Clubbing from 1960-2020: A Retrospective Testimony in Ten Cities

Clubbing(the older ones among us might remember what this is) from 1960-2020 in “TenCities”

Clubbing has been a cherished activity among people of all ages across the world. In the past, clubbing was a way of life, where people had the right to the night, and it seemed almost like a civil right to controlled transgressions. However, with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, clubs had to voluntarily close their doors to counter the spread of the virus. This was an attempt at reason by an industry known for unreasonable behavior. But before the clubs shut down, people all over the world had already enjoyed clubbing culture and music from the 1960s to March 2020.

Enter “TenCities,” a comprehensive and bulky book that tells the story of clubbing culture in ten urban centers across Africa and Europe. From Nairobi, Cairo, Kyiv, Johannesburg, Berlin, Naples, Luanda, Lagos, Bristol to Lisbon, the book takes you on a trip down memory lane, where you’ll learn about the clubbing culture and music that evolved over the years.

The subtitle, “Clubbing in Nairobi, Cairo, Kyiv, Johannesburg, Berlin, Naples, Luanda, Lagos, Bristol, Lisbon,” already gives away that it will be a night trip to locations outside the main focus of attention when it comes to clubbing culture. However, Berlin seems to have made it to the list, and the other nine locations show the editor’s efforts to put together a more inclusive narrative. Each city portrait is not just a mere observation of the local club culture but also an intimate portrait of the respective city as club culture is created through society and shaped within decades. This evolution has been captured in words and impressive images, making “Ten Cities” a rich and fulfilling experience and shedding light on often overlooked culture in the shadow of the night.

Reading “TenCities” is like taking a trip back in time to the glorious days of club culture, which are now in the past. It is a bittersweet feeling that oozes out of every pore of every essay. The essays mostly mourn about a paradise lost, and the sheer amount of research invested in this fascinating time travel through club culture and recounting music history and subculture spaces within cities not necessarily known for their excessive nightlife, is awe-inspiring.

For anyone still looking for a Christmas present for their party posse, “Ten Cities” is the perfect choice. The book takes you on a trip down memory lane and captures the Zeitgeist of the past decades in memorable photos and thought-provoking essays. As the contemplation of the past inspires what the future might hold in store for clubbing, one thing is certain: COVID-19 might postpone it, but the party is not over.

“Ten Cities” is a manifesto of the right to the night and tells the story of clubbing culture and music in ten urban centers across Africa and Europe. The book, with its 21 essays, unique and diverse voices, photo sequences spanning various decades and playlists, is a comprehensive retrospective testimony of the evolution of club culture from the 1960s to March 2020. It is a must-read for anyone interested in the clubbing culture and the evolution of music.

Ten Citiesis available here: