Clip Job: an excerpt every day from the Voice archives.
October 15, 1958, Vol. III, No. 51
By Bill Manville
The problem is simple. Let’s say you got sick for a couple of days, or get an attack of Nodough, or fall in love for a week or two with an Uptown girl. The next thing you know, when you come into the White Horse, why you don’t recognize anyone, and no one recognizes you. No one yells: “Hey, there’s Harry, we’ve missed you, man!” No one you know is there to give you a chance to look around and say to the other Ins: “Say, who are all these tourists?” All the strangers at the bar are looking at you like you’re a tourist yourself, and to top it off, some of them are calling Ernie by name, and he knows theirs!.
This very transient, non-traditional aspect of Village life is of course what brought us here to begin with. But on the other hand, when you think of all the dough we’ve all invested in all the saloons around town, you’d think we’d have some right not to be taken for Fordham students out on Saturday night.
So the kindly editors of this newspaper have hired me to take care of the whole thing. We’re organizing Saloon Society, and we’ll have parties, tell which moving man has become an owner-driver, what marriages have busted up and made new people available, where the popular bartenders are working nowadays what new fads and numbers are currently hip. Like that.
Ira is getting his old map out, making it bigger and better. If you’re an In in Saloon Society, he’ll put a pin on the map with your name on it. And you just call in and say: “Ira, I’m at the Remo, or somewhere, with Frank Beerman, Julia Orynski, and Bill Fox.” And Ira will put all your pins together on the map at the Remo. The map will be kept in some public place like Louis’, so that all members of Saloon Society can come by and see where their friends are, and with whom, and be able to duck their ex-wives, and so on. And the Outs can see where they are—Nowhere.
And if you do something bad run away to the Bronx, or get seen hanging around the sidewalk in front of the coffee houses or something, Ira will come looking for you. He’ll march up to you in the Riviera, or wherever you next decide to show yourself in decent Society, and break your pin in half. Then he’ll silently hand the pieces to you: you’re off the map.
Anyway, it’s all starting. First, we got to define who gets in, or, rather who stays out. Because any Society is only as good as the people it excludes.
The way I see the scene is that just because you came to the Village in the Mayflower, or knew Edna Millay or like that–that’s nothing. We don’t care when you got here, as long as you clock a regular amount of saloon time, make the scene, like to flip, live it up, and understand that there is no tomorrow.
No dues, no meets, no drags at all. Guaranteed.
If you want to be In, just write me at The Voice, 22 Greenwich Avenue, and say why you qualify.
Or just tell me next time I see you around.
[Each weekday morning, we post an excerpt from another issue of the Voice, going in order from our oldest archives. Visit our Clip Job archive page to see excerpts back to 1956.]
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 27, 2008