A 34-year-old “hairy Viking” was turned away from Mareel last night – because he was deemed not old enough to watch T2 Trainspotting.
Company director Steven McKimm was on a rare night out with his fiance Joanne Nicol and have travelled from Mossbank to Lerwick to see the blockbuster.
But their plans were scuppered when Mareel staff doubted whether Steven was old enough to see the 18-certificate film. Because he did not have ID to prove his age he was refused entry.
He said he thought the duty manager was joking at first. But it soon became clear she was sticking to the venue’s “strict Challenge 25” policy.
“She was adamant,” said Steven, who runs a shotblasting and industrial painting firm which does work at the Sullom Voe Terminal.
“I actually thought it was a wind-up. I was waiting for Jeremy Beadle.
“I have got a big stupid beard for the [Delting] Jarl’s Squad.”
Steven was with Joanne and her brothers Marc Sherwood, 34, and Sean Nicol, 22. They had even told Sean to take ID because he looks young.
Sean was asked to prove his age, but bearded Steven never thought he would fall foul of the rules. And he did not have any photographic ID with him.
He recalls Joanne saying “I didn’t think my 34-year-old Viking would need ID” to the door staff.
Even so, they would not budge and Mareel would not refund the ticket, saying their policy is clearly advertised.
Joanne was left raging at the way the incident was handled. She and Steven have a 14-month-old boy Harrison and had arranged a babysitter so they could see the film.
When it was explained Steven did not have ID the duty manager stood her ground.
Joanne said: “I think she realised she was being a bit ridiculous but couldn’t back down. Because she had committed to this she had to follow it through.
“My partner’s mum has a pub so we understand Challenge 25 for the likes of my brother because he does look very young.”
She said the whole situation was “ridiculous” and spoiled their evening.
“I was enraged. We have a young baby and it’s the first time we have been out in ages. I thought I’m not letting this rest, this is ridiculous.
“Everyone was looking.
“He’s going to be a Viking in the Brae Up-Helly-A’ and he looks older than me.”
Steven decided to make the best of a bad job and went to the Mareel bar for a couple of beers – which were bought without the need for ID.
He said: “It was happy days. I won’t be seeing the film though because I think it was the last showing.”
Joanne posted a photo of Steven with his pint on Facebook, explaining what had happened. Scores of comments have been left supporting Steven, but Mareel remains steadfast.
The venue left a comment which read: “Hi Joanne, I’m sorry your fiancé was unable to get into Trainspotting 2 due to lack of ID.
“Our staff are legally required to ask for proof that you are old enough to watch an age restricted film if they have any doubt. We follow the Challenge 25 policy here at Mareel, so we ID anyone who appears under 25 for 18 films.
“These decisions have to be made on the spot by the staff as without ID there is no other accurate way of telling age – last night the cinema staff believed him to be under 25, whereas the bar staff were happy he was over 25, in each case staff were just doing their job.
“I’m sorry this affected your evening but we have no choice but to fulfil our legal obligations – so please, please anyone who is under 25, or may look under 25, make sure you bring ID with you, we don’t like having to turn anyone away. Esther (Marketing).
That message was repeated this morning by Shetland Arts marketing manager Lauren Doughton who told The Shetland Times judging someone’s age was “really subjective”.
“The member of staff thought he was under-25 and we absolutely support that.”
She said that Steven’s beard would make no difference to making that decision. “There are plenty of hairy lads walking around, it’s that time of year.”