Thursday, December 01, 2016

"Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night"

Leighton posted this. I had never heard of this article, but it may well have been the inspiration for "Saturday Night Fever".

My sense in the Seventies was that the revolution in music and lighting technology over the previous decade laid the ground for Disco. I remember seeing discos as early as 1970, but the attraction of listening to a stereo system in a club when it could be better enjoyed in a living room seemed perplexing. Then technology surged ahead, allowing discos to become Sonic Cathedrals. By 1974, the tempo of pop music was accelerating. By 1977, Disco had arrived:
Vincent was the very best dancer in Bay Ridge—the ultimate Face. He owned fourteen floral shirts, five suits, eight pairs of shoes, three overcoats, and had appeared on American Bandstand. Sometimes music people came out from Manhattan to watch him, and one man who owned a club on the East Side had even offered him a contract. A hundred dollars a week. Just to dance.

Everybody knew him. When Saturday night came round and he walked into 2001 Odyssey, all the other Faces automatically fell back before him, cleared a space for him to float in, right at the very center of the dance floor. Gracious as a medieval seigneur accepting tributes, Vincent waved and nodded at random. Then his face grew stern, his body turned to the music. Solemn, he danced, and all the Faces followed.

In this sphere his rule was absolute. Only one thing bothered him, and that was the passing of time. Already he was eighteen, almost eighteen and a half. Soon enough he would be nineteen, twenty. Then this golden age would pass. By natural law someone new would arise to replace him. Then everything would be over.

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