Friday, 28 October 2011
The extraordinary scenes of violence and looting cannot go unnoticed. Every corner of the media is saturated with images, reports and video clips of (mostly) young men rioting and causing unimaginable damage to cities across the country, my hometown Bristol included. I have heard all the arguments; “They are filthy rats”, “Bring out the army, rubber bullets, water canons, etc”, and then the otherside; ‘Neglected youth’, “A product of the socioeconomic climate”, and so on. But what seems to be the overwhelming opinion of the average person is a sense of sadness. Sad that young people felt the need to do this, sad that people have lost their homes and businesses, sad that communities have been so badly affected.
One thing that struck me was the looting, people raiding shops for personal gain. I saw images of people carrying expensive flat screen TV’s from stores and jewellery shop windows being smashed and items taken, but also at the very other end a Tesco’s store was looted and an image caught of a man carrying bags of rice away whilst other stores in Ealing, London were looted and the haul left out on the street. It seemed that the ‘prize’ was fairly unimportant in the larger scale of the action being taken.
What is the point in breaking into Tesco’s only to steal a couple of pound’s worth of rice? Why smash a children’s clothing store window, grab the stock and dump it a few metres down the road? To the nation and the rest of the world these acts are quite understandably viewed as the epitome of foolish hooliganism.
So I asked myself what is the point? A burglar robs a house and steals items with resale value, a mugger takes cash and expensive items like mobile phones and jewellery from a victim, a shoplifter steals items that he knows he will be able to sell on – and in all these cases money is the motivation for the criminal act. But generally for these looters there is very little, or no financial incentive. It does seem mindless.
Rewind back to the year 2000 when I spent 4 months living in a squat in Sydney, Australia. One evening I ventured out to a club in the city centre where some English DJs – the Scratch Perverts were playing a set. It was an inspiring night with all elements of Hiphop represented in their rawest forms – an impromptu breakdancing battle took over the dance floor, graffiti backdrops filled the walls, MC’s freestyled in a cypher over muffled beats near the bar and of course the DJ’s displayed techniques never seen before. Whilst grabbing a beer from the bar I was drawn to the rappers who were laughing, joking and being very animated, so I took a step closer and stuck my ear into the circle to hear what was being said. Australian rappers had a surprisingly similar style to Bristolian rapping and I soon began laughing along with the rest of the crowd, but was soon to receive quite a shock.
One very tall lad aggressively pulled me to one side and asked me exactly who I was and what I thought I was doing laughing at his friend’s rapping. I explained that I was Acer, a graffit artist from Bristol in England and that I was impressed by his friend’s skills and how much it reminded me of my friends back home. He looked very suspicious, eyed me up and then told me to follow him…
He led me to the door of the nightclub and told me to follow him outside. Now I must admit at this point I had no idea what was going on and was on my guard just in case something untoward was about to happen and as he led me to a dark alley and my adrenaline started pumping I almost turned around and legged it. But as the lad stopped by a bin and reach behind it he drew out a rucksack which rattled with an all familiar sound – spray cans. He pulled out a can, adjusted the nossle and told me, “If you are a graffiti artist like you say you are, I want to see you tag…”
As intimidating as this sounds, I actually felt an immediate connection with this guy – he was obviously a dedicated Hiphop disciple that wasn’t going to let some young kid from the UK think he could turn up on his patch unannounced. So with that I took his can, dropped a large Acer FSH tag on the alleyway wall, and turned round to look him in the eye. He smiled, shook my hand, told me he liked my style and then took me back into the club to meet all the other graffiti writers that were there – about 20 in total. What a buzz! I was initiated and welcomed by them all as the tall and aggressive guy’s new Pomme friend…
So the end of the night drew in and I went to say my goodbyes, but it turns out I wasn’t going anywhere. The graffiti boys were going painting and they wanted me to come with them and so, I did. And off we rampaged, through the Sydney business district, tagging on almost everything, climbing up on walls to reach higher spots, each trying to get one up bigger and better than the next – it was an act of vandalism that I would not have usually partaken in, even 10 years ago when I had far less to loose.
And here I find some of the answers to my previous question of what was the point in looting for nothing? My usual morals and principles disappeared when I was part of a larger and more aggressive group for young men; the empathy for other people’s property and the guilt I would feel about defacing it was lost in the excitement of being in the group. I blended in with a load of other people who were doing it anyway, so I encouraged myself to join in. ‘Why not?” I said to myself, and I felt safety in numbers.
Deindividuation is a concept in social psychology regarding the loosening of social norms in groups, whereby people adopt the values of a group over their own usual identity and values. Whilst I always had an urge to go tagging in my younger years, I became more daring whilst around others. I can understand how when a young person is surrounded by peers who are all involved in a very exciting, albeit highly illegal, game of destruction, they can easily forget about appropriate behaviour and get caught up in the buzz of the crowd.
Combine deindividuation with the growing feeling of discontent in young people about unemployment, education opportunities and the lack of support in the form of EMA, and all the other income disparities felt by those living on the welfare state; is it really any wonder that these young people feel as if they have nothing to loose?
Wednesday, 5 October 2011
Tuesday, 6 September 2011
Made a start on painiting an interpretation of this image on the side of the Red Flower Barrow which can be seen in the above photo as the second shop on the left. Will have this finished in the next few days ahead of the Redfest this weekend!
Thursday, 1 September 2011
Tuesday, 30 August 2011
SOLD! To a nice lady from a wealthy law company...
Still available to view for the next couple of weeks in the Weapon of Choice 'See No Evil' pop-up gallery, ironically in 'the Galleries' mall, Union St, Bristol.
Work there also from Inkie, Cheo, Xenz, Wow123, Jody, Soker, Cheba and more...
Go take a look next time you're in town!
Wednesday, 24 August 2011
Friday, 19 August 2011
Photo stolen from Geckoo76!
Tuesday, 16 August 2011
They say you should never meet your heroes but this morning i couldnt help myself. I spotted them arrive at their wall and just had to head over and say a quick hello, showed some appreciation for them blessing Bristol's street with their work, and cheekily asked for a photo...
I used to copy these guys designs out of Spray Can Art when i was a wee lad and i'm sure i'm not the only one...! I cant tell you how excited i am to have caught these portraits.
Saturday, 6 August 2011
Monday, 1 August 2011
Tuesday, 19 July 2011
Saturday, 18 June 2011
Friday, 17 June 2011
A day of activities celebrating ‘Bristolness’ past and present. Highlights include a Procession of Professions, led by the Lord Mayor and his Mace Escort. Civic, commercial and creative sectors will come together to reinvent a bygone ritual with a contemporary new twist. This will depart Castle Park at 11am and snake through the heart of the city for about an hour on its way to M Shed. Photographers will mark this moment in time for the archives of the future.
We will also be joined by artists Andy Council and Acerone who will be inviting visitors to draw on the windows at M Shed, plus a mass chalking where you are invited to draw your impressions of M Shed outside on Museum Square. Sessions take place throughout the day- drop in, no need to book.
There will also be an affordable programme of walking, talking and performing tours sharing the city’s histories, secret sites and special places throughout the afternoon and evening. See the full programme and booking information
Book your free timed tickets for entry into the museum: mshed-saturday18june.eventbrite
Thursday, 9 June 2011
Capturing the movement trail left by small torchlights attached to Dave's wrists and ankles whilst he jumps from right to left across the gap.
Marking up at the Try Again pub in Southville, very late on Friday night.
Tuesday, 31 May 2011
"All I ever hear is 'gangster this and gangster that', when everybody knows where the gangster's at - Locked down in a cage or in a grave..." - Buggsy, Pure Gas
Wednesday, 11 May 2011
There was definitely a buzz of nervous excitement in the queue before Saturday nights show at the Bristol O2 Academy. Maybe not the same kind of hysteria as when the Paid in Full LP was first played out by Eric B and Rakim in 1987, but now almost 25 years later the apprehension was at wondering whether Rakim would actually play – and if he did, would he live up to his legendary status?DJ Format
First up was DJ Format. This one time Bristol resident looked at perfectly at home spinning classic Hiphop in front of the rapidly filling Academy. He had every mature B-Boy’s head nodding with a perfect set of party bangers from the Eighties and Nineties to warm the crowd nicely. The Rock Steady Crew turntablist and Rahzel’s wingman DJ JS1 then stepped up to introduce himself and in true Rock Steady fashion he played up to the crowd with some faultless beat juggling, body tricks, heavy cuts and heavier breaks.
Rahzel was greeted with an appreciative roar from the Academy. There is no doubting just how impressive his beatboxing skills are but his set was essentially the same as its always been, filled with old WuTang breaks and Transformer sound effects. Still, he is as lively and entertaining as ever with much love spouted for real HipHop music and a few barbed disses to the young beatboxing fraternity who chose to cover faster younger genres of music. Then arrives Rakim’s DJ; not the President however, but DJ Technician. He moved the crowd by mixing 4 bars of classic 90′s HipHop tunes one into another and easily had the packed out Academy to all raise their hands before the R’s arrival.
DJ Technician and Rakim
And then out he stepped. All 5′ nothing of him, skinny with a red NY Yankees cap that needed a doo-rag underneath to stop it from slipping down his face. Yet straight away he commanded the whole of that massive stage. There was almost a slip-up when he asked if ‘London was in the house’ but he corrected himself in a heartbeat to a huge cheer of relief from the Bristol crowd. It seems some mistakes are allowed.
And then of course, he started dropping science. Almost every track from Paid in Full was played, with the crowd rapping along and his voice sounding as silky as it had when he first recorded it. Stand out performances were on My Melody, Paid in Full and I Ain’t No Joke, and after showing off a few of his own beat juggling skills, he smashed out my personal fav, Juice (Know the Ledge). He also played tracks from his latest album the Seventh Seal which may not have sounded as fresh as his old material but have still warranted an itunes download from me this evening. Paid in Full is one of the greatest HipHop albums of all time performed by one of the dopest, if not the dopest emcees of all time, right here in Bristol. Long may he go on holding microphones.
Words: Bubber Loui
Friday, 6 May 2011
Saturday, 23 April 2011
You should too - Stokes Croft Tesco Riot
Wednesday, 20 April 2011
But they never play this one. And it's still the funniest thing on the web.
Big up to the multi talented Stepchild AKA Gee - and Young K and Tash who i hear are still making music 3 years on. With Elvis as your mentor, you were always gonna be one step ahead.