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"Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night
" was the title of a 1976 New York Magazine
article by British
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...
rock journalist Nik Cohn
Nik Cohn is a British rock journalist, born in London in 1946. He was brought up in Derry, in the North of Ireland, the son of historian Norman Cohn and Russian writer Vera Broido...
. It was the basis for the plot and characters in the movie Saturday Night Fever
Saturday Night Fever is a 1977 drama film directed by John Badham and starring: John Travolta as Tony Manero, an immature young man whose weekends are spent visiting a local Brooklyn discothèque; Karen Lynn Gorney as his dance partner and eventual friend; and Donna Pescow as Tony's former dance...
Originally, the article was published as a piece of factual reporting. However, around the time of the twentieth anniversary of the film, Cohn revealed that the article was actually a work of fiction. Assigned to write an article about the early 1970s disco
Disco is a genre of dance music. Disco acts charted high during the mid-1970s, and the genre's popularity peaked during the late 1970s. It had its roots in clubs that catered to African American, gay, psychedelic, and other communities in New York City and Philadelphia during the late 1960s and...
scene, Cohn, a newcomer to the United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...
, was unfamiliar with the American working-class subculture he was trying to cover.
To overcome this problem, Mr. Cohn based his piece on a young man he knew in England. "My story was a fraud," he wrote. "I'd only recently arrived in New York. Far from being steeped in Brooklyn street life, I hardly knew the place. As for Vincent, my story's hero, he was largely inspired by a Shepherd's Bush
-Commerce:Commercial activity in Shepherd's Bush is now focused on the Westfield shopping centre next to Shepherd's Bush Central line station and on the many small shops which run along the northern side of the Green....
mod whom I'd known in the Sixties, a one-time king of Goldhawk Road." The fraud was successful because mod and disco subcultures shared certain similarities, both emphasized fashion and music, and both the US and UK characters were working class.