It must be at least 12 years since I wrote an article in the Daily Telegraph questioning the over-inflated reputation of the soprano Lesley Garrett, who at that time was enjoying phenomenal success in the cross-over market.
It provoked a huge postbag, including a couple of death threats, but I felt that on the whole readers agreed with me: her fame and fortune had gone much further than her modest talent merited.
She is emphatically NOT an opera singer - apart from one operetta, she hasn't sung a single role in an opera house since the turn of the millennium - but to the powers-that-be she depressingly appears to remain the publicly recognised face of British classical music (there's Katherine Jenkins too now, of course, but in every artistic respect she's even worse).
Her truly ghastly rendition of the National Anthem - a rotten tune at the best of times, which needs all the help it can get - at the Tour de France ceremony yesterday will not lead me to revise my opinion: she is still blasting out innocent songs in hectoring gung-ho fashion, without style, sensitivity, subtlety or charm, in the vain hope that "bubbly personality" and Yorkshire grit will make up for lack of taste or beauty of tone.
I felt as mortified for my country at this point as Bradley Wiggins seemed to be: how can anything so naff, so coarse and mediocre be thought a fitting way to honour a newly crowned champion, let alone the Queen?
With his good looks and designer wardrobe, he’s the pin-up of the classical music world.
Tantalisingly single, he’s mobbed by screaming fans wherever he plays.