Stu Armstrong Interview


Published March 2015
Stu Armstrong Image
Personally I have not known Stuart Armstrong for very long but in the short time I have known him it has become apparent that what ever he does he puts 100 percent into. In this piece Kris Megaw chats with him about his work as a doorman, his daytime job as a Implementation Consultant also his life as author of 'The Diaries of a Doorman' series and a children's book and importantly his work with anti knife campaign Choose Lives Not Knives of which he is patron. Jon P

Stu Armstrong is a good friend of the BBAD family, He is an Implementation Consultant, a Bouncer, A Best selling Author, a charity patron, A radio personality and most important a father. I first met Stu at the BBAD event in at the Newcastle NE6, after speaking for just minutes I instantly thought this guy is a proper gentleman, Stu is a big time hero of mine and is has been a delight to interview him, even though he is the busiest man on the planet, he still made time for my interview. Kris M

First of all can you tell us what it is you do for your day job?

All I can say is that if I told you then I would have to kill you as its top secret, actually no that’s a complete lie. By day I am an HR Implementation Consultant working for award winning provider of HR and Payroll Software Cintra. I have worked for them for just over a year now, the company itself is based just on the south side of the Tyne Bridge in Gateshead, but I travel all over the country to meet with, and to work on client sites.

You obviously work hard during the day, then work nights on the doors, you have your beautiful boys as well. When you get time what do you like to do to relax?

I don’t really get that much time off to relax, I like to be busy and the best thing in my life is spending time with my sons Ben, Luca and Sol doing complete daft things, but fun things. Apart from that obviously I love to write and I am a huge fan of books and I also love boxing.

Your boys obviously mean the world to you, have they ever said they want to be a bouncer? Would you let them?

A few years ago Luca my middle son who has just turned Ten decided that he wanted to be and I caught him standing at the front door with my door tie on, my earpiece and an my Doorman’s badge on his arm, that made for some great photos but as far as I am concerned that’s as close as any of them will ever get to working the doors, so in a nutshell over my dead body!

What are your hobbies?

Hobbies, what are they?? I don’t really have time for hobbies

Can you tell us an embarrassing story?

No………………………….Well ok then, probably the best one was featured as a chapter in my first book ‘The Diaries of a Doorman – A Collection of True Short Stories’ so I am going to give you all a free chapter!

Classy Ladies
By Stu Armstrong from The Diaries of a Doorman a Collection of True Short Stories

It was yet another long Saturday night on the door in the ambrosia of life that is door work. I was working with my mate Tommy. We started at 7.30pm and had managed to turn away a steady stream of pissed up people and had chucked out a couple of stag parties very early on. It was all pretty standard as things go, with maybe the exception of the ‘Super Classy’ middle aged ladies dressed in burlesque outfits, with muffin tops and more cellulite than an orange grove. They were not the most attractive bunch to look at, and when they opened their mouths… Stuart Armstrong Booksmy god! You’ve never heard the likes of it! I had to Google some of the swear words just to see what the hell they meant.

They ranged in age from early twenties up to the Granny of the bride to be; with her teeth like a council fence and a straw in the shape of a cock hanging round her neck, which complimented her hairy top lip which was manlier than moustaches on some young lads these days.

When you get a big group of them like that, they can be bad enough to start with, but one of my all-time pet hates is whistles. They just come in and blow them and blow them so much it would put a time served prostitute to shame! So, call me a spoilsport, or a ‘grumpy old bastard’ as ‘Granny Tash’ called me on the way in, but I confiscated all of the whistles telling they could have them back on the way out. Half an hour later, in a packed bar, above the cackles of ‘Jabba the Hutts’ daughters, I could hear the shrill of a whistle over and over and over again. As I went into the bar and started to look for the clever arse that had the whistle I got the manager in my earpiece over the radio saying “For Fucks sake, Stu, stick that whistle right up her Jacksie will you? It’s doing my head in” 

“Oh don’t you worry I bloody will”, I replied and so off I went in search of the phantom whistler. Yeah you guessed it, it was old Granny tash. She had a pink referee whistle hanging out of her mouth blowing and blowing and blowing, actually she had the look of an over the hill prostitute to think of it. So I went over, tapped her on the shoulder and said “can I take the whistle until you leave please?” she just ignored me, as I expected. So again I said the same thing. This time she smiled at me with her chess board teeth, well that would be if chess boards were black and yellow as opposed to black and white, laughed and said “what was that you wanted son, me naked body rubbed all over you?” The very thought of her wrinkled, leather skinned body mixed with the smell of her breath was almost enough to make me heave! “Beautiful as you are I’m afraid I must decline your very tempting offer” I replied, my tone sarcastic. She cackled like a witch on acid which just made the acrid smell of her breath all the worse, you could just tell by looking, or even smelling this horror, that she’d had more cock than Bernard Matthews!

“Give me the whistle now or you’re leaving’”, I said trying to disguise the look of complete and utter disgust on my face. “Oh you want my whistle son” she said “I don’t know about that but you can have my cherry if that’s any good for you son”. The mouthy, stagnant old trout that she was, she then dropped the whistle down her saggy cleavage and with another acrid smelling cackle said “There you go lover get it out with your teeth”. The whistle had a long ribbon hanging from it, sticking out of the saggy tits that no doubt would hide her feet with no bra on and probably resembled an ordnance survey map, or an A to Z.

So I made a grab for the ribbon, ready to pull the poor whistle out and take my own personal bit of glory to shut this old tart up. But just as a I grabbed it and pulled on the ribbon of doom, she shouted “epee you cheeky little fucker, look lasses he is trying to cop a feel”, and then it happened; the most embarrassing night on the door ever, up came her knee and with all the force of a JCB combined with the skill of 50 years fighting in the bingo, she kneed me right in the bollocks.

It felt like being hit by a truck, all I could smell was her breath and all I could hear was Tommy on radio pissing himself laughing as my face turned white, and then no doubt quickly to red. The pain in the family jewels rose up into my stomach and I fell on my knees, with granny Tash bloody shouting and laughing “look lasses he is going down on me now!” I was fuming at this point and I quickly recovered my composure, not too sure about my self-respect though, and made a grab for her to throw her out. That’s when the kicking, screaming and flaying of arms with sharp curly talons going for my face, began. “Right that’s it!” I shouted as I bent forward, picked her up and chucked her over my shoulder in a fireman’s lift. She was kicking and screaming all the way, as I began to carry herSteve Cairney and Stu Armstrong to the door to throw her out. This is where I saw Tommy, totally buckled with laughter.

As I put her down on the path outside of the door she was still going off on one, trying to attack me and shouting and swearing with all of the decorum of an ally cat. The rest of her group began drifting towards the door. They all thought it was hilarious, and one woman shouted out to her, “Hope it doesn’t rain, we’re all staying here for more drinks, so you will just have to wait until we come out”. Well as you can imagine she wasn’t too happy at all with that as the rest of her group all started drifting back to the bar to order more colourful jugs of whatever the hell they were drinking.

Just then, someone must have been looking down on me and arranged my revenge of this absolute savage, as the heavens just opened. Rain poured down bouncing off the ground, absolutely soaking this sorry excuse for a lady. Well I really did try my very best not to laugh, but wasn’t having much luck, as I stood just inside the shelter of the doorway as she began to resemble more and more a geriatric drowned rat. Just as quickly as it started, the rain stopped. The rest of the group started making their way back out of the bar all laughing at the sodden wet soggy mess that was waiting for them, and off they went to another bar.

I really should have radioed the other bars but what would I have said? Be on the lookout for a very old woman, dressed in a pink burlesque outfit, with teeth like a council fence who ten minutes ago has just single handed dropped me in the middle of my own bar????

What made you want to write your own books?

As long as I can remember I have always been fascinated by books and the written word, my grandfather used to tell me from being only a few years old that ‘The Pen is mightier than the sword’, and you know what I believe he was right. I have also from an early age wanted to write my own book and have it published, I wasn’t really interested in selling books or anything like that it was just always my biggest ambition to write a book. A couple of years ago I was made redundant from my day job and one day just thought, ‘Well what the hell give it a go’ and I did. I quickly realised that it wasn’t difficult to do, but only if I was in the right mood. In the right mood words seems to just vomit out of me onto the screen, but if I am in the wrong mood I will sit for hours trying to force it and what I write is utter shite!

I have read you’re “ The Diaries of a Doorman” books when reading you can actually imagine yourself being there watching, they have their scary parts and there really funny parts, could you give your overview of the diaries of a doorman book collection?

Well, it all started with ‘The Diaries of a Doorman – A Collection of true short stories’ which was a series of short stories detailing the experiences and situations that I have been in over the years on the doors, I tried to make it different to most of the other ‘Bouncer Books’ which most of them are like look I am a big hard Bouncer, not that I am knocking those books but I wanted mine to be different so I have tried to write with some humour and write about some of the weird, strange and funny things that have happened over the years, some of them embarrassing to me but hey what can you do. I have also tried to show some of the sad, tragic gut-wrenching stuff that I have come across too.

The second book ‘The Diaries of a Doorman Volume Two – Bouncers and Bravado’ basically was more of the same and then came the third book, ‘The Diaries of a Doorman Volume 3 – Bouncing in the Sun (Do you like what I did there, Volumes 1, 2 and 3? I thought it was quite clever Hahaha) anyway volume three is about my time working the doors abroad in the early 90’s where the lines between Bouncer and Villain were often blurred

Are there any plans for continuing “The Diaries of a Doorman” Series?

I have planned out a volume 4 which will be out later this year and will be called, can you guess??? Yup you got it volume 4! ‘The Diaries of a Doorman Volume 4 – Doorman and Diva’s’ but before that I need to finish the biography of a very good friend of mine, ‘From Shields to Sicily – The Paul Charters Story’. Paul was a top boxer in the late 80’s and early 90’s holding two Northern Area Titles at two different weights, fought in two final British eliminators and came just a whisker away from being the European champion after fighting Antonio Renzo in Sicily

On The DoorYou have also written the book Life: A collection of contemporary poetry, where did this idea come from?

Poetry is something I have dabbled with from being at school and I always find that writing helps me get through stressful period of my life, and I was going through a lot of very negative stuff at the time I wrote this book and I found it helped get me through.

There is a message on the back of your poetry book, “A book brought about by personal tragedy and betrayal”, could you tell us what this means?

Well as mentioned above when I wrote this book I was going through bit of a bad negative time. I was on the door one night and a regular who I had known for years and that knew some of my family asked if he could have a word with me, what he told me is that my father was dying of terminal cancer. Now I and my Dad never really got on, mostly because from being a small child he was a violent bastard towards me and my mother and was always up to no good spending time in and out of jail. My parents split up when I was nine years old and we didn’t speak again until I was about 18 or 19 years old, one night years later he decided to try and play the big man with me in the pub, and well things happened and we hadn’t spoken for around 14 years when I was told this, but he was till my Dad.

As it transpired he had been dying for a year and that whole side of the family had concealed it from me, one after one I contacted them all and nobody would tell me just how serious it was, how long he had left or even where he was. All I wanted to do was make peace with him before he died and because of that pack of bastards that were meant to be my family I never got to do that.

Since he died some of them have started trying to suck up and talk to me, but me being me I have basically fucked them all off and disowned that whole side of my family, as far as I am concerned real family or those that are loyal, break my trust once and I just don’t want to know.

I had written about this at the time on Facebook and had some amazing messages of support, in particular from Joe BBAD and Joe Ramsey, I will always remember what Hoe Ramsey had written as it helped a lot and at the time I didn’t even know the man, but now I class him as a good friend. So my Dads side of my family maybe all pieces or shit but I also found that the ‘BBAD Family’ that is often talked about is actually real, not just a marketing ploy from Joe and Aaron.

For my daughters Christmas I bought her four very special books , A Dogs life, Mr Wag and his “extraordinary” Dogs, Mr Wag and his “extraordinary” Dogs – At the circus and Mr Wag and his “extraordinary” Dogs at Christmas, Poppy my wee girl wants to know, will be seeing more of Mr Wag?

Oh I think so, Mr Wag is quite an extraordinary character and is really a cross between ‘Mr Ben’ and my own mother who is a dog breeder.

Did you get any special help with the Children’s books?

I got the best help I could have asked for, the first kids books were the Mr Wag books and were written for Sol my seven year old son. We chatted about a book for him one day in the car and Sol came up with the entire concept for Mr Wag.

Equally, in the book ‘A Dogs Life’ this book was for Luca my ten year old Son and Luca came up with the whole concept of the story being told through the eyes of the dog itself, there will also be a follow up to ‘A Dogs Life’ later this year.

Out of all your books, what has been the hardest to write?

I wouldn’t really say that any of them have been hard to write and I really enjoy doing it, but by far the first book ‘The Diaries of a Doorman – A Collection of True Short Stories’ was the most difficult as to be honest I didn’t have a clue where to start, how to write a book, how to get it published and so-on, but from there they seem to get easier and easier


You have done the doors for a very long time, what made you get into that line of business?

I sort of fell into it, I grew up in pubs and then for a few years managed my own pubs from being about 20, most of them I would describe as ‘RABA’ pubs (Rough as a badgers arse) and obviously I had to sort my own bother out. When I got out of the pub trade I used to find myself stopping fights in my local and things like that and then I was asked one night if I would work the door at a pub over the weekend of a local festival on the Fish Quay in North Shields, my home town and then have really just done it on and off ever since.

Obviously you have a very well storied career, have you met any celebrities? Do you have any funny celebrity stories?

I have done quite a bit of celebrity ‘Minding work’ for people such as Johnny Vegas, Chrissy Rock, JLS, Glasvegas, Lucy Watson and Joey Essex. Johnny Vegas was a favourite of mine and I can’t tell you just what a top bloke he is in real life. To start off with he is funnier in real life then when on stage or TV and so nice to his fans. I was looking after him at a book signing and he would spend at least ten to fifteen mins with each person talking to them, finding out about them and then would sign the book and write a personal message and also draw a caricature of the person that the book was for. At the end of the session me and the other lads went to get a photo with him and he turned around and said, “Come on lads your meant to be hard Geordie bouncers, let’s get a photo of you pretending to chuck me out of a bar” which is just what we did and proceeded to rag him all over the shop as you will see in the photo. Very funny and top genuine bloke.

When you’re on the doors you obviously have your team, if something kicks off you rely on them to watch your back, have you ever been alone when something has happened and had to deal with it yourself?

Something which I am very much against are ‘One Man Doors’ they are just wrong as simple as that, but sometimes you have no option and in the summer of 2013 I found myself doing a lot of shifts by myself, over the space of that summer I had someone pull a machete on me, someone try and stab me with a dirty needle and was set upon by nine people. Luckily for me it all turned out well for me on these occasions, in fact very lucky I would say. After those experiences I now refuse to work alone.

Can you tell us your funniest memory being on the doors?

It had to be the big bloke from Glasgow who I ‘Asked to leave’ for being loud and drunk, I walked him into the beer garden and he decided he wanted to fight, he was about twice my size and had obviously boxed before just by his stance and up goes his fists ready so I did the same thinking it was going to be like BBAD and as we are weighing each other up I just start to piss myself laughing as I notice his wife’s pink handbag hanging from his arm, I just came out with ‘Mate seriously? Either get rid of your nice pink bag and fight me or just fuck off’………….. And off he fucked so bit of a result!

Have you ever been injured working the doors?

I have been very lucky when it comes injuries on the door, over the years I have had a lip ripped open from which I have a small scar and I have a permanent dent on the top of my skull from being repeatedly smashed over the head with a bottle of Desperado which just didn’t smash, it would have hurt less if it did. I got done over good style that night but proud to say he still didn’t knock me out or get me down. I have also been stabbed quite badly at the top of my left arm with a big lump of glass but that wasn’t on the door, so I do count myself as being lucky.

If you could have a team of BBAD fighters on the doors with you, say 3 who would it be and why?

That’s easy Kris, it would be, James McCrory, James Quinn and Dave Radford and why, well because the three of them are all full on legends, and come on be serious not many people would start with those three on door now would they!

Who would be the worst BBAD fighter to eject from a pub/club?

Now that’s a difficult one as to be honest I wouldn’t like to eject an BBAD fighter from a bar but I would say probably Steve Cairney as he would winge and moan on so much that it would just do my head in!

Support Lives Not KnivesCharity work

Could you tell us about the charity that you have become the patron of?

The Charity is called ‘Choose Lives not Knives’ ( and it’s a charity started by Stevie Cairney in memory of his Son Leon, who was murdered two years ago when he was stabbed eleven times with a kitchen knife. What we do is raise awareness of knife crime to young people.

How did you get into Choose lives not knives? 

Well I met Steve at BBAD Newcastle last year and we got talking and I said I would like to help and became a trustee of the charity with one of my first objectives being to appoint a Patron, I had a few big names in the hat and then one day I was talking to Steve and he told me out of the blue that the whole Cairney family had decided that they wanted to ask if I would be the Patron. I was shocked but massively touched by this and agreed

What is the main aim of Choose Lives not knives?

The main aim if to raise awareness in young people about the dangers of knife crime, every year in the UK so many teenagers go out with a knife, never intending to use it and then something happens, and in the heat of the moment they use, or as often happens its taken from them and used on them. Straight away that’s two lives ruined. One will normally end up dead and the other loosing everything by being locked up.
What we want to do is to make people think, let them see the ruined lives, the broken hearted families, as Steve once said to me which I totally agree with, “Stu if we save just one single life it will be worth all of the hard work”

Obviously working the doors, you would have probably seen the effects of knife crime, has this played a big part in your roll in the charity?

Your right Kris I have seen people stabbed, seen people slashed and had people try and do the same to me but my honest answer is no. It was reading Steve’s words when he wrote something about the night Leon died, it almost broke my heart and really touched me, I have three Sons and one day it could just as easily be one of them so really all I do in my role is for my Sons and for Leon Cairney

Could you let us know who the team are behind the campaign?
The Choose Lives not Knives Team are:
Stu Armstrong – Patron
Steve Cairney – Trustee
Dan Chapman – Trustee
Lloyd Watson – Trustee (And he also boxes in aid of Choose Lives)
Neal Salvage – Designer

You have really made a go at this in 2014, it’s amazing to see it coming on in leaps and bounds, what are the plans for 2015? Are there any events etc. coming up?

Things are going to massive this year, I can’t really give too much away at this moment in time but I am working on a few things but I can confirm that there will be a sponsored Fire walking event held on 25th March in Newcastle (See the website for details) and a huge sponsored Dog Walk held on Easter Bank Holiday Monday also in Newcastle. I would also just like to take this chance to thank James McCrory who is going to be the guest of honour so to speak at the firewalk.

There are also a couple of pretty huge things in the pipeline that I can’t talk about at the moment, but what I will say is that two good friends of mine are lending amazing support with these events, Jon Pepperell from the amazing combat sports website and Andrew Wile from Reps Gym in Wallsend near Newcastle. Thanks Lads!

You were on the radio with “Radio Northumberland”, you sounded like a pro on there, could we hear more of Stu Armstrong on the airwaves in 2015?

Well I have to say that I massively enjoyed doing to two shows with Paul Green at Radio Northumberland and yes you will be hearing me again very soon along with my fellow trustee and my Door partner in Crime Dan Chapman when we do a show on life as a Doorman. But between you and me I would love to do a little bit of presenting from Radio Northumberland and have mentioned it to them


Obviously you are a big face in the crowed at BBAD events, how did you first get into BBAD?

Well I had been part of the Facebook group group for sometime and I had Joe BBAD as a Facebook friend and I published an iPhone and Android App for my books, Joe commented on it and we had a discussion I agreed to do one for BBAD and Joe invited me to the Newcastle show and straight away I was hooked. I won’t miss a show now no matter where it is!

As a massive fan of gloved boxing what was your first impression of BKB before you had been to a BBAD Event?

I thought Bare Knuckle Boxing was still just in car parks and back lanes like it was back in the day with no rules or medical care, I was shocked to see just how well organised things were when I went to my first BBAD event.

Before becoming a fan at BBAD did you attend any other BKB events?

The last BKB fight I went to was in the mid 90’s in the car park of a closed down derelict pub in Newcastle, it was a seriously dodgy night with some seriously dodgy people there, but I did enjoy it

How did it differ form a BBAD show?

The two are worlds apart, there was no organisation, not ring or pit, not medical care and it was well, underground is the best way to describe it with no-one even knowing the venue until an hour before. I won’t mention any names but one bloke got hurt very badly and was dragged while out cold, across the car park and more or less thrown in the back of a car and off they went. That was the medical care!

What are the main differences you see between gloved and BKB boxing?

I love boxing in all forms, and I am a huge gloved boxing fan but I see BKB as more of an art form with less punches being thrown but more hitting their targets.

You designed the app for BBAD is there a reason you are such a big fan of BBAD?

I love Bare Knuckle Boxing always have, but I like the way things are done right and organised properly and the fighters are looked after and have the correct medical care. I also love the other fans, it really does sound a bit cheesy at times when people say the BBAD Family, but that’s just what it is.

Who are your favourite contracted fighters and why?

James ‘Gypsy Boy’ McCrory will always be my favourite because the man has the heart of about 50 lions, he is a complete legend and since I have gotten to know he is a really nice bloke.
I am also a big fan of James Quinn since I first watched Knuckle and I won’t ever forget how he helped out with some publicity for my first book, and this was long before I had met him.

I also like Scott Midgely, Now Scott don’t take the huff here mate but you don’t look like a hard kid with all the blonde hair all done up like something out of a boy band, then he gets in the ring and Boom!

Obviously you have been watching for a good while, are there any upcoming talents you think are going to make it big?

Billy Hawthorn, he has a big future, have you seen the power on that lads punches, bloody hell I wouldn’t want a dig off you Billy Mate!! Michael Ferry, I see him going to the very top of Bare Knuckle Boxing and all respect to Craig but I think he will take the title in February in Newcastle too.

I know you sponsor some local unlicensed gloved boxers, do you see yourself ever sponsoring one of our fighters?

Well its funny you should ask me that as I am over the moon to have been given the chance of sponsoring the legend that is James ‘Gypsy Boy’ McCrory, this only happened yesterday while talking to Aaron Watts and I jumped at the change so a big thanks to James and Aaron I am proud to be part of Team Gypsy Boy!

Stu could you give me a paragraph on Choose life’s not knives

In 2012 Leon Cairney at 25 years of age was stabbed 11 times with a kitchen knife and died of his injuries leaving behind a devastated family and two young daughters.

Knife crime is on the increase with devastating statistics.

Choose Lives not Knives is a Charity setup by Leon Cairney's father Steve to raise awareness in the dangers of knife crimes, currently awaiting registration as a UK registered charity ‘Choose Lives not Knives’ is going from strength to strength with an aim to educate every high school pupil in the UK in the dangers of knife crime. A Shocking statistic is that 17% of all knife crimes in the UK are carried out by Children between the ages of 10 and 17.

To date Stu Armstrong and Steve Cairney has been interviewed by Radio Northumberland and the Stirling Observer with the story being syndicated to the Daily record in Scotland.

And a paragraph on BBAD please?
BBAD is like no other business that I have come across, the reason for its success as far as I am concerned is that they actually care. They care about the fighters and equally care about the fans. In the short time that I have been involved with BBAD I have already watched them go from strength to strength.

I believe that BBAD are brining BKB to the forefront and they are doing this successfully because they are doing it the right way, I would love to see BKB have the same kind of exposure as gloved boxing or other mainstream sports and personally speaking I want to be along for the ride with BBAD to see this happen and will always help out in any way that I can.

On a final not a big thanks to my good friend Joe BBAD for inviting me to my first event, I have since become obsessed!

Joe BBAD had this to say about Stu:

“Stu is one of the nicest guys I have met in the BKB world, very giving and a heart of gold and will and does so much for others all the time. I would like to wish him all the best from all the BBAD team”

Stevie “Carnage” Cairney also wanted to make a statement:
“Stu Armstrong, I don’t call just a friend I call family a true gent and a man of his word he is all that a real man should be, I look up too Stu witch is really hard cause of his height hahahaha. But no serous if I could be half the man he is I would feel lucky. Stu as a dad nothing more than the real deal u might not think that bud but do what u do best be u! God bless u sir xxx

I would like to thank Stu Armstrong for taking the time to speak to us. I would like to also thank Gordon Buchan for your help with this interview, look forward to writing with you in the future. And a massive thanks as always to the Fans and BBAD Family. Kris Megaw

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