It’s All Down in Black and White; A Mixtape That Changed My Life.


Colourbox – Edit the Dragon

The Fink Brothers – Mutants in Mega City One

Play Dead – Conspiracy

Modern English – 16 Days

Colourbox – Just Give ’em Whiskey

A Certain Ratio  – Flight

The Blue Aeroplanes – Action Painting

Wire – 12XU

The Wasps – Waiting For My Man

The Kamikaze Pilots – Sharon Signs to Cherry Red

The Sound – Golden Soldiers

Red Lorry Yellow Lorry – Talk About the Weather

The Comsat Angels – Dark Parade

The Waterboys – Bury My Heart

The Snake Corps – Science Kills

Death in June – Come Before Christ and Murder Love

The Rose of Avalanche – L.A. Rain

The Mighty Wah – Body and Soul

Joy Division – Warsaw

Red Lorry Yellow Lorry – Spinning Around

The Sound – Brute Force

(Here and there throughout the mixtape Alan Bennett reads from Winnie the Pooh)

It’s All Down in Black & White is a mixtape that changed my life. It’s a hand-made mixtape that was given to me by a man called Wilf. It has never left my side. During the 1980s I was studying art, art history, drama (officially) and music (unofficially though I did utilize the departments studio and attend some module classes) at Yeovil College, Somerset. The college refectory was always a heady place of roll-up smoke and tea drinking combined with the consumption of chips with melted cheese. One day through the windowed sheets of condensation in the refectory I saw a long coated, curly Mohicaned, tall and thin chap walking towards the college over the grass with an art folder under his arm. This was Stephen Wilmott (or Wilf as he was affectionately known to everyone).

As soon as I met Wilf I instantly liked him. Wilf was a part of the Yeovil music and art scene. I looked up to him. He was inspirational and always generous with his time. He was often seen (as I was too) in Acorn Music looking at the vinyl. I recall visitng his home in Grass Royal in Yeovil one day. It was a massive shrine to vinyl. His collection ran up the stairs, into the kitchen, living room and bedroom. Wilf was in a group called The Psyco Daisies (later to be known as The Psycho Daisies) who played regularly and had released a beautiful album of music through their own label The Golden Pathway on cassette called Send No Flowers. Graham Moores of The Psycho Daisies has very kindly written to me on the subject of Send No Flowers and the mixtape’s creation;

“Wilf used to come to my place to use my hi-fi equipment to make some of his tapes – It’s how I got to hear some great music. He might have used my copies of Colourbox and ACR’s Flight – possibly Wire 12XU from my copy of Wire – Live at the Roxy and the Joy Division and soundtracks too. Consumed lots of coffee and chocolate biscuits during these sessions…Send No Flowers was recorded on my Portastudio at Sutton Montis in the barn of Matt Cornish. Vox and Sound F/X added in my front room at Castle Cary – It was finally mixed down at Monitor in Milborne Port by Martin ‘Bastie’ Beresford.”

Since Wilf’s passing there has been a growing appreciation and celebration of his life and work. The mixtape has been a constant scorce of pleasure and inspiration to me over the years and has recently been lovingly transfered and migrated by Adrian Finn at The Great Bear. I am not the only one to have benefited from Wilf’s mixtape kindness as Sarah Beatrice testifies.

If you look carefully Wilf has written on the fly leaf of the mixtape cover these words; “When we’re born with nothing then we die with nothing. Least we say we’ve say we’ve try instead of giving up the fight.” I haven’t given up the fight Wilf and since your beautiful spirit has touched my life, I never will.

Published by: Sheer Zed

Sheer Zed is a writer, Buddhist Shaman, musician, and artist. He has published with and contributed to Indie Shaman, TQ zine, Zazen Sounds, Hadean Press, Rituals & Declarations, Hyperstitions Anthology and on the Folklore Thursday and Superstitious Saturday websites. He has released many albums of music, been featured on several compilations, appeared in many playlists, broadcasts and festivals. He contributed to the exhibition Do You Believe in Magic? at Bristol Museum.

Categories C90 Cassette Tapes, Mixtapes, Music, Sound, Underground Music1 Comment

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