LuRain Penny – A Soft Spot for Swing, part 1.

Miss Penny in the 40's

 Pipes of Pan brought the Walls of Jericho down.- LuRain Penny 

My favorite music is Swing.

This genre peaked from ’35 to 1940.

Don’t stick me to dates, cuz I forgot them years ago.

 It arose from the despair of the Great Depression.

Unabashedly innocent, clever, and optimistic.

Wind instruments figured predominantly. Squealing with glee.

The Universe vibrates celestial strings.

Horn is the call of the wild.

Of all the worlds’ instruments – the blowing, rattling and drumming ones come in the most sexy shapes.

I could live on Sax, with a Double Bass chaser.


The name –‘Swing’  –  has all sort of musical explanation as to dotted rhythms and shuffle.

I don’t begin to understand. I am an instinctual musician.

Swing is a time-period to me.

After the Great Depression to The Second Big War.

We all had enough of Sturm und Drang – which means shit and shit in German.

Calamity culls, after which is Creation.

Everybody has an idea for something at once and society starts humming along again.

Lots of money to be made off disaster.


American music evolved from Spiritual to Ragtime, Dixie to Swing.

Swing music had baroque exhuberance and informality, so different from the proceeding styles.

Improvisation, which is my favorite way of working,

became essential to the development of Swing, epitomized by solos andScat.

It started as musicians’ music, grew into Big Band –

ended up sound-tracking Hollywood movies, overwhelmed by violins.


When I was a kid, movies taught me that many folks were living a lot better than me.

Life was fun on film; full of dancing, singing and love.

I developed what they call now a fantasy life.

Back then, we knew it as daydreaming.

Men abused me in the real world.

Better to love from afar.

After all, the best place for your sex life is in your mind.

Then you can do it with anyone you want, no muss, no fuss, anytime, anywhere.


My first fascinational love was Sidney Bechet; naturally enough, a Horn player.

That’s him pictured above.

I met him once on the 20th Century, in the club car.

I was on my way to Chicago. Just a teenager; shy and brash simultaneously.

An awkward combination bound to get me in trouble.

I lucky not to be good looking in any shape or stretch. Only victimizers and rescuers paid any attention.

I knew how to be anonymous if I wanted to.

Lo, when my drinking boots was on; I shouldered up to center stage.

At such moments, a very funny drunk.

I feasted on rapt attention. Then went right for the jugular.

My encore often landed me in the street.

Walking away, best I could – with dim hope of getting somewhere safe before morning.


The night I met Sidney, I had no money and didn’t feel like hustling.

I was on my way out of town for the first time in my short life to get my dead Mamas’ things.

My father, who’d I never seen before till then, give me the money for a ticket but nothing more.

I was dazed, numb – suffering from the post trauma symptoms.

Heard about that on Oprah.

On the BBC, they said, the DNA, which is all our personal information, is changed by everything;

from orgasm to catastrophe.

It is like that rubics-cube; combinations re-calibrating from sickness to health.

By putting our minds to getting them codes in a better order,

we might be able to cure ourselves of disease, body and soul.

In those days, the enlightenment of this knowledge was beyond my imagining.

Life stunk – didn’t trust anybody as far as I could piss.

This made me defensively offensive, and vice in reverse.

Right off, the drummer comes over.

But that’s another story……


Swing music, ah yes, and the era that danced to it.

Fred Astaire was my second unrequired love. I fell for his genius.

Perfect timing, defiance of gravity, and androgyny; which mean beyond sex in my connotation.

He was simply perfection.


Today is my birthday, or so I imagine. Adding and subtracting has confused me.

In celebration, the lady I live with put together a Fred Astaire retrospective.

Silk Stockings and You’ll Never Be Rich.

They bring back memory to me more clearly than months of hypnosis ever could.

Swing is viscerally embedded in my psyche.

Youth re-lived in the comfort of my own chaise.

What a tale it is.






Thanks for stopping by - let me know you've come!

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s