When I was eleven years old. My favourite music to listen to was Glen Miller. I don't recall how I first heard him - probably on telly or the radio in my Nan's house one Sunday. He was the first musician I was really into. Just the sound of his band...It lifted me out of myself. The first music I ever purchased was on cassette in Bojangles, Sheaf Street, Daventry. It was a best of Glen Miller and a compilation of performances he made for radio during the second world war. I think it was In The Mood that got me into him - the blues has always run deep for me, but that's another story. I loved Chattanooga Choo Choo, Tuxedo Junction and Pennsylvania 65000; I Got A Gal In Kalamazoo. Those places sounded imaginary to me. Kalamazoo: just the name of that city made me want to visit there.
Far and away my favourite tune though was Moonlight Serenade. I could never exactly put my finger on why I loved the tune so much. It ached with sad resignation; some kind of yearning feel that made it seem otherworldly. It spoke to something inside me that I was definitely feeling but couldn't articulate. I was having a weird old time of it in those days: at home, at school...
Even if I hear it now, I'm compelled to stop whatever I might be doing. It sends me into a weird reverie that evokes visions of two lovers parting a là Brief Encounter; black and white images of my grandparents at ballroom dances during the war. Once I understood the tragic circumstances of his demise, it reinforced for me the bitter sweetness of this beautiful tune.