Lifestyle, Ludotheque

Clubs: from caves to neon lights

Acoustic and music technology experts from the University of Huddersfield in the UK have declared that the Neolithic monument of Stonehenge could have been used in prehistory as a cultural area dedicated to music and dance.

Silvio González

The oldest monolith of heavy rocks in the world with over five thousand years of history is now being investigated by a number of scientists for the secrets that it still hides.

They have come to the conclusion that the enigmatic Stonehenge once held the first gatherings of people eager to listen to music and to dance.  It can therefore be considered as the first club that we have heard of.

The vertical and horizontal positioning of the rock columns, located in an area with excellent acoustics, could have been used as a place to amplify sounds and create the first demonstrations of what we now know of as music.

They further convince us that the sound produced then was similar to the sounds we get today when you run your fingertips around the rim of a crystal glass, and was well received by the first men on the planet.

A form of enjoyment

The Nazi occupation of Paris started on the 14th June 1940 and Hitler’s troops did not waste time in closing the raucous evening cabarets that took place where jazz bands made up of African American musicians played.

Immediately, small covert evening bars and clubs started to arise which required passwords and membership cards for their clients, and repeatedly changed address.

It was a new way of passing ones time which in France was called a ‘discothèque’, literally meaning ‘a music library’.

With the end of the German occupation in 1944, these establishments flourished astonishingly and a businessman called Paul Pacine founded a club called Whiskey au Go Go.

The United States entered the Golden Age of the radio at the start of the 40’s, when according to a researcher called David Haslam, the radio broadcasters started to promote publicity and music, as well as reading out the news.

The current day

Klaus Quirini

In 1959 the manager of a restaurant called Scotch Club in Germany decided to change everything and convert it into a much more profitable business.

He removed the live band for being too costly and instead put on music records, from which arose the Jockey Tanz Bar; it was nothing more that the old Scotch Club, reborn with a new business concept.

At its inauguration the clientele looked bored, but amongst those present there was a young local journalist who accepted the challenge of entertaining the public.

His name was Klaus Quirini and his proposal was that of a different kind of music, played as a combination of several songs in quick and random succession, making him the first ever Disc Jockey.

The model of Jockey Tanz Bar was exported to other countries but it was in the United States that it really peaked as they needed a market to accommodate the diversity of cultures and immigrants that existed then.

This new form of evening diversion, brought to the US by the soldiers who returned from Germany and the immigrants who arrived with an entrepreneurial spirit, developed a unique character for these entertainment venues in America.

One of the first was Le Club, in New York, which opened in 1960.  It was owned by a French immigrant and you had to be a wealthy member to enter or, failing that, to be accompanied by a member.

Other famous clubs which developed at that time were the Peppermint Lounge (1958 – 1965), where many famous people went to dance and drink.

They provided a new concept in a seductive main attraction of the beautiful ‘Go Go Girls’ who danced on the bar and stage.

It was an Australian group called the Bee Gees who were the face of this type of music and had songs on the soundtrack for the film Saturday Night Fever.

This broke all of the cinematic and musical records, and came to make up the style of Studio 54 and other famous clubs in New York at the time.

Studio 54

Opened on the 26th April 1977 and found on 54th Street on Manhattan’s West Side, in New York, the club Studio 54 became the favourite from the very start and the most famous on a global level.

Being allowed admission took on a very important characteristic with hundreds of people flocking to be selected to enter and to be able to photograph the famous people who were invited.

The organisers acted against those with drugs who went beyond alcohol and led to dangerous behaviour.

In the club a gallery could be found in a higher section where sexual encounters of all sorts took place.

The barmen used underwear in a provocative manner and so went from being employees to mere sexual objects in order to attract clients.

There were no rules of conduct, or dress codes and there was capacity for people of any sex, race or religion.

Another characteristic of this nightclub, which closed in March 1980, reopened and closed again, is that it prolonged the excitement of the audience; there were no longer a series of songs to listen to, but one continuous flow of music to create more excitement.(PL)

(Translated by Emily Russell – email: er@tisef.com)

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