We got there about 8:15, doors open at 8. Normally we queue up and get in to have a drink - the music's better than the pub across the road. But they'd done a special this time - they'd split the queue in two, blokes on one side, ladies on the other. Which is all well and good if you've gone with all your mates, or if you're both the same gender. But we just go with the two of us, and we couldn't be arsed with queueing for half an hour on our own surrounded by the kiddies :/ So we sat in the pub opposite and watched the queue. Umm, ladies was a bit of a misnomer really. In particular, the girl wrapping her legs around the barrier for the queue and thrusting her crotch at it was most definitely not a lady!
So that got the evening off to a bad start - it was about 9:30 before the queue died down enough for us to go join it.
Then we paid our money, had a little chat with the guy taking money - he recognises us, and he'd noticed we hadn't been for a while. Got our hands stamped so that we could buy alcohol. Went upstairs, and tried to get into the bar area. Tried. For the benefit of those who don't know me or J - we're both 26, and we're don't look like kids. But we weren't allowed into the bar coz we didn't have ID. I haven't carried ID in years, infact my only photo ID is my passport, which I don't tend to wander round Ipswich with. So after boggling at the bouncer for a while, and having him be rude to us, we went back down and were gonna just go home. Don't get me wrong - alcohol isn't the be all and end all of my life, but they'd pissed us off with the way they treated us. On the way out, I asked the guy on the front if there was any chance of our money back - and said they wouldn't let us into the bar. And he was absolutely shocked - he knows we're regulars, and we're bloody obviously over 18. He explained what was going on (the bouncer upstairs had said that they needed ID coz handstamps rub off - yeah right) - they got busted a couple of months ago, and two 14 year olds were found with stamped hands and drinks. And had clearly been drinking for quite a while too. So the venue have been warned that they'll lose their licence if that happens again. So they've tightened up the security and fair enough - this is a minority event, they can't afford to lose the revenue from things like interval drinks, or from wedding receptions etc.
But for fucks sake. Check ID for the dubious cases, make very sure no-one slips through ... but don't act like bastards just for the sake of it. It wasn't just us, they refused somebody else who had photo ID (without date of birth) and drivers licence (old style - no photo, but DOB) - and this person was 24 (though young looking). The guy on the front desk was brilliant though - he got the manager of the security people over, and told her to get us let in without ID this time (all of us that had complained) and started to warn people as they came in that they needed ID even if they were older. Which just meant a little bit of careful planning when we went to the loos - had to make sure it was the right bouncer on duty (one was OK, one was just your typical arrogant bastard bouncer), and then mention that we were gonna need to be let back in. So we sat and fumed, and I drank too much.
I think J was more pissed off about the queues, I was more pissed off about being treated like shit for being an adult. Particularly at an event that I've seen advertised as over-18. They don't enforce that though, obviously.
The guy who sorted stuff out also came and talked to us later in the evening, to apologise, get our email address/phone number so they can let us know about anything else like that (we'd've brought ID if we'd known after all). And we suggested that putting a notice up that you can see before you get in saying that you must have ID to get to the bar would help. We wouldn't've been taken by surprise then - and might've gone home and got some, given the queues we'd've not been in any later.
They then shut the bar without warning at 1230 ... fine, but it's traditional to call time at the bar, not just be rude to your potential customers when they get to the bar. Though I was only annoyed about that coz I'd been annoyed all evening ;) And it was probably just as well that I didn't have another pint.
The next one of these clashes with Furry, so we'll go to that instead. But we'll probably go to the one after and see if things have improved - they had notices up about raising the age limit. Firstly no-one under 14 will be let in from the next time onward, and later they'll 'raise it further', but they didn't say to what. If it goes to being over-18 it'll die, most of the people there are younger than that. I think the venue would probably like that - they clearly don't like staffing it, and given the number of kids they don't make very much money at the bar.
On a brighter note, I talked to someone I'd seen at the Spread Eagle before it changed and asked where there was to go now that was like that had used to be (ie plays rock/metal/alternative not dance music). And he said the Arboretum on Friday nights and the Black Horse on Saturday nights, and told me how to find the Black Horse (I knew where the other one was already). So we'll have to check those two out sometime. (I also asked him if he got IDed - if he's under 40 I'll be surprised - and he got hassle too. As did his friends who came later we noticed ... they were a bunch of scary punk/goth people who were also blatantly older than me.)