names changed. The club is a composite of three to four different places I worked. If anybody works in the clubs, the minute they read the book they'll know exactly who I'm talking about.

UD: How did you get the idea to write this book?
RF: When I first started bouncing, the whole thing was new to me—I hadn't been around club culture or anything like that. One of my friends said I should start a blog. I didn't know what a blog was but I started doing it, and I had the blog going for a year and a half before Gawker picked it up, and that day I had 20-30 emails from literary agents. It all happened in one day.

UD: Any other nightlife personalities whose books you'd want to read?
RF: Do I have a gun to my head? There are bouncers I work with who can probably write a better book, but they just can't put the sentences together.

UD: What did you want to be when you grew up? Did you want to be a bouncer?
RF:
Yeah, ever since I was a little kid I dreamed of standing in a pack of Guidos.

UD: Which clubgoing archetype did you despise the most?
RF:
The number one douchebags would be the Guidos. Or it could be the guy who's some midlevel investment banker, thinks he's way more important than he is. He walks up to the door, not making eye contact with anybody, tells you he has to have a bottle and a table, can't hold his liquor, has two drinks, then all of the sudden starts throwing sh*t, getting in fights—you have to throw them out, then they tell you they pay your salary and know the owner. It's a never-ending cycle of douchebags.

UD: Where is the worst NY scene?
RF:
(laughs) Anyplace on 27th or 28th Street.

UD: How has the club world changed from when you first started working in it?
RF:
A bunch of scumbags, a new generation of people with no manners, no decorum. They don't know how to say please, thank you or excuse me, they have no concept of personal space. They're doing way more drugs and just getting way more f***ed up than they used to.

UD: Is the amount of drug use in the city getting better or worse?
RF:
Uh, it's probably getting worse. Seems like everybody's on something. A lot of coke, a lot of Special K—it almost seems like every guy is on steroids.

UD: OK, you've obviously seen Road House? You versus Dalton, who wins?
RF: Oh him, are you kidding me? Dalton would kick my ass left, right and center and then he would dance. You can't beat Dalton.

UD: Did you have a bouncer mantra?
RF:
Yeah: This place sucks and I want to go home.

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