|Swingers Local 724 "United and Hep"|
|Written by Swank Betty|
It’s wonderful to be idly wealthy. I learned this from the charming man who saved me from another night of watery broth and AM radio Sinatra, a man as different from me as any could be.
Samuel Gompers, forty year president of the then-fledgling American Federation of Labor, had many opportunities to be among the bluebloods of his day, but instead chose to rally people to a common cause. And while only a handful of fringe swingaholics would argue that the hep life is as noble a cause as the birth of worker’s rights, the two movements follow similar paths.
Where once we were shunned and ridiculed, driven to dingy backwater clubs full of battered furniture and people to match, we now inhabit New York’s Supper Club and Portland’s Crystal Ballroom. Our fashions, once motivated as much by financial necessity as by discerning taste, now permeate the mainstream. The music we love, for many years enslaved by Muzak™ and lounge acts, has become as ubiquitous as the horseless carriage.
And the people behind this Retro-lution are as different as could be.
While that charming, wealthy man was certainly not right for Mother Postal’s youngest, we’re still cordial, and I always grab his arm for "The Lady Is a Tramp," whether he knows the joke’s on him or not. What’s more important than arguing with his politics or thwarting his eager advances is keeping the thing that brought us together alive. Our shared enthusiasm for Indigo Swing’s "Ruby Mae," our inescapable need to give a physical presence to that bittersweet tune on an otherwise empty dancefloor, that’s the resonant chord that brought this day-trader and night-crawler together. Despite our differences we understand that it takes two to Charleston—and twenty couples to keep our favorite haunt open on Tuesday nights.
Our communal need to Bergman or Bogart, to Balboa and Shim-Sham, saps the funds of the wage-laborers among us and sends many to work or school with Wynonie Harris eyes.
Maybe that’s what keeps us all together. We’re too tired to waste energy bickering, and there aren’t enough Juke Joints in town (any town) to avoid everyone who chafes ya…or could it be that we’re just a better class of people?