Back home, in Harlem building where M. lived on the sixth floor, he turned on the stereo and put on a bulky pair of headphones. A few weeks before, for his eleventh birthday, his hip mother bought him a copy of Brian Eno’s strange debut Here Comes the Warm Jets.
“He’s way better than Elton John,” she said as he stared baffled at the album cover. Knee deep in his David Bowie, Kiss, Queen phase, he had never heard of Eno, but dug his hair and mascara. The warm buzzing guitar soaring through the title track like a fighter jet frightened him.
It took a few listens before his young mind started to comprehend Eno’s bugged-out brain. The man was crazy, no doubt, M. thought as epic guitars glided between majestic notes, lyrics slowly faded in, incoherent babble was buried in the music. What M. could understand, at least to his Catholic sensibilities, appeared to have spiritual undertones.
“Father, we make prayers on our knees,” the voice murmured. “Dawn enter here, for we've nowhere to be, nowhere to be, nowhere to be. Father drowned we're on our saints/paid to appease though we've nothing these days, nothing these days.”
From the moment M. heard "Here Come the Warm Jets," airplanes and prayers were eternally connected in his head. Years later, when he was the music critic for Blur magazine, he wrote an essay on Eno that a few people read, but he still believed was brilliant.