Bill Manville Goes Underground


Clip Job: an excerpt every day from the Voice archives.

November 2, 1961, Vol. VII, No. 2

Saloon Society

By Bill Manville

A sweet girl wrote to The Voice last week, asking why I didn’t write for the paper regularly any more. And I’ve been wondering myself. The answer is, even with something I enjoy as much as I do writing this column, my pattern is beginning excitement, summer’s full noon, decay. And out.

And so I knocked off for a while, to do some other kind of writing. I also got off the saloon circuit; threw out my old clothes and bought new; changed my phone number. Underground City. I’d wake up, drink ice-cold coke and scalding coffee in alternate gulps; go to the movies 10 a.m. Why? Because I had never done any of these things before.

New York, you can always turn on a new scene when you need it. One day, you find you know nobody but anarchistic Bulgarian typewriter mechanics. Then, excitement, sfn and d — and suddenly you’re running with people who go to tea dances incessantly. And next month? World after world after world. (My friend A.E. Kugelman once used to go around, briefly, with photographic models. I asked him why he stopped. “I got tired of telling them: ‘Close your mouth dear. No, no, take your finger out first.'”)

Anyway, things are changing and what form this column will take next is beyond me at the moment (though I will continue it). Organization, disorganization, reorganization. You go through it again and again, hoping you’re spiraling up to some more complex integration. But you get lonely and worried in between…

[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 January 7, 2009


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