The Delian Mode (film)

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DVD cover

The Delian Mode is a film by Kara Blake, an affectionate biography with many extracts of Delia's music and interviews with people who knew her.


I'd heard about the Radiophonic workshop and I said "Oh, I want to go there" but I was so keen! I went there on my days off, just observing, so that's where I learned about tape manipulation.

I was in Coventry yesterday for the Doctor Who convention and somebody very cleverly said to me, because they knew I was born and bred in Coventry, "Coventry born, bred and blitzed."

The air raid sirens. It's an abstract sound because you don't know the source of it as a young child. And then the all-clear. That's electronic music in those days.

After the Blitz, the worst Blitz, I was shifted off to Preston, which is where my parents came from. Well, I remember it myself: the sound of clogs on cobbles, you know, people going to the mill at six o'clock in the morning or something. That must be such an influence on me.

Even at school I had this great interest in sound, theory of sound. You know, the waves, the waves, the waves. I was quite a clever girl and was accepted to read mathematics at Cambridge, which was quite something for a working-class girl in the fifties, where only one in ten were female.

Clive Blackburn: In the end her degree was actually in mathematics and music so her approach to music was very mathematical. She used to plot out her tunes on pieces of graph paper, use a slide rule, you know. I mean, other people just didn't work like that. Other people just sat at the keyboard and played it.

Dick Mills: When she first came to the Workshop she rummaged along the bookshelves and said "Ooh! You've got this book!" and this book had a lot of tables in about frequencies. Anyway, she went through this book and she found masses of faults, of mistakes in the tables so she sat down and corrected all of those before she started.

Track list

The following pieces are used in the film: