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This page collects insights into Delia's character, which appears to correlate with Asperger's Syndrome: a touch of autism that gives high intelligence, an ability to concentrate on one specialized topic indefinitely but a difficulty in social relations with so-called 'normal' people.


At age four or five she was teaching others to read and write

"Even at the age of thirteen she was an accomplished pianist, and played our piano faultlessly in spite of my picking out all the complicated bits I could find on the sheet music available."[1]


Social life in London

Professionally frustrated and fuelled by increasing amounts of alcohol, Delia plunged into the party scene of Swinging Sixties London. Tall, stick-thin and elegant, she had the sharp beauty of the era. Always dressed from Biba or in the latest Mary Quant, her Vidal Sassoon-D inspired auburn bob topped by a bakerboy cap, she was an often intimidating, argumentative figure in the corner of the party, glass in hand.

Even her penchant for snuff didn't deter her admirers. Dazzled by her talent and her beauty, men and women found her irresistible. With the casual morality of the time, she had a string of lovers, many of them younger. Some lasted a night, some longer. She had a tantalising encounter with Yoko Ono before Yoko's relationship with John Lennon who approached her to produce sounds to accompany her artwork. 'Yoko was sleeping on her studio floor,' recalls Clive. 'I don't know who else was there and the idea of having an orgy came up. They were all egging each other on but in the end Yoko backed out of it.'[2]


She worked very hard to achieve the effect that she wanted," explains former partner Clive Blackburn, "she was a perfectionist and it was very hard to get her to stop work on a piece when she thought that it could still be improved, even though it sounded absolutely fine to other people."[3]

Brian Hodgson said that he "often had to copy tapes or hide them before Delia attempted to wipe them and start over again." Once she had worked through her precision, Delia "used the analyses to build [her pieces] from the ground up."[3]

"It’s said that Derbyshire always kept a book of logarithm tables in her back pocket."[4]

- composing singing on bicycle (Christine Edge article?)

- getting lost cycling round London

- bursts of anger

Later life

- two mittens with rum and brandy "my warmers"


  1. Graham Harris in the Delia_Derbyshire:_A_Personal_Tribute
  2. The Mail on Sunday article
  3. 3.0 3.1 [ The Bouquet That Keeps On Giving: Delia Derbyshire's Fiber-Optic Flowers
  4. Variations on the Dr Who theme] at