Published: 19 February 2010
by ROISIN GADELRAB
MYSTERY surrounds the tragic death of a former indie music star whose body was found on rail tracks 30 miles from her home in Angel.
British Transport Police are appealing for information after Gena Dry, who lived in Liverpool Road, was discovered near Burnham station in Berkshire just before 11.30am last Thursday.
It is believed that she may have boarded the 10.25am service from Chippenham to London Paddington.
Ms Dry, 46, was a former member of Colour Noise, and was the A&R manager for Virtual London, part of the online virtual reality world, Second Life.
Police are treating her death as unexplained but not suspicious.
Last night the Tribune spoke to her neighbour Oliver Jones, 30, a film animator. Mr Jones said he knew something was wrong when police arrived at the flat last Thursday and broke down her door.
“But they wouldn’t tell me what was wrong,” he added. Mr Jones said that up until recently she had always appeared bubbly and enthusiastic. “We’d discuss our respective work and talk about our ideas,” he said. “But in the past couple of weeks she looked a little down and depressed. I thought maybe it was just the cold weather.”
Her uncle, Tim Dry, is planning a musical memorial in tribute. Mr Dry, who described Gina as his “soul mate”, is hoping to bring together figures from his niece’s musical past for a celebration of her life.
He said yesterday (Wednesday): “I’ll be organising a tribute to Gena sometime in the next month so I want to find a venue, one she played at, and invite all the musicians she played along with to come and play Gena’s music as a celebration.”
He said he has mixed the track Ms Dry was working on and is planning on completing the video she had started.
Mr Dry, a mime artist and photographer, who appeared in Star Wars, said: “She was so well loved by so many people. I will endeavour to get this off the ground however long it takes. I feel my job is to commemorate her.”
Ms Dry described herself on her website as the daughter of a Hungarian aristocratic mother who fled to Britain after the Hungarian Revolution.
She was raised and lived in London and studied jazz and popular musicianship at Goldsmiths College. In 1996, she was asked to be a judge at the Brit Awards and more recently set up Yes! You Can Sing! business, teaching signed recording artists. She wrote Bathtub Singing – How To Sing If You Think You Can’t and a children’s story about the voice called The Voice Box Genie.
Her work with Second Life involved bringing music, art and fashion from the real world into the online community.
New York anti-folk singer Lach, who met Ms Dry when she first arrived in New York to play his venue Sidewalk Cafe, said she soon became part of the anti-folk scene.
He said: “Do it. Those two words are Gena. Wish you could play a gig in New York? Do it. Buy the ticket. Wish you had a your own website? Do it. Wish you had your own TV show? Make it happen. Do it.”
He added: “Gena and I were together when the World Trade Towers were destroyed. She came over to my place, a lost little English bird. We were all dazed, confused and scared. But, soon enough, she was back up, building, creating, challenging fate.
“The last time I saw Gena was this summer when she interviewed me for her virtual world broadcast. I challenged her to a ‘strip interview’. Every time either of us felt the interview was hitting a lull we’d have to take off an article of clothing. She didn’t bat an eye...and I lost.”
Lach said he had planned to work with Ms Dry during his future visits to London, adding: “Sadly, that’s not going to happen. But I never would be coming to the UK, to be touring there every year for a decade, to be playing the Edinburgh Fringe Fest this coming summer if it wasn’t for Gena.
“At our first NYC brunch together many years ago I told her I wished I could tour in the UK, as if it were a far-off, impossible dream. She looked me in the eye and said, ‘Buy the airplane ticket and go. It’s not a big mystery. Just... do it’.”
A statement from Ms Dry’s family read: “Gena was a talented musician, singer-songwriter and music teacher who enjoyed the admiration and love of a large circle of private and professional friends and acquaintances.
“Her life came to an abrupt end on 11 February, 2010.
“We, as her family, hope that some light can be shed on her final movements so we can begin to come to terms with our unbearable sadness.”
British Transport Police officers say they attended Burnham station after the driver of the 11.15am Paddington to Cardiff Service reported Ms Dry on the tracks. A BTP spokesman said: “It is unclear whether or not Ms Dry was alive prior to this occurring.”
Investigating officer Detective Inspector Mark Barton said: “At present the incident remains unexplained and we are working to establish how Gena came to be on the line and her movements beforehand. We would particularly like to hear from anyone who may have been travelling on the London-bound train or who saw Gena in the vicinity of Chippenham station earlier that morning.”
Ms Dry is described as about 5ft 7in tall, with distinctive shoulder-length red hair. She was wearing a black and white check coat, dark trousers, black plimsolls and white socks and was carrying a tan shoulder bag. Anyone with information can contact BTP on 0800 40 50 40 and quote incident 190 of 11/02/2010.