Views & Reviews From the Frontline

Off the record

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 29 February 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e1475
  1. Des Spence, general practitioner, Glasgow
  1. destwo{at}

It wasn’t easy to find work in the 1980s, so I took what I could get. This was mainly bar work: menial, tedious, poorly paid, and sometimes dangerous in Glasgow. But the experience gave me a very valuable return. I learnt how to defuse fights and to deal with aggression and the intoxicated. Best of all, I became an amateur counsellor, imprisoned behind the bar. People poured down drinks and out poured their life stories and confessions. I learnt not to say much, to listen, never to be shocked, …

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