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Val Wilmer (7th December Birthday)

PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 10:33 am
by john poole
Valerie Sybil Wilmer - born 7th December, 1941 (Harrogate) - 70 today; she photographed Louis Armstrong when she was fifteen using her mother's box Brownie camera.

A few of her photographs are here, with some commentary and a short interview -
http://www.vice.com/read/val-wilmer-jaz ... -955-v16n7
http://www.vice.com/read/england-place-for-me-v15n5
http://www.npg.org.uk/collections/searc ... 0&role=art

Re: Val Wilmer (7th December Birthday)

PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 11:26 am
by Adam Blake
Ted's neighbour - I hope Ted can be persuaded to offer an anecdote or two. I first met her about 20 years ago and we had a really interesting conversation about the profoundly subversive effect that Black American music can have on white English people. She is so talented. She just knows when to click the shutter. That's like knowing when to hit a note, or when to take a pause. She is also a trailblazing feminist but perhaps I should shut up now!

Re: Val Wilmer (7th December Birthday)

PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 12:06 pm
by garth cartwright
And she punched out Dizzy G when he treated her as a groupie. Busted his lip so forced him to cancel months of gigs. I asked her if the tale was true and she confirmed it. One tough woman!

Re: Val Wilmer (7th December Birthday)

PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 12:15 pm
by AndyM
I guess Dizzy hadn't realised she plays for the other team.

Re: Val Wilmer (7th December Birthday)

PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 12:35 pm
by Adam Blake
She didn't at the time. She did, however, have an extremely novel and effective method for getting excellent interviews from favoured visiting black American musicians.

Re: Val Wilmer (7th December Birthday)

PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 1:02 pm
by AndyM
Ah. As the eminent Victorian theatre critic said after a production of 'Titus Andronicus', "How unlike the home life of our own dear queen".

Re: Val Wilmer (7th December Birthday)

PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 1:20 pm
by Adam Blake
Haha! One of my favourite, favourite quotations! How typical of you to know it! I know a slight variant: "How different from the home life of our own dear Queen."

Re: Val Wilmer (7th December Birthday)

PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 2:26 pm
by Ted
Fraid not. She's my neighbour.

She has the most astonishing anecdotes about her meetings and friendships with the giants of black american 20th century music.

One of my favorites begins:
"Of course I'd drunk the best part of a bottle of whisky with Memphis Slim that afternoon..."

I wish she still took photographs, but she doesn't.

Re: Val Wilmer (7th December Birthday)

PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 2:33 pm
by Adam Blake
You're a gentleman and a wind-up merchant, Mr Wood.

Re: Val Wilmer (7th December Birthday)

PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 7:39 pm
by Alan Balfour
Adam Blake wrote:She didn't at the time. She did, however, have an extremely novel and effective method for getting excellent interviews from favoured visiting black American musicians.
Back in the 70s she gave me a piece of advice should I ever visit blues men/women in their home locales (which she did often). Never rush in with notepad/tape recorder/camera and then rush off, but spend time getting to know them and their families then ask if you may visit again to take photos and hear about their lives and music.