Book Review – ‘Modern Samurai’ by Matt Stait

When Matt asked me to review his book I was unsure whether to. I had seen it advertised and it looked interesting but I had that much to do myself I did not think I would have the time. However, Matt kindly sent me a copy so I decided to read the intro and make my mind up. I read the intro and the first chapter and decided this was worth fitting into my schedule.

I am really glad I did as what appears to be a book about being on the doors is actually a piece of social history. I share Matt’s reservations about how the doors were run and how they are run now, I shudder when I see what pass for door staff sometimes now and wonder how the hell they cope when the shit hits the fan. As Matt states in the introduction this is not another hard man on the door reliving war stories, it is a huge collection of highly entertaining, often amusing, anecdotes told with a refreshing candour. There is no bragging, there are dashings of humility and many wry observations on the often weird manifestations of human behaviour both good and bad.

Some of the anecdotes remind me of the writings of Theodore Dalrymple as the descriptions of some of the meaner, nastier echelons of society are exposed for our benefit. Many people like to not see how despicably some people can act, how horrible and narrow their drug addled, alcohol and crime filled existences but for the person on the door dealing with these people is often unavoidable. It was refreshing how Matt obviously used soft skills when dealing with difficult customers but had the muscle and skill in reserve for when the softly softly approach did not work.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Modern Samurai and whilst I told Matt I might take 3 weeks to do so a bit at a time, I finished it in under a week as it was a really interesting read. In this book Matt paints vivid pictures with words, I saw the venues he described come to life, the characters too were well described and their attitudes, mannerisms and behaviour jumped off the page. I would recommend this book to anyone thinking of taking their SAI door badge, I almost did once and walked out on day 2 of the appalling training and looking at those training with me and realising I would not trust 1 of them to watch my back, especially the t****r doing the training. Not 1 of them had any grounding in the reality of violence.

So here is a glimpse into a world that existed but is rapidly changing, this is a great piece of social history and Matt is clearly a cool guy who I would really like to meet, buy the book, it will make you frown, it will make you wince but it will definitely make you smile, a lot.

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