Not to give away my age, but I was born before cell phones and before there were computers in every household. When I was young, if I needed to do research for a school project, I had to got to the library and use out of date encyclopedias. I would spend hours looking up books in the catalogue index files. I would write down a bunch of numbers on a scrap piece of paper, to locate the books I needed, only to walk over to the shelves and discover they were not there, so back to the catalogue file I would go. Google was not even a word in my vocabulary back then.
When I read Newspaper Boys Always Deliver, I was filled with nostalgia. The book is a collection of essays referencing cultural events and vast changes that have occurred over the last fifty years. The book is organized into sections, somewhat like a newspaper would be. Sections include: Front Page News; People; Arts and Entertainment; News; Sports; Lifestyle; Business and Technology; Editorial and Comment. There are many wonderful pictures scattered throughout the book too. You can tell that the author, Joseph Gulesserian, is a bit of a history buff and that a lot of research went into this book. Joseph also provides his commentary and sometimes opinionated views on the items covered in the book as well. The following is a guest post from Joseph Gulesserian.
The Rise and Fall of Disco
Disco was the last great pop cultural expression of the Baby Boom generation, and it is in a sense the Boomers’ cultural swan song. Before Facebook’s stranglehold on narcissism and perpetual display of insecurity, one had to actually dress up, learn to dance, speak swag, so to put on a show before the advent of digital pretend!
Disco’s origins are in New York City; some say Club Arthur Discothèque, which was opened in 1965 by Richard Burton’s ex-wife (he had many), Sybil Burton, just after he ran off with Elizabeth Taylor. Sybil had a reputation for drawing celebrities going back to the late fifties and early sixties, with the Peppermint Lounge. It was at the Peppermint Lounge where Jacqueline Kennedy did the twist, and where the Beatles dropped in after their Ed Sullivan Show appearances.
Many notable celebrities made appearances at Arthur’s, including Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Liza Minnelli, Andy Warhol, Bette Davis, and, of course, the very lovely Sophia Loren, to name a few.
However, the first pre-disco club, the Loft, was opened by DJ, David Mancuso, in 1970, in New York City, and the underground culture of disco was born. In terms of the musical roots of disco, it can be best explained by the fusion of the gay underground clubs of New York City with the musical influences of funk, Latin, and soul music. It is this unholy alliance where the foundation lies of the greatest dance culture ever created. Another perspective of what was disco was put forth by Fred Wesley, the trombonist for James Brown, when he called disco “funk music with a bowtie”.
Its great commercial success, however, did not come into the public fold until the magic of Saturday Night Fever and its accompanying sound track of the Bee Gee’s, and the Queen of disco herself, Donna Summer. In fact, much of this is discussed at a much deeper level in my book “Newspaper Boys Always Delivers”.
We knew somewhere deep inside, that the illusion of glamour and fame would elude us all, for when all is told, disco was perhaps the hallucination that protected us from the fatalism of reality. Possibly, disco was just a subway stop to mask the uncertainty of our future, to give us enough time to think of finding ways to make our lives more accomplished, as we were subconsciously buying time.
But Disco had cultural implications, since it was the first “democratization of glamour!” well before the social media, while it taught a whole generation of white kids how to dance.
But in the end, the amount of energy it took to club night after night was a hedonistic experiment that had to eventually come to an end. The fall of disco was self-inflicted, and its manifest destiny was as temporary as life itself. Like some type of giant ball of fire, it burned brightly with vivacity, complemented by incomparable energy, and it eventually extinguished itself. What it left behind were the imprints that gave rise to techno-dance music, as well as Hip Hop.
About the Book:
A Personal Journey into Pop and Technological change in the last Fifty Years.
In Newspaper Boys Always Deliver, Gulesserian takes us on a captivating adventure by combining personal essays and historical insights for an enlightening look at how we got here, and the earlier inventions that paved the way for current cutting-edge technologies. While exploring pop-culture trends, unexpected impacts, and memorable moments in time, this collection of thought-provoking and humorous reflections paints a fascinating picture of the changes half a century can bring—and its implications for what could be just around the corner.
In just fifty years, Western culture has gone from culture to techno-culture—from the swinging sixties to rap, encyclopedia to Wikipedia, slide rule to artificial intelligence.
Newspaper Boys Always Deliver, shares a personal journey of how we got here, in a Book that delivers an eclectic plethora of knowledge, controversy and humorous entertainment in a newspaper format.
About the Author:
Joseph Gulesserian came of age during the seventies, and was exposed to many changing technologies with a career that has ranged from metallurgic to manufacturing, from business equipment to information technology, and brand creation.
After earning his MBA, he taught Corporate Finance, Marketing and Statistics as an adjunct professor at Toronto colleges, and in 2000 established a Toronto-based company that designs and produces health and beauty brands for both domestic and international markets.
Currently, Gulesserian lives in Toronto with his wife.
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Photo Credit: Pixabay