"Sammy Duddy, who died on October 17 aged 62, had a rather unusual curriculum vitae for a member of the Loyalist paramilitary Ulster Defence Association in having been a drag artiste who went by the stage name of Samantha."
On Amazon.com I raved: "A history of 20th century music with the history left out, thankfully. Ross writes vividly about specific compositions and imparts his enormous enthusiasm. Everyone who dips into this book will compile a list of works to hear. His avidity is a model for other listeners: he approaches Metataseis with the same eager expectation of enjoyment as the Firebird. And happily his enthusiasm is focused solely on the music--the ideologies, manifestoes, movements and politics of 20th century classical music he approaches with extreme scepticism. He is especially good at teasing apart a composer's words from a composer's music. Naturally he has preferences: he provides several full-length portraits of Strauss and Stravinsky at different points in their long careers, and movingly profiles Shostakovich and Britten, but Schoenberg and Cage appear more as instigators than artists, and Boulez is given up as an obnoxious enigma. But overall, I can't imagine a better guide. While modernism in the visual arts has been pretty much embraced by culture at large (e.g. the crowds at MOMA or Tate Modern), musical modernism, the tradition of 20th century classical music, has not. Whatever the explanation, Alex Ross thinks it's a shame that more people don't know it and love it. He certainly loves it, and it's prompted some of the best writing on music since Bernard Shaw."
I didn't mention that thanks to Ross I'm deep into a Gyorgy Kurtag kick, which probably makes my neighbors pine for the previous Ross-induced Morton Feldman mania.