Close To My Heart


Close to my Heart RGS 9473

Beggars Opera CTMH lyric 


A collection of progressive rock love songs, that range from the tender to the surreal. At some point in our lives we have loved or fallen out of love, experienced attachment or abandonment and lived to tell the tale. Beggars Opera have drawn inspiration from the limitations and restrictions of living with electrosensitivity, a condition from which Ricky Gardiner has suffered since 1995. This has proved a fertile ground for invention, new possibilities and techniques which are perhaps more related to contemporary art than to rock but nevertheless resulted in the song you hear now.(see Decode Interview) An electrically sensitive person has to have distance and be shielded from all computing and electrical devices. Imagine if you could not sit next to your processors! Therefore every day is a challenge and life on the edge of the unpredictable demands constant foresight and vigilance. There can be no guarantees and no goals, therefore by default each project becomes an adventure, with NO apparent control over the outcome. A kind of liberation resulted from this unimaginable restriction, but the creative process is inevitably extremely slow.


Mrs Caligari’s Lighter Review

Beggars Opera Mrs C lyrics

Mrs Caligari’s Lighter
RGS 9494



‘This is an astounding album from Beggars Opera, frequently tumbling into creative and musical genius! Listening to it feels as if progressive rock has finally had its ragged edges polished off to form an outstanding artefact of new musical and emotional perfection.

That certainly doesn’t mean the album lacks life… it’s as alive and full of variety as music can get: a wild swirl of prog rock excitement, funky rhythms, great experimental music touches, slightly-tongue-in-cheek horror references, gentle melodic magic and soft, subtle emotion. The richness in the album is astonishing, with searing, lyrical and sometimes raunchy guitar work from Ricky Gardiner, amazingly complex percussion from Tom Gardiner, and subtly complicated compositions, loops and arrangements by Virginia Scott, whose compelling vocals and sparse, poetic lyrics are at times curious, at times eerie, and at times hypnotically beautiful.

The rhythmically high-energy tracks make a great foil to the softer, more lyrical compositions and the latter somehow manage to bridge the usually unbridgeable gap between experimentation and addictive ‘listenability’. Each time I have played the album I’ve wakened the following morning to find fragments of lyric and melody from the album drifting pleasantly through my waking brain and reappearing throughout the day.

The Comforter”, “Love is Just a Torrent”, “How Long Before the Machine Rusts?” and “So Long” are especially evocative and mesmeric. “Love is Just a Torrent” is simply one of the most beautiful and heartfelt love songs ever produced, and the poignant and stunning composition “So Long” is a work of musical genius… simultaneously original, complex, hauntingly emotive and, surprisingly, almost commercial due to its deep melodic lyricism.

In Mrs Caligari’s Lighter, Beggar’s Opera have taken prog rock, given it a good dusting off, dismantled and cleaned its workings, added clever new parts, and placed a gleaming, more powerful motor inside its engine compartment.’

Colin Macfarlane 2012

If We Couldn’t Speak

RGS 9495 2013

Beggars Opera IWCS lyrics


4 Long progressive art rock tracks, from the Mrs Caligari’s Lighter sessions, on the outer limit of Beggars Opera surrealism: through the unearthly soundscapes of Ricky Gardiner’s powerful sing song guitar and mixes, Virginia Scott’s sound-speak vocals keys-synth- mellotron impastos, Tom Gardiner’s hypnotic drum lobs to densely orchestrated sound samplet extured song lyric of relentless inner preoccupations.

Ricky Gardiner: Guitar and mix
Virginia Scott: Keys and Vox
Tom Gardiner: Drums

01/ Inverary Avenue
02/ Infringed Love
03/ Glasgow Hill
04/ If We Couldn’t Speak

Miss Gardiner: Beggars Opera Bees/ Promise In Motion Review

Promise In Motion RGS 9486


Go wireless de/electrify
Offset your carbon footprint
Activate your microwave shadow de/electrify

The disappearance of the honey bees
Is a mystery far from being solved
And some people say
If honey bees disappear so will we

The greatest suspect of this tragedy
Is cell phone mast harmful radiation
And Einstein said
If honey bees disappear so will we

(The Bees)
Colony collapse disorder we’ve lost our way
Colony collapse disorder
Tell me how we find our way home please
Tell me how we find our way home
When our electro communication is jammed.

I heard a programme on the radio
About a Londoner
Keeping his bees in a high rise life shaft
If honey bees disappear so will we

‘BEES opens with Ricky Gardiner’s signature, soaring, guitar sound, singing through doors of chord changes, the sound experience is bright, progressive yet ducks into darkness, implying an underbelly has been rumbled and you’ll hear it later. Singer Virginia Scott’s ‘Go Wireless’ mantra plays as an introduction chorus and brings a glamorous edge that moves in to a kind of Karen Carpenter voice, darkly appealing for the salvation of the honeybees and all apocalyptic possibilities with Colony Collapse Disorder, that the song is sweetly telling us about.

The lyrics are very conversational (you get the feeling this is what Virginia might speak like if you were casually talking with her over a cup of Earl Grey). She expertly makes it glide over brooding growls of guitar and piano tones in the verses opening out the darkness of the track. There are hints of music concrete with intense sounding samples of bees working, midi trumpet’s hooking their way through a similar vocal – ‘how can we find our way through, when our electro-communication is jammed’ – pointing us to other human ways of communication that are so often over looked, that is psychic, electro energy, magnetic fields, vibes etc.

This is a kind of progressive pop, with a staple of pop now being the marriage of the sweet and dark, the clean and dirty, that The Velvet Underground gave way to all those years ago. BEES is lyrically apocalyptic and sonically sweet and lush like fresh fields after an April shower, a cosmic twist, the sinister in the sweet with some expert instrumentation, operatic builds and falls, Carpenter-esque pop at every unexpected turn.’

-Miss Gardiner 2012