You'll have a gay old time

Club Kids. Meet the Club Kids. 
They're the post discotheque family.
From the heart of downtown,
They're a homage to the Factory. 

Let’s hear about the drug dealer they killed
Unsolved, through NYPD’s lassitude.

When you're with the Club Kids
you'll have a skrink-la-da time.
A slogger do time.
You'll have a gay old time. 

Never before have I felt the need to quote the Flintstones in order to properly review a book but then I've never read a book quite like Disco Bloodbath before. Which is a shame because this is a great book. Not just fabulous. Great.

James St. James tells the story of his life in the magical world of club kids and the murder of drug entrepreneur Angel Melendez by party maven and drug addict extraordinaire Michael Alig. The case was on every magazine and newspaper in New York in the mid 1990s because it was about murder (and we do love our murders in New York) and it "said something" about the wacky subculture of downtown. Brace yourself for some shocking news: some people who go to clubs take drugs. It gets worse: some people sell drugs at the very same clubs. Yes, this was supposedly a big revelation.

Reading Disco Bloodbath the shock isn't that drugs were a constant at clubs, or even that so much drugs were consumed. The shock is that more people didn't die. It's not just the landfill size portions of everything from heroin to special K to cocaine, it's that even a drug-induced grand mal seizure wasn't enough to persuade one's fellow party goers to call you an ambulance.

St. James has just the right bitchy, campy tone for this insane world. His wit isn't at odds with the material - a gruesome murder followed by dismemberment - it's a direct counterpoint to the sheer absurdity of it. He doesn't spare himself, he details his own drug addiction, his exploitation of other club denizens and his failure to go to the police after Alig confessed the murder to him. He doesn't go in for idealizing the victim either. St. James doesn't have many nice things to say about Melendez and its refreshing in the True Crime genre to have an author say that even non-saints don't deserve to die. He's particularly strong at pointing out how little the NYPD cared about solving this far from secret murder. Hispanic, gay, wing-wearing drug dealers didn't inspire any over time.

So, the wit, the tips on how to cook up some special K in your very own kitchen, the tips on make up, self-insight and a surprisingly clear-eyed view of a nasty world, Disco Bloodbath is a must read for any fan of True Crime.

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