It'd be lovely to be able to wish David Mancuso "happy birthday" over the phone or even in person, but as this is the first year when that's not possible, at least 20 October can be a day of remembering. It's a little surreal to think that if David were still around he'd be 73; it seems like only the other day that we were spending time together in London in the run-up to a Lucky Cloud Sound System party and David reflected on the milestone of having recently turned 64, that being a big birthday for any Beatles fan.
It's David's birthday so I had to pick out a picture with balloons, so here's a picture of David at the Light in London in 2007, almost certainly during preparations for our Lucky Cloud Sound System summer party. Below I'll paste a little book extract that opens with a reflection on "Loft time" before describing the importance of balloon's to David's party environment--an environment that, beginning in Japan and continuing on Second Avenue before it also took root in London, could travel (with care).
Love saves the day...
The absence of clocks contributed to the dance dynamic. In the everyday world the clock signifies the unstoppable forward movement of teleological time, but party time unfolds in a different dimension—thus Mancuso’s decision to print Salvador Dali’s melting watches on the Love Saves the Day invitation. When clocks are nowhere to be seen, time starts to dissolve, and this provided the dancers at the Loft with an opportunity to forget their socialized selves—the person who has to get up at a certain time, go to work at a certain time, take lunch at a certain time, leave work at a certain time, etc.—and experiment with a different cycle. "Once you walked into the Loft you were cut off from the outside world," says Mancuso. "You got into a timeless, mindless state. There was actually a clock in the back room but it only had one hand. It was made out of wood and after a short while it stopped working."
Time, though, didn’t simply stand still, but went into symbolic reverse thanks to Mancuso’s practice of decorating the Loft with hundreds and hundreds of balloons. "Everybody loves balloons and they don’t cost a million dollars," he says. "There were always lots and lots of balloons." The decor created a reassuringly familiar setting, drawing guests into the therapeutic and nostalgic domain of their childhood and the set-piece birthday party. "It was a childlike experience, not childish. You could let yourself go." Inflated with just the right amount of air and/or helium, the multicolored balloons either drifted just below the ceiling or bobbled along at chest height, encouraging dancers to participate in the creation of a bewildering display of Brownian motion. "It was a very safe environment. People could regain what might have been lost."
From Love Saves the Day: A History of American Dance Music, 1970-79, 24-25.