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The Church of Pod: Memories of my first job: what was yours?

9pm: Clock in, start sweeping up, clear and mop the dancefloor, say hello to the floor staff. Re-arrange the furniture, take out the Mr.Sheen to polish the tables, a little bit of Windowlene for the glass shelves near the member’s bar door, say hello to Mick as he arrives to get the bathrooms ready, check the fire exits are clear. Make sure the heating is on.

10pm: Time to check the bar is fully stocked, make sure all the kegs are connected and running fine. Chopping board out, lemons and limes sliced and diced for the clear spirits. Speed rail full, ice bins full, make sure there are empty bin bags in the bottle bin, rinse out the bottle top catchers. Bar is ready.

10:30pm: Dim the lights, turn the outside sign on, make sure the cloak room is ready to go. Paddy and Robbie arrive to set up in the DJ box; how’ya lads! Get the bar floats from the safe and make sure each till is ready to go. Change the receipt rolls, make sure each bar has enough credit card slips. Robbie fills the club with dry ice as he starts to program the lighting rig for the evening. The sound of staff preparing the club begins to fade as Paddy puts needle to vinyl and the deep bass of Gat Decor’s Passion slowly fills the room. The doormen arrive and begin to take their stations. Time to get the float to the box office and make sure everyone is at their post and ready to go.

11pm: Doors open, the queue stretches for miles around the corner as the regulars and wannabes begin to pour in past the mist of dry ice and the hum of Jamiriquai’s Space Cowboy. The first drink of the night is mixed, a vodka tonic with a twist of lime, 2 pints of Budweiser and a bottle of Becks, please. Within minutes the empty tunnel is full with trendy hairdressers, models looking for someone to buy them a drink, business suits trying to fit in, and perfume counter staff from Brown Thomas spending the last of their week’s wages. The first half hour is full of hi babes, air kisses, light hugs, cheers and let’s see if we can get into the back bar lads.

11:45pm: The cloak-room is full, doors are closed, sorry luv but you’re not getting in tonight. Back bar is chockers; JD & Coke please Johnny. The dance floor is heaving but it’s still all fairly friendly, lots of posing and shaping as Paddy gradually ups the tempo and the strobe lights lick the young and beautiful of Dublin city.

11:55pm: The dance floor is rammed, the floor staff can barely squeeze through with trays of fresh glasses for the bar. Paddy whips the crowd into a frenzy with a brand new vinyl track as the lights dance in perfect rhythm to the music and the song climbs to the peak of its crescendo. Everyone has their hands in the air dancing along in unison when all of a sudden the room plunges into darkness. The pumping sound vanishes leaving only a barely audible hiss snaking its ways through the mist of the hot, sweaty room.  I turn to the barman next to me who is in the middle of preparing a round of vodka and cokes and I smile. We exchange a knowing look and prepare for what we both know is coming next. Robbie shines one single strobe light on the roof of the tunnel of Pod’s main room and the light begins to slowly make its way down the far wall as if the dawn is rising before us on the dance-floor. Paddy gently applies needle to vinyl once again and the opening keyboard of Faithless’ God is a DJ can be heard whispering across the room followed by a slow, gradual bass beat that rises in pace every couple of seconds as the laser lighting rig comes to life. “This is my Church, this is where I heal my hurt”.

The speakers are cranked up all the way to 11 as the chorus explodes in a flash of noise and light on the faces and hands of the clubbers and we watch them erupt into a rhythmic pulse of life and activity that for just a few moments appears as if God really is a DJ, pulling the strings of Dublin’s club-life in unison as Saturday ends and Sunday morning arrives. We may have to come to work, they may have come to dance but we are all here now to worship.

Memories of the Pod Nightclub DublinThe Pod nightclub opened its doors in 1993 and quickly became “the” nightclub to be seen in, in fact it was arguably Dublin’s first super-club, located in the vaults of the disused Harcourt Street train terminus. Back in the 90s, as house music exploded and DJ’s became rock-stars, the Pod was not only Ireland’s most important dance venue but it served as one of the most popular venues in Europe amongst the dance scene glitterati due its unique intimate design, amazing acoustics and let’s face it, the fact that everyone loves the Irish!

I worked in the Pod all the way through University, often missing many lectures and tutorials due to late nights behind the bar but I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. I was having dinner with 4 friends in London back in February when I heard that the Pod had shut its doors after nearly 20 years. At first my heart sank with remorse but then I stopped, looked to my left and realized that here was the barman whom I had poured drinks with for nearly 3 years in the back bar of the Pod, still one of my closest friends and we were sharing a bottle of wine with 2 friends from Glasgow whom we had met on New Years Day 1996 when they arrived as customers to the Pod having being turned away the night before. We’ve remained close friends with these two girls and their extended friends for the last 16 years and I still regularly see the other staff and customers of Pod from back in the day. The Pod may have shut its door this year but the Church of Pod will live on for a long time to come.

This is the Stage 2 Speech that I will be giving at Lucan Toastmasters this evening. It was great fun to write, bringing back amazing memories of my first proper job. Wish me luck for later!

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