April 9, 2013

Delia Derbyshire: Once a Queen of Narnia?

I recently came across this photo of Delia Derbyshire and Daphne Oram just hanging out at a party it would seem. I was excited because it's the most recent photo I've seen of Delia --I've actually never seen a photo of her that wasn't in black & white. Isn't it amazing that this is what electronic music wizards used to look like? Where did we go wrong? I also came across this quote from Delia that I thought was rather interesting:

I came from - what they’d like to call themselves - an upper working class Catholic background in Coventry. I was there in the blitz and it’s come to me, relatively recently, that my love for abstract sounds [came from] the air-raid sirens: that’s a sound you hear and you don’t know the source of as a young child… then the sound of the “all clear” - that was electronic music. I mentioned the Catholic bit: I was taken to benediction as a child and it was all in Latin -plain song hymns in an abstract language. After the worst Blitz I was shifted to Preston, where my parents came from. It’s only today that I’ve realised that the sound of clogs on cobbles must have been such a big influence on me - that percussive sound of all the mill workers going to work at six o’clock in the morning."
Delia Derbyshire

It got me thinking.... Delia would have been just the right age to have been sent away to live with a professor during the war and potentially find doors to other worlds through wardrobes (...or whatever). It would certainly explain her "otherworldly" sensibilities.  Here's a photo of a young Delia in here would be Narnia days:



  1. oh! that's a marvelous thought!

    A whole different story, with different adventures. After all, we must all live our own, but still, just as magical and wondrous.. (and I bet the little sounds from here and there would be so important)

  2. oh, well, hi! This was a while ago, and I'm a little bit ashamed at how long it took me, but when you made this post I started working on something based on it, and I've finally finished it today.

    I tried my best to make her look alike the photo of her you posted, though I must admit I let my imagination go with everything else. Hope you like it!