Category Archives: Music

August 01

Jim Carroll: Punk and Poetry

On the 1st of August 1949, American poet and punk musician Jim Carroll was born in Manhattan, New York City. Initially a pupil at Catholic schools, in 1964 he won a scholarship to the elite Trinity School, where he starred at basketball. It is at Trinity that he took up writing and started experimenting with […]

July 19

Florence Foster Jenkins: The World’s Worst Singer?

On the 19th of July 1868, American amateur operatic soprano Florence Foster Jenkins was born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Jenkins had no sense of rhythm or intonation, yet she became highly popular during her time, making it eventually into Carnegie Hall, New York. Considering her lacking vocal abilities, she nevertheless appears to have taken herself seriously and […]

July 15

LSD and the Psychedelic Art Movement

On the 15th of July 1937, the American artist Wes Wilson was born in Sacramento, California. He is generally regarded as the pioneer of the psychedelic poster and inventor of the psychedelic font which made the letters look as if they were melting or floating. The style of the font was derived from a Viennese Secessionist style […]

July 03

Delia Derbyshire’s Dr Who: Feminism in Electronic Music?

On the 3rd of July 2001, British composer of electronic music and musique concrète (a form of electroacustic music) Delia Derbyshire died in Northampton, England. Alongside Daphne Oram and Maddalena Fagandini, she was one of the key female figures in the development of electronic music in the twentieth century. In 1962, she joined the BBC […]

June 05

Robert Docker and the ‘Heavy’ Issue of Light Music

On the 5th of June 1918, English composer, arranger and pianist Robert Docker was born in London. The son of a Paddington gas worker, Docker studied piano, viola and composition at the Royal Academy of Music in London. After serving in the army during World War II, he became a freelance musician, playing the piano, arranging broadcasting […]

June 01

Paco Peña: Flamenco and the Question of National Identity in Spain

On the 1st of June 1942, the Spanish Flamenco composer and guitarist Paco Peña was born in Córdoba, Spain. Regarded as one of the world’s foremost traditional Flamenco players, Peña began his professional career very early in life. He learnt playing the guitar at the age of six, and by twelve he made his first professional appearances. […]

April 13

Anti-Semitism in Handel’s ‘Messiah’?

On the 13th of April 1742, the famous English oratorio Messiah by George Frederic Handel was first performed in the New Music Hall on Fishamble Street in Dublin. Around seven hundred people attended its premiere, which was a charitable event organised in support of the Mercer’s Hospital in Stephen’s Street, and of the Charitable Infirmary […]