DISS BOMB AZER, one block each. One of those ideas you get during a late
session where everyone is lying around, almost asleep, and then you all just
catch fire, and want to do it NOW. So, we shared out the paint. I got
silver and blue and the crap orange that was too translucent. Jamie got the
green I really wanted, a sea-green turquoise layered on jade colour. He made
sea-letters with it, the O in BOMB bursting at the top to let out a shoal of
bubbles tipped with silver. It was the best of the three but I didn't say so,
for Finn's sake.
When I was doing mine I looked across the sky to the block opposite and saw
Finn, a black shadow on the edge of the roof, hundreds of feet from the ground.
If I squinted really hard I could just make out the spraycan in his hand,
hanging limp - of course he was only thinking, but for a moment I thought he was
jumping. Sixteen, clueless, back then if I had seen him jump I would probably
have jumped too. That's how it was.
But nobody jumped. Coming out onto the
roof of the fifteen-storey block, I stared at the blank walls of the little
concrete building that held the works of the lift shaft for some time, juggling
the possibilities of blue, silver, and orange over in my mind. I lit a
cigarette, and suddenly saw it: flame! It took about 20 minutes from throwup
to finished piece, sloping up from the D through the I exploding to freeform
flame Ss blazing away at the other end. 4am, and done. Time to leave.
Later, regrouped, we climbed the cliff beyond the estate and watched the dawn come up over our work. I don't think there
is any art in the world that could give me the same feeling of awe we had then,
as the sun rose like a stage curtain on DISS BOMB AZER. One block each, crowned
with our names. This was our place. We owned it.
Notes on the above :
i) Do we, later in life, just imagine the feelings we felt
as kids to have been so much sharper, clearer, keener? Or is that just
nostalgia? Nostalgia is an ugly word, sounds like a disease, something to be
avoided. But I'm not sure it's properly understood. It seems an irritating waste
of time, but the things we once did, the people we once knew, are what makes us,
and to live in the present is not possible without understanding how you got
where you are now.. It runs deep, whatever it is. Viral. And
ii) The piece above does not describe the AZER tag, which was white and
yellow and red and gray. No curves but angles instead: squares, flying planes,
an architectural blocky style which at the time I didn't like much but now
prefer. I think of Delta and I see Azer. I can remember his face and his
clever hands, long-fingered, adept - but I can't remember exactly what it was
that made me like him so much.
iii) They were brothers. There were in fact six brothers, all of whom I knew pretty well. Three of them
hit on me after Finn got locked up. Jamie won: he was by far the smartest (and
the purtiest). He even had a job of sorts, delivering stolen cars over the river.
All these years later I play Grand Theft Auto and I think of Jamie, wonder
what happened to him. I'd like to think his star quality shone through, but I am
betting he's probably a used car salesman with 2.2 kids by now. Same goes for
iv) No, we never took pictures of the pieces. But somewhere I have a photo of
Finn, standing in the lobby of the block of flats he lived in. He has dark
untidy very short hair, and good Irish cheekbones. He is tall with long floppy
legs. He is wearing a paint-stained MA-1 flying jacket, a grayish sweatshirt
over filthy jeans, and a smile.
It is the kind of smile which explains