Sunday 22 December 2013

Dublin Couriers

This is a very short student documentary about Dublin Couriers. It looks like it was shot in the late 80's and it gets across some of the character of the industry.

Couriers were generally regarded as a law unto themselves and were simultaneously loathed and depended-upon in approximately equal measure. It was a funny sort of business...

Dublin Couriers
Evan on an XL600M, disregarding a red light in the interest of Irish economic prosperity.

The Courier Companies tried to come across as legitimate business enterprises but the couriers themselves were regarded as independent contractors rather than employees and the companies actually had very little control over them. So couriers didn't generally pay Income Tax or Social Insurance and many didn't bother with Road Tax or Motor Insurance!

From the mid-eighties until the mid-nineties when the Celtic Tiger Economy began to take off, there was massive unemployment in Ireland. But there was also a perfectly functional and thriving economy of Banks, Architects, Solicitors, Printers and Small Businesses. - There was money about, it just wasn't evenly distributed*.

This was long before email and electronic banking and all those businesses could afford to pay to get stuff moved in a hurry.

So from the ranks of unemployed youth rose a number (generally between 500 and 1000 at any given time) of opportunistic, anarchic punks on motorbikes to exploit this situation. And there was constant tension.

There was tension between the Clients who wanted high speed at low cost and the Courier Companies who were trying to meet unreasonable demands with an unreasonable workforce.

There was tension between the Base-Controllers, whose main concern was urgency, and the Couriers, whose main concern was efficiency (and fun and beer and drugs and other distractions).

And there was tension between the Receptionists and the Couriers with whom they dealt face to face - The Receptionists were concerned with things like politeness, tardiness, cleanliness and rainwater-puddles on their desks. The Couriers  didn't give a fuck about any of that - all they cared about was NOT WAITING!

At the time, Dublin was abuzz. It was like a gold-rush. There were great bars and the best music and cheap beer, drugs and petrol. It was an exciting time to be young and alive and driving a motorcycle for a living.

 *It's still like that in Ireland now, only it's much more polarised.

#DublinCouriers #UnderTheHelmet #Mercenary #MercenaryGarage

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