Here is part 5 of the day the disco broke down
Now, the disco in Puglia is not your father’s club scene. This is Italy first and foremost, and we actually were living in a small villa at the epicenter of the summer disco onslaught; the beach town of Capitolo. Say this name to any Italian aged 19-31 and they immediately begin to groove in time with the music in their immediate memories, they will begin to drift in and out through the recollections of 3am make-out sessions on the beach, and will only snap back to reality with a vocal or physical jab!
Most folks out there have heard of the decadence in Rimini further north on the Adriatic, but Capitolo is no slouch with clubs alternating with pay beaches along 7km of coastline and cranking up the local decibel and traffic levels on par with an evacuation from Beirut. Our offices are in Monopoli and we were living in a villa in Capitolo and knew if we did not want to face traffic for upwards of 1-2 hours to drive 7km we had to be home from town by 9pm on Thursday-Saturday nights this summer. Not only do the clubs get packed with revelers during this season, but as is often the case in Italy during times of celebration or youthful exuberance the kids head for the streets on scooters, cars, heavy machinery, bikes, little red wagons, and of course loud, fast, motorcycles.
The motorcycle is the ultimate form of show in Italy as the opportunity to see and be seen at great speeds and with great pomp is unmatched. If you want to be king of the beach, roll into town in your box cut swimwear, shirtless with an unbelievable bronze tan (must be seen to be appreciated) on the back of your Ducati or Moto Guzzi with your helmet securely fastened to the back of the bike to show your appreciation for safety, and ride very slowly stopping to shout at a fellow bronze statue with sculpted abs that only Michelangelo could recreate or a muffin-topped ragazza with breast sizes admired and emulated by the world’s best surgeons. You can then make a few short gestures before accelerating and narrowly, but deftly avoiding a family of 5 as you jet back to work at the Bar 20 minutes late from your oh too short 3 hour lunch in order to make coffee for the old people who have come in from the beach bejeweled, sweaty, and in need of caffeine.
Once the Beach King finishes the next few hours of “dedicated” labor he rides home at breakneck pace in order to eat something very likely spectacular that Mamma has prepared and then it is off to the quiet solitude of the bathroom for the next hour to hour and a half to make the transformation from king of the beach to king of the club.
The Italian male is indeed king of the disco and in many ways I love this. In America, dancing is widely considered to be a feminine act and only in the presence of females are males perceived to have permission to dance. In essence, if you are a guy in America and hit the floor with other guys or without the required number of females present you could very likely be considered gay or perhaps a tool. Many closet dancers in America know the great secret that gay clubs are a safe haven to be free to express oneself on the dance floor without the scorn of friends or vacuous women.
The Italian disco kings do not possess our American hangups and dancing is widely considered to be celebratory and one of the principal reasons to attend a disco in the first place. Italian men are constantly seen dancing alone, with groups of friends, and also of course with women. However, you rarely see an Italian wallflower just standing in the corner making no effort to be cool while actually making every effort to be cool with only clothing, small gestures, and furtive glances.
The American disco king is a total punk, while the Italian disco king is very likely a dancing fool and this was precisely the reason we all wanted to celebrate this important birthday on a beach in Italy with the kings of groove without any fear that our desire to shake it would be misunderstood.