Blair Marshall: Behind-the-scenes at Family bar
18th December 2007 - 05:13 pm
Blair Marshall, 24, has been a vital member of the team at Auckland's gayest nightclub since its early days. He gave us an 'under the mirrorball' insight into what it's like to work at Family...
So what's your job title at Family bar?
I was given the title 'events manager' at one stage, but I don't really have a job title at all. I'm a cross between the bosses's PA, event manager, maintenance manager and administration person… I just do what needs to be done.
Most of what I do is setting up for special events though. And lighting drag queens - they don't seem to like dancing in the dark! We get new lights occasionally and we're constantly changing them and doing new bits and pieces. I'd love to triple by budget and really have fun…
How did you become part of the nightclub's team?
Around August or September 2005, shortly after Family first opened.
I was sitting outside Family having a beer and heard [boss] Wayne talking about a coffee machine that wasn't working. I offered to have a look at it, thinking I'd score a free bar tab. Then after I'd fixed it, he asked if I knew anything about lighting and other things, and slowly it progressed to doing everything from setting up computer networks here, to camera systems, you name it.
Which Family events have been your personal favourites?
The one I like the most is our presence at the Big Gay Out. It's a massive event we plan for months in advance for, and then it all comes down to setting it up in a few hours and making it happen. It's a large, daytime thing that's got a lot of life to it. You also get to see everybody in daylight - which sometimes is a little scary!
I liked our Mr. Gay Auckland heats too. I'd like to see more competitions and events that aren't based around drag queens!
I want the jelly wrestling to come back too - we might try to do that again in the New Year. And maybe a foam party soon...
Which nights at Family are the busiest?
It does tend to vary quite a lot, but Saturday nights are generally our busiest nights. Wednesday's Karaoke and special events on Sundays can be really popular too. New Year's Eve is always huge each year.
What do you love most about your job?
The variety. I arrive in the morning and I don't know what I'm going to be doing that day.
Is there anything you dislike most about the job?
Being on call more or less 24 hours a day seven days a week. Having to devote your life to the job. And working in the gay community can be a challenge as there can be some backstabbing and politics.
Where did you grow up?
I was born and bred in Wellington. I was lured up here to Auckland with a service technician role in 2005. I find Auckland is more fast-paced and career-oriented, whereas Wellington is more laid-back and friendlier.
Which are your favourite TV programmes?
I love The Simpsons, South Park, the Sunday Motorsport, and The Ghost Whisperer.
What music are you into?
Old-school rock… I like guitar bands, mostly.
Tell us your 'coming out' story.
I realised in my early teens that there was something not quite right. But I lost my virginity to a chick, and then after that I decided that's not right, and buried my head in work for a long time. I got hardcore into Motorsport too.
So I didn't think about sex or do anything for a few years. Then I met a guy randomly through a friend, got along quite well with him, and that was the first amount of time I'd actually spend with a guy.
While travelling around, the first gay venue I ever stepped into was actually Menfriends [sauna in Chrischurch]. It was interesting - I told the guy at the counter there I'd never been to a gay venue before, and he comes running around with a little booklet to show me. He got someone to show me around the place - it was quite cool, and I had a good night.
Are you single at the moment?
Yeah. It'd have to be a very tolerant boyfriend to be able to put up with me. I'm focussed so much on work and the hours are a challenge. So it's probably easier not to be in a relationship!
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