What’s Her Name?

Book: Black Swan Green

Author: David Mitchell

Music: Virginia Plain

Composer/Artist: Roxy Music

This is where my childhood clashes with my grown-up professional life. Brian Eno was an essential part of early Roxy Music, including playing on this driving 1973 song from the Bryan Ferry-led band. Ferry has a wonderful voice and style and went on to a successful but fairly conventional career in rock and pop. Eno, however, went in another direction and if James Brown is the “Godfather of Soul,” Eno is the “Godfather of Ambient.” One of Eno’s early and signature works is Music for Airports. Besides Eno’s own recording, another notable recording of the work was released on Cantaloupe Music by Bang on a Can All-Stars. My job over the past eight years or so has brought me into contact with key Bang on a Can (BoaC) figures, composer and BoaC founder David Lang and composer, clarinettist, and then BoaC member Evan Ziporyn. Both were generous, friendly, intellectually and emotionally deep, and extremely down-to-earth. I liked them very much. Watching Roxy Music – bedazzled with glittery eye-shadow and sequins (them not me, that wouldn’t have been well-received in rural Ireland then – or now) – performing Virginia Plain on Top of the Pops more than 40 years ago echoed down the decades …

What’s her name, Virginia Plain.

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