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Saloon Society

“Saloon Society, The Diary of a Year Beyond Aspirin” by Bill Manville

Buy the Kindle edition here:  Saloon Society

“The Permanent Residents of Saloon Society live three martinis closer to the moon than the rest of us.”


Purchase the Kindle edition here: Saloon Society

Book excerpt: a party in 1960, Saloon Society-style:

We’ll put one jug in the can, one in the bedroom, and scatter the rest around the whole ranch. No food, goddamn it. Keep the ice cubes in a big box as far away from the main liquor supply as possible—that’ll keep traffic moving. See, once they come in and sit down facing each other in a circle, your party’s dead.

Oh, no, you can’t let that circle form. ‘Oh, Mabel,’” he mimicked a woman’s voice, “‘do you like the steaks at Gristede’s? You ought to try the A&P. And Junior just began eating solids yesterday, isn’t that wonderful?

That’s the noose, man, don’t let them start that,” Kugel said, “don’t let them bunch up in one frightened corner; crowd the room, force them to talk to each other, but give them an excuse to get away from each other if they want, put the sick poets in one room and the politicals in another, make sure some girl locks herself in the can to have hysterics, keep pouring the booze, keep everyone smoking, tell lies, stop the clocks, pull the shades, make them be happy!”

*   *   *

First published in 1960, and now sought after by collectors, Saloon Society, The Diary of a Year Beyond Aspirin is now available  as a Kindle eBook, with the photography and text completely restored. Until now, Saloon Society could only be viewed by purchasing a collector’s copy, typically priced between $200 and $700. Buy the Kindle edition here: Saloon Society


From the inside cover of the original book jacket:

The Permanent Residents of Saloon Society live three martinis closer to the moon than the rest of us. They arrive on the scene like bursts of laughter —Lou the Ladies Man, Maggie Singleton, Perlman Pace, Big Mary, horn-rimmed men, pretty girls like showers of confetti, poets, Spanish waiters, sexual engineers, bustups, runaways, Ben Benton, A. E. Kugelman, Bill Manville.

Theirs is an almost possible world, an Up world, the world of Greenwich Village—that seacoast of Bohemia which remains a sun-battered, open, inviting strip despite the invasion, generation after generation, of do-gooders, little theaters, espresso drinkers, tourists, nuts, sandal wearers, and, most recently, the poor Beats.

Saloon Society still stages eight-day parties, uses kitchens for ash trays, fights the Sunday neurosis, and pokes fun at psychoanalysts, crusaders, rent payers, and citizens. The members of Saloon Society live in a world where there is no tomorrow, where the jugs of bourbon pour like sunshine, where the cigarette smoke is thick as dreams, where one rockets through the heightened moments of life.

New York Times book review of Saloon Society, from Oct 30, 1960.



Bill on the stairs

Bill Manville, Greenwich Village, 1960

Bill Manville 1960 Inside Jacket

BILL MANVILLE began his writing career in the classic manner: advertising copywriter on Madison Avenue by day, and author of a weekly column for the Village Voice (Saloon Society –later published in hard and soft cover) which he wrote after nights of drinking.  With money from his first book contract, he quit his job and sailed for Europe, becoming London-based Contributing Editor for Helen Gurley Brown at Cosmo.

Other books by Bill Manville include, Breaking Up, Goodbye (Book of the Month Club selection), Palace of Money. Bill also published a book of cartoons – Am I Too Heavy, Dear? – written in collaboration with artist Jim Wright.

After giving up drinking twenty years ago, he published his first non-fiction book, Cool, Hip & Sober: 88 Ways to Beat Booze and Drugs.  And what grew out of that is “Addictions & Answers,” originally a call-in radio show, and now a weekly column which, along with the eminent Dr. David Moore, Bill writes for the New York Daily News.


The text of Saloon Society is augmented, complemented, supplemented by the mood, and mystery of DAVID ATTIE’s photography. The result is a superb wedding, an even greater density of experience, the almost palpable “feel” of these people, in this place, at this time. David Attie’s work appeared in many magazines, including Vogue, Holiday, and Glamour.  He authored “Russian Self-Portraits” (1978)  and co-authored “Portrait: Theory” (1981). Attie was a student of Alexey Brodovitch (below).

David Attie

Attie’s photography and art from Saloon Society

Cover artTiffany lampSpring

David Attie’s Vogue cover from February 1959. Prints available from Conde Nast.

Vogue - February 1959 Premium Photographic Print



File:Alexey Brodovitch.jpg

ALEXEY BRODOVITCH is most famous for being Art Director for Harper’s Bazaar from 1938  to 1958.  Students of Brodovitch’s Design Laboratory included Richard Avedon, as well as David Attie.

More on Brodovitch:

Books by Alexey Brodovitch

Wikipedia on Brodovitch

Iconographics Brodovitch page


The difficult task of converting the original Brodovitch-designed hardcover book into an eBook was performed expertly by Inanna Arthen

One Comment Post a comment
  1. Bill Manville passed away suddenly on February 14, 2017. He will be greatly missed by readers, writers and, most of all, by his many students.

    March 5, 2017

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