27 November 2007

Feyzz Kontrol

Think of night life as a simple trade, where customers go to a nightclub and pay at least three times the bottle retail price for a single shot of alcohol-based drink because customers demand that service of music and atmosphere. Music is the low key element and can be supplied satisfactorily by any mid-range DJ; but atmosphere must be delicately balanced so as to atttact new customers and retain the current ones as long as to make them pay for more overpriced drinks or other services. So night club owners try hard to adopt to new trends and change the decorations, menus and music of their venues constantly.

Another thing (maybe the most important) is the quantity and the quality of the crowd in the club. This is managed by the control of the influx (people that are let in) and outflux (selecting the problem elements in the club and escorting them out). As this is a labor intensive profession that often includes an outside night shift and a constant contact with medium to highly drunk customers, those posts are manned by people who either cannot find a better job or just crazy enough to do it.

In Turkey, the rule is almost universal for every nightclub. No single male customers (fingers crossed) are allowed and for groups, the ratio of male:female must be less than 1:2. However, there is a trend in some clubs (that have doors to the streets) that customers with fancy cars are allowed in since the owners at least guarantees a valet payment of 20$. I think I don't need to say that even with this universal (and sadly accepted) rule, the clubs swarm with boys; due to the fact that nearly all customers are male and that creates an ironic paradox that leaves deep scars in any Turkish boy of coming age.

In Russia, which many consider to be a mirror image of Turkey, there is also a system that denies any logical or reasonable definition. It is called Face Control and has nothing to do with your face...

People freezing to get into clubs...a familiar Friday night scene in Moscow

The thing about Moscow is that there are enough clubber crowd (which are called тусовчик/Tusovchik) to fill all the clubs in Turkey (including the ones that are already filled by Slavs of the ancient profession). So the owners put face control (or Meat Filter as I call it) to keep people out. Another vague marketing trick that tickles the highly chemicalized brains of those clubbers is that when people demand things that are forbidden or forsaken from them, they not only want but love it. There are some clubs in Moscow which boast that they didn't even allowed David Beckham or Berlusconi in.

So what is the point of it? Customers go to a club and see that there are people in their glittering costumes (or pieces of clothing that Russian girls wear to go out in -20 degrees) lining in front of a club. It automatically arouses a curiosity and the eventual feeling of rejection from a guy standing on the door (to whom normally would normally pass by on the street as a undernourished post-soviet red army conscript) doesn't hurt but actually pleases some people. I have personally seen people begging them to be let in, crying or making a scene.

If you have a bad memory or a bad reader, I have to remind you that I am not telling about poor and homeless people begging for an entrance to a soup kitchen, these places are expensive night clubs where even a bottle of 20cc water (of course from the French Alps) costs 600 roubles (~24$)...so those people literally beg and undermine their social statuses (many of which are artificially attained by their families' theft of common Russian treasures in the 90's) in front of a guy that has just arrived from a nearby village and makes a monthly salary that could only buy a couple of vodka shots inside the club.

A face that is both loved and hated at the same time: Pasha...who is a bouncer that is more famous than Justin Timberlake in Moscow. He can be seen near the gate of Dyagilev Club.

There is even Face Control Awards for the most brutal bouncers in Moscow...

So you have come to Moscow and decided to go out (not that you have decided to go out and came to Moscow...those people need counselling immediately) and you definitely need some advice if you don't want to ruin you night-out...here are some hard-earned field experiences:


1. Dress accordingly! Never ever wear white sneakers...you can be even rejected from an dirty rock bar. This is not US of A. Nobody wears sneakers...even to gym. For girls, dressing like a transvestite and multiple layers of make-up is highly recommended. For boys, your noncasual office apparael is more than fine tuned for the filter.

Left is ok for face control but on the right, you have to be an oligarch's son to be allowed in

All chic and expensive...dress to impress and to get in

2. Show yourself and never be lost in the queue. This is Russia - there is no queue and push forward like Spartans in Thermophylae. Those left behind just make friends with the RUssian Winter...and I have to tell you that he is not so friendly at all.

3. Speak English! I know this is a dirty trick if your native language isn't English but actually works in some places where the owners still think that expats pay more than Russians.

4. Never insist! If you are not let in - you are not let in. Your chance for getting in that night (or maybe in a couple of hours is gone...so don't ruin your chance for the next weekend. Believe me but those bouncers have better memories than elephants)...and Never fight!

Never fight with the face control...or you may lose your face

5. Bribing sometimes work...if there is no queue. (So wtf are you doing there if there is no queue.) The technique of bribing requires an intermediate command of Russian.

6. Don't accept union offers from lonely girl(s) in the queue! Those girls are "village golddiggers" who are never allowed in quality clubs because they are either drug addicts, almost pennyless or thieves. You may decrese your chance to get in or your hopes of a "union" eventually erodes when those girls get a couple of free drinks from you and then vanish on the dancefloor.

Some are hard to resist (except the Kazakh guy in between)...beware the golddiggers!

7. Pimp your ride! If you have used a soviet mode of transportation as a taxi (as we do to everyplace we go after Metro closes) don't get off the ride in front of the club. The bouncers have an appetite for rich and glamorous cars and in Moscow there are plenty of them to satiate.

8. Go early! If you are really craving to get into the facility, book a dinner table because most of those clubs are restaurants and transform into a full club faster than Optimus Prime. Any customer that has dined in the club is also eligible to stay for the club session. Also if you know the exact time interval of transformation (when the club is almost empty..like 10:30pm), you also have a chance to evade the filter when the bouncers are lax.

9. Order a table! I have saved this as last because it is the most concrete but the most expensive way. The clubs quadruple their profits by selling the customers tables or stools where the customers supposedly own a piece of the club for the night and push their charisma to the lightspeed. The price for the tables range from 300$ to 25,000$ and you need to have either enough partners-in-crime or a thick wallet to waste such amount in 3-4 hours...but it definitely works for what reason you are coming to a nightclub.

The happy tusovchik...he is ready to roll

So if it is so much for you..why don't you join a handfully selected people in a relaxed atmosphere where the only usage of face is in "our smiling faces"...you may try our parties..I know I now sound like a shameless capitalist...but we are just bored from this artificial jelly nightlife and want to have fun and socialize without being repressed. Check our website for more info.

1 comment:

Hans A.H.C. de Wit said...

Nive women, but I tagged you my friend on my blog. Wo where to go.)))