Trivia Question for New Year’s Eve

What character figured in the lives of both John Cage and James Bond? (I’ll refrain from posting any answers until there are several right ones, as there are bound to be.)

[UPDATE] As five of you came up with in eight hours: Goldfinger. Ernö Goldfinger, the architect with whom Cage studied in Paris, was Ian Fleming’s model for the villain Auric Goldfinger. Fleming altered many personal characteristics (the fictional Goldfinger was 14 inches shorter), but both were naturalized emigrés who liked fast cars, and the architect Goldfinger was a Marxist who had worked for the Soviet cause, which enhanced the connotation of villainy in the cold war era. Ernö Goldfinger started to sue, but settled for abundant disclaimers added to the book. That in turn enraged Fleming, who threatened to change the name to “Goldprick” in revenge. The biggest inconvenience the real Goldfinger suffered seems to have been prank calls from people claiming to be 007. (From Nigel Warburton’s biography Ernö Goldfinger – The Life of an Architect)

Ben Harper shot back the answer within seconds. Other answers showed considerable originality, and I got a big laugh out of the idea of Cage’s book M being about Bond’s boss.

Happy New Year. If you need to insult a composer at a party tonight, here’s an old classic: 

“Your music will be played after Mozart’s and Beethoven’s is forgotten. And not before.”

Last three words sotto voce as needed.


  1. Stephen Lumenta says

    This might be quite far out: Buckminster Fuller.
    The domes in the Eden project near Cornwell, which were used in some James Bond “Die another day” scenes, are inspired by Fuller. And yes, John Cage was an avid reader of him.

  2. says

    Ben H. beat you to it. I swear, this Internet thing makes originality impossible. (God only knows how many brilliant ideas I’ve unwittingly arrived at second or third. I’m usually too nervous to check.)

  3. says

    I didn’t expect to be first! Daniel, was Fleming’s use of Goldfinger’s name antisemitic? I don’t remember G’s biographer mentioning it when discussing the incident – IIRC Goldfinger was nothing but a name to Fleming before writing the novel, having mutual friends but not met. Fleming seems to have been pretty indiscriminate (no pun intended) in adopting the names of his friends and acquaintances for goodies and baddies alike.