Monday, 12 May 2014

Cold Rosie , or Why I'm Such a Bitch at Work

This is not, by far, the first time I've had an online whinge about being a barmaid. I probably lose 2-3 Facebook friends every time I post a status about yet another rude customer, a bad shift, a drink being spilled down me. I'll try and make this blog entry one final attempt to appeal to anyone who suspects they may be a bit of an arsehole to those who work in a public service. If you like a drink or ten in your local boozer, please read on and take note.

Before I launch into a giant rant about the irritating personal quirks of most of the people I encounter on a daily basis, it's probably worth mentioning that a few years ago, I was actually quite a tolerant person. I'm talking a good 6 to 7 years back. I was naive, friendlier, younger (obviously) - in fact, too young to be working behind a bar, and generally thought that the world was a nice place where people smile when they talk to you or say hello in the street. Joan Cusack summed it up perfectly in School of Rock when she said "I wasn't always like this, y'know. I wasn't always wound this tight. There was a time when I was FUN. I was FUNNY!". Years of being spoken to like an android whose only purpose is to get you pissed, combined with the sleep deprivation that comes with being the mother of a cheeky one year old, have turned me into a moody, awkward, sarcastic barmaid that you're probably a bit wary of ordering a drink from.

As well as this, I want to make it clear that's it not the job I hate as a whole. Working for my dad has tons of perks. I love taking Dylan into the pub on my days off and having lunch. I love that all the food is vegetarian. I love that you don't get yelled at for being 5 minutes late (which I always am). I love that I can be working and having a chat with my family and friends at the same time. A customer once said to me as I served him halfway through my lunch break, "It'd be a great job if it wasn't for us punters, eh love?". He's exactly right. About 10% of the people we serve are actually lovely. Most of them are regulars. It's just the other 90% that make me want to cut them. There's a list as long as my arm of all the things I hate about these people. Even though I've probably mentioned all of them before, here they are again all in one place (deep breath):

Not saying please and thank you (seriously?! How have you got this far in life without getting punched in the face, or at the very least being given a stern talking to?). Shouting your drink order. Shouting it when we're not even looking at you. Waving your money at us. Saying 'I've been here half an hour' when it's blatantly obvious you haven't. Saying 'serve me next' like a toddler demanding juice from their mummy. Leaning over the till. Wanting to talk about inane bullshit like gig posters or what band's on next when the bar's 4 deep. Complaining about the price of the beer. Complaining that we don't do Fosters or Stella or Carlsberg. Getting annoyed when we ID you. Trying to get away with not having ID. Insisting on speaking to Dave or Fi when they're busy about something we know we can deal with personally. Doing drugs in the toilets. Knocking over your pint. I could go on. I will.

Shouting over the top of live music. Complaining about the music. Asking us to turn the music up when we're in the middle of serving someone. Asking ANYTHING about someone non-drink related when we're serving someone else (unless of course it's something like 'can you call an ambulance?' or 'where are the toilets please?'). Putting your drinks on the piano or the pulpit. Making shit jokes about the pulpit. Making shit jokes about how quiet it is during the week (usually accompanied with a charade of struggling to get through a mass of people). Making shit jokes about how we're unapproachable if you interrupt us eating. Ordering another round of drinks when you have three quarters left of your current drink. Mumbling your drink order so we have to ask you to repeat yourself about 5 times. Mumbling something completely incoherent, then when we take a stab at what you're asking for, saying 'yes', then saying that's not what you ordered once we've already poured it.

Sound familiar?

I know that these things are just part of the deal of being a bartender. Please don't read this then approach me at the bar and then take the piss out of me for stating the obvious.Sadly, such is my frustration with the wankers that do the above, that I just about can't stand anyone. I hate that some customers shout their drink order before I'm ready to serve them, and on the other hand, hate it when they just kind of stand there and stare at you until you ask if they need serving. I hate that some of them list their drinks one by one, and that some reel off about 25 drinks at once and expect me to remember them all. I particularly hate those that turn up before we've even opened and stay until the very last bell, by which point they're too drunk to speak or stand. And I REALLY hate that most of them probably think my moodiness is down to hormones or boyfriend trouble or something. It's YOU, you fucking morons.

Try not to take this too personally, though. If you are taking offence at anything I've written, can you ask yourself why? I don't want to strike any nerves, but if you're reading this and thinking 'Hey, is she talking about me here?', then I probably am. Maybe you could do your bit to make our lives as bar staff that little bit easier. I used to love my job. I'm not financially ready to look for another one, before anyone suggests that. Think before you drink, yeah?

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

2014 - year of the Dylan

At the end of every year since I was self-indulgent enough to do such a thing, I have a look on my Facebook timeline at all the photos I've taken and statuses I've written over the year, and years before that, and whether what I see makes me happy, nostalgic, confused (if I was drunk) or embarrassed (also if I was drunk), ultimately, I feel sad. Usually it's because there are people in the photos at the beginning of the year that I've fallen out of contact with and haven't made it to the photos at the end. Sometimes it's just because I see a necklace or a top or something that I haven't seen in ages and I think 'where the hell has that gone?'. Over all, it's just because I'm aware of how quickly the year's passed, and how much has changed in such a short space of time.

When I did this at the end of 2013, I was mostly looking at photos of Dylan as a newborn baby. That DID make me feel weepy. Watching him grow has been the fastest transition I've ever experienced. He went from being a tiny little bundle I could cradle in my arms, to a bonny, bouncing tot pulling himself up on furniture and squishing food into the carpet in what felt like a matter of days. He'll be 1 soon, and that's really scary. It's amazing watching him learn - desperately trying to crawl, playing with his stacking cups , saying 'mum' and 'dad' - but with each new stage, you leave behind a piece of their babyhood, and that makes me sad.

I also used to go into the new year thinking 'right, THIS year is the one' (as I'm sure many people do). I'd resolve to finally lose weight, pass my driving test, learn to cook, do more writing, pluck my eyebrows more often and put my clothes away instead of on the floor. Up until last year, I never even came close to doing a single one of those things. I'd start a food diary, then have a Nando's on day 4 and scribble the words 'SHIT' "WELL DONE YOU IDIOT' and 'MUST TRY HARDER TOMORROW' all over it. They make for quite an entertaining read a few months later, but at the time it's just frustrating and pointless. I'd have endless driving lessons, with my instructor rolling his eyes when I indicated right instead of left or stalled it on a hillstart. He thought my lack of coordination was funny and, apparently, endearing - I half-expected him to ruffle my hair and say 'aaaaw, bless' when I missed a turning or went up the kerb. I honestly thought I'd be the girl in the story that every learner gets told - 'Don't worry, you'll pass eventually - a mate of mine took 10 tests before she passed'.

Anyway. With the arrival of Dylan, I also gained a different perspective on the world. It wasn't just about me any more. I wasn't going to see my friends whenever I wanted. I wasn't going to have time to exercise more often or put thought into a calorie-controlled diet. I gave up learning to drive for 6 months. Funnily enough, all the things I'd wanted to do for years just kind of fell into place. I have amazing friends that have become honorary aunties to Dylan and are happy to do baby-friendly stuff whenever we can. I managed to pass my test 3rd time lucky in November. I still can't cook... but I've stopped caring about that, plus I have a lovely boyfriend who doesn't mind doing it for me! And I'm probably the biggest I've ever been, but who cares - I carried a baby.

I know 2014 isn't going to be a year about achieving personal goals. It's going to be a year of going to the toilet with the door open, cleaning up vomit or spilled juice, prising inedible objects from Dylan's mouth and crawling after him when he's trying to escape a nappy change. I'm fine with all of those things, because I know in a heartbeat they'll be gone, and soon I'll be looking at photos of him as a baby while he's at school, and I'll be thinking 'where's the time gone?' not 'God, I look fat in that photo of me holding him'.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

My friends say the darndest things, pt 2

Fi: Why do people say 'Break a leg' to performers?
Dad: Because it's bad luck to say 'Good luck'.
Fi: So, really, you could say anything except good luck? 'Smash your face in!'
Dad: 'Go fuck yourself!'

Ben (angrily handing me his latte after I changed my mind about not wanting one): There you go. It's got your favourite shit in it.

Harry (overheard): It's NOT 'GU-ETTA'!! GOD!!! (starts punching the sofa)

Me (after making fun of Ben's 'beard': I'm sorry, come here.
Ben: No. Get off. You can shit on a stick and feed it to a goat for all I care.

Me: Look what Ed Tudorpole left behind, Sam! (waving plastic sword in his face)
Sam (hungover): I don't like swords, I don't like fun, I don't enjoy anything.

Me: I can't believe what you said about Penny. (From Big Bang Theory)
Ben (watching Justin Timberlake on telly): Well... you probably fancy him, don't you?
Me: Sort of, yeah.
Ben: Of course you do. He's charming and beautiful.

Harry: If you kill me I'll freaking punch you.

Me (telling a joke): Right, there's this penguin and his car breaks down, so he takes it to the mechanic and -
Alex: How did he get the car there if it was broken?
Me: I don't know, who cares? Anyway -
Alex: Penguins can't even drive.

Me: Do you brush your teeth twice a day, every day?
Daddy Nick: Oh god, yeah. Even when I'm drunk.
Alex: Er, that's operation of motorised equipment...
Dad: I'm not driving the toothbrush home!

(Ben, Lewis, Reece and I listening to Ignition in the car)
Ben/Lewis/Me/R Kelly: Bounce, bounce, bounce, bounce, bounce, bounce, bounce.
Ben: Are you bouncing, Reece?
Reece: Not really, no.
Heather (picking up an avocado out of my fruit bowl): What is this? Is it a big raisin?

Me: I was driving down Essex Way and the car started slowing down massively and the car behind me was getting really angry. But I hadn't changed gear so it was that.
Heather: What's the speed limit down there?
Me: Oh... as fast as you like.
Heather: So... 70, yeah? You know, national speed limit?
Me: Yeah, that's what I meant.

Draft letter to Heart Radio, pt 2.

Dear Heart Radio,

Since you bizarrely ignored my friendly suggestion of updating your daily track list (see blog dated February 2011), I'll try a different approach:

Stop playing SHIT.

Yours sincerely,

Rosie Barrett

Thursday, 26 January 2012


Been walking along a pavement, heard a cyclist approach behind you and your natural instinct is to move, but you know if you move, you'll probably end up headbutting the ground with a bike parked up your bum?

Been tickled by something so much that you cry laughing, can't begin to explain to anyone what you're laughing at, you can't breathe, and you know you have to stop because it's really bad and you're the only one laughing and you know everyone will hate you, but you just can't?

Compared the amount of kisses in a received text to the amount you sent, and think 'alright, stroppy'?

Accidentally spat on someone whilst talking to them and not known whether they noticed or not, and whether to point it out or not 'cause you're not sure which is less embarrassing?

Tried to win an argument by saying something horrible offensive, but your nerves get the better of you and you come out with an insult that makes absolutely no sense? "I'll kick your shit!"

Sat down in a bath so hot it could melt the skin clean off your legs, only to top it up with more hot water 3 minutes later?

Tried to drum along to a song with your hands when you're on your own, totally not been able to keep up with the rhythm and felt massively embarrassed?

Spent ages analysing song lyrics, going over and over the same lines wondering if the artist felt what you're feeling now, felt so connected and like you'd found the answer, only to realise it was just a reference to drugs or a load of absolute nonsense?

Felt sad for a lonely inanimate object? A mop, a toy owl, the last cherry bakewell in the box?

Have a couple of days where everything's suddenly got a happy glow around it, even though nothing's changed, and you think you've sussed out life, only to be brought harshly and abruptly back to boring, normal, miserable earth?

Found the older episodes of The Simpsons to be much, much funnier than the new ones, despite having seen the old ones a million times?

Deliberately re-read a book you've had years, intended for people much younger than you, just to re-live your childhood a bit? And maybe been a bit embarrassed to be carrying around a Jacqueline Wilson book in your bag?

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

The Poindexter Massive

This particular blog is dedicated to anyone who grew up thinking they were a bit of a loser, geek, in the unpopular crowd etc.

It also kind of ties in with my last post, as working at The Railway has really made me realise the kind of town Southend could be if there were just a few more cool people living in it. And by cool, I mean.... you know, unusual.
I forgot to add this to my last post but when I was in Brighton a gay bloke in a bar complimented me on my dress. When I explained it was just an all-in-one from Primark with a skirt from Miss Selfridge over the top of it, he was like:

"What's Miss Selfridge? Like... Selfridges?"
"No.... it's a high-street shop, like Topshop, for girls"
"Never heard of it, is it like a junior version of Selfridges then?"
"No... no... it's got nothing to do with... it's just a shop. A separate shop"
"Where did you say you lived again?"
"Southend... in Essex..."
"Oh. Oh dear".

That just says it all really. With a little help from our TOWIE friends, we're a united county of fucking pikeys.

The Railway is like a little beacon of hope for anyone in Southend who isn't afraid of weird. Anyone who couldn't care less about mis-matched furniture, alternative music and some extremely odd characters. The reason I started this post is because I wonder how many of our regular customers were labelled a nerd, freak, bookworm, old-fashioned, whatever, at school. My guess is, most of them.

It's just interesting - and really annoying - how, when you're at school, everyone is the enemy. Without asking if you want to play, you're forced into the most ridiculously competitive game of who can impress the most, who's the most outspoken, who's got the richest parents. Maybe not all schools, but definitely mine. I - along with pretty much everybody who turned out to be a genuine friend - was picked on for every aspect of my character at school, some time or another. For having long hair, for not wearing make-up, for reading books, for being vegetarian, for liking old music, for having a dad who was in a band, for not bitching about other girls, for not smoking, for being in the school musical.

Isn't it ALSO interesting that ALL of these fucking things are now considered commendable characteristics (alliteration high-score!!!) and traits? Oh, you like The Kinks, do you? Since when, because you certainly had no idea who they were when you were going through my ipod back in 2003, laughing your head off. Your favourite artist was 50 Cent if I remember correctly, you loser.

Same applies for books, films, artists, clothes, cars, jobs, anything. Wearing your shirt with all the buttons done up was a hangable offence if you were 'popular', now you wear nothing but Fred Perrys and Ben Shermans. And having 'Wuthering Heights' sticking out of your schoolbag was enough to get you sniggered at for a month, now its in your 'favourite books' column on facebook. And back then, when you were all drinking WKD and sharing a spliff outside ALDI on a saturday night, I was busy being a kid, reading Jacqueline Wilson books and watching The Simpsons. Now that we're adults, I've got a really cool place to hang out and work at on the weekends, while you're desperately trying to find something to shove up your nose that you haven't become desensitised to yet, in someone's crackden of a flat somewhere in Westcliff.

Even though it's hard to go through at the time, it's almost worth being picked on for being genuinely different and feeling proud to grow up having stayed that way, rather than being a sheep all your life and jumping on the Ed Sheeran bandwagon. Just saying.

Monday, 28 November 2011


This may very well be the second blog I've written about how shit this town is, but I can't be bothered to check, so you're having it anyway.

LOOK, Southend's a load of absolute bloody rubbish. I just went to Brighton for the weekend to visit my best friend and came back being one of those really annoying people that go "Oh, it's just so much better in Southend in, you know, soooo many ways".


Why, why, why is it that in Brighton, as soon we stepped into the north lanes we found a tiny, cute little vegeterian cafe selling organic falafels and rasberry hot chocolate? They were selling huge bowls of coconut, carrot and lemongrass soup for 99p. NINETY-NINE-FUCKIN-P. A place like that would never survive in Southend. People are thick. I know full well, hopefully as do anyone that's ever eaten the veggie food at The Railway, that the whole menu is delicious and actually, pretty cheap considering what you're getting. But three quarters of the town would give it a wide berth just because it doesn't do steak. But before anyone complains that I'm preaching, I'm just saying there's nothing wrong with being a bit open-minded once in a while and trying something really tasty that didn't once have a mother.

It's not just restuarants though, it's shops and clubs and librarys and all sorts. Anything I'd consider to be cool or cultured or just not a chain store would fail in it's first year here. That's why there's 2 Superdrugs, 2 Boots, 2 H&M's, 2 horrible no-name thrift stores and ONE tiny vintage shop, on a weeny alley, 2 streets away from the high street. You can't walk from one end to the other without seeing someone else in the same Primark or Topshop top as you.

And you know what else, I went into Leigh library to renew my mum's book for her the other day and they've got this machine where you can check books out and renew them yourself. It's so they don't have to pay librarians to do it, because no one goes to the bloody library any more. Jesus.

I'm gonna open a tea shop, and I'm gonna sell home-made soup and carrot cake and loose leaf darjeeling and you're gonna fuckin enjoy it, and that'll be that.