Remembering Beggars Opera

Death from Beggars Can’t be Choosers

Guitars : Ricky Gardiner

Keys: Virginia Scott

Vox: Pete Scott


A film by Virginia Scott 2018

copyright RGS




More Blue Sky

Beggars Opera Doris Single RGS 9500 2012

3 new art rock tracks from 70’s Prog rockers Beggars Opera. Ricky Gardiner’s surreal power guitar, Virginia Scott’s nano rocky horror tale lyrics and voice and Tom Gardiner solid drums.

1/ Doris

2/ More Blue Sky

3/ It’s Friday Night You Know

Beggars Opera


Filmed at the Camera Obscura Bristol one recent sunny sunday deep in the dark bit down to the vertiginous look over the Clifton Gorge and bridge.

Ricky Gardiner Guitars
Virginia Scott Keys and Vox
Tom Gardiner Drums



All Tomorrows Thinking


‘All Tomorrows Thinking” is the deepest of the two, starting with “How She Swam” and rounding off with the racy “Faces In You”, filled with the six-string harmonies and pure prog keyboards; in between, the sparseness takes the lead, despite all the riffs and vignettes. It’s a paradox in the very spirit of the band so, while “Catching On To You” flows heavy, etching itself in a memory, in “Those Echoes”, the ’80s plastic pop rears its head along the glittery, if understated, melodic lines. But it’s on “Suddenly Ahead Ahead” that ethereal surrealism takes over, right after the fantastic, Spanish-hued liquid guitar of the title track soars into invisibility, and if “Towers Falling” rocks the joint in bluesy vein, the tremulous “Sad Songs” booms with echoing twang of good vintage.’ Dmitry Epstein 2010

Beggars Opera ATT lyric


A collection of surreal songs created from Ricky Gardiner‘s Guitar archives.

Twin release to Suddenly Ahead Ahead: RGS 9483.





Touching the Edge

Beggars Opera Touching the Edge RGS 9475 2008

More surreal songs, including the awesome Auschwitz., where searing guitar meets operatic vocals set to a tercet from Dante’s Inferno.

“Gardiner obviously plays just for himself, for his thoughts, not to show off his skills but to let his feelings out. Little by little guitar gets higher and higher and starts to weep… It cries and it soars.

Suddenly the sound becomes sparse and breaks down. From beyond in flies Virginia’s soprano chanting Dante’s verses and then – guitar returns, this time going low. It sings and stumbles and stumbles again as a wounded bird..”

Dmitry Epstein Let it Rock 1998


Beggars Opera TTE lyrics

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