The Evenings of Certain Lives

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The image accompanying its description in the Radio Times in 1965

The Evenings of Certain Lives is the last[1] of the four Inventions for Radio created by Delia in 1965 in collaboration with Barry Bermange, in five movements, "An attempt to reconstruct with sounds and voices some of the hazards of growing old" in five movements.[2]

The programme is about life at a certain age, not at the extreme point when people ‘just give up and wait’ but, perhaps more poignantly, at the point where old age begins and the body just won't work like it used to and the eyes just won't see, the ears just won't hear, and the memory of what you were is dim.

The Evenings of Certain Lives is about the sense of isolation. And the private agony.[1]


We only know of two of the movements, one about Time and one about Seeing.


Sculptress of Sound clip 1
The Evenings of Certain Lives (clip 1) - Spectrogram.jpg

Sculptress of Sound clip 2
The Evenings of Certain Lives (clip 2) - Spectrogram.jpg


The Evenings of Certain Lives - Seeing - Spectrogram.jpg


  • First broadcast on the Third programme on the 15th September 1965 at 8.45[3][4] and repeated on October 5th. It was not included when the other three Inventions for Radio were rebroadcast in 1993.
  • It is on tape in the BBC Sound Archive as TRW 6351 on 4 reels: reels 1 and 2 contain the completed programme; 3 and 4 "Makeup - Speech Final".[4]
  • It is also on BBC tape TLO 537/918.[4]
  • The transcription copy was on TRW 6946[5] and a trailer on TRW 6372.[6] but the tapes are missing.
  • The last ten minutes of BBC cassette Third Words: The Radio Feature, in various libraries and on Attic tape DD003,[7] is either about, or contains extracts from this piece.
  • Two short clips from the above, the first two minutes ten seconds long and the second 11 seconds, were broadcast during the Sculptress of Sound radio programme.
  • The movement about Seeing was included in Stuart Maconie's Freak Zone broadcast Sun 23 May 2021 20:00].[2]
  • All four Inventions for Radio can be bought from Norman Records on 6 vinyl records for a mere two hundred pounds.


  1. 1.0 1.1 DD110010: A blowup of the Radio Times article in DD110002.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Stuart Maconie's Freak Zone broadcast on BBC Radio 6 on 23 May 2021 at 20:00 - 51 minutes into the programme.
  3. DD110002: A Radio Times clipping from September 9th, 1965 with The Evenings of Certain Lives at 8.45
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 The Tape Library List's entry for TRW 6351: "Evenings of Certain Lives".
  5. The Tape Library List's entry for TRW 6946: "Transcription copy - listening only. (Tape not found)"
  6. The Tape Library List's entry for TRW 6372: "Evenings of Certain Lives - Trailer (Tape not found)"
  7. DD003: A cassette tape labelled Third words: The Radio Feature 11/10/1996