Graffiti Gallery (10)

So this is how a secret network works! With his Hulme Art Gallery permanently closed Kelzo accepts an invitation to paint in Edinburgh. We drove up one Saturday afternoon in October ('96) & immediately hit a city centre multi-storey car-park

Introductions made over a flurry of Rizla. News is Delta (Holland) & Mode 2 (USA) have been brought over too & suddenly this was a much more exciting prospect, so glad I'd come! Difficult to shoot in darkness without flash, as I didn't yet own one! October north of the border is a bitterly cold place so we didn't hang about. We trekked up an endless slope away from the city to a block of flats & set of stairs before the apartment door where we were staying mercifully opened. There was no heating & it was absolutely freezing. As evening wore on with our amiable hosts, people began settling-in where they sat or eyeing mattresses on the floor. I took a sleeping bag & slept in a cupboard under the stairs! Sounds mad but there was just enough room to lay down, & once its' tiny door was closed behind you soon got cosy!

Next day, after the footie we took a long bus journey further out & into the housing estates of Edinburgh, true Trainspotting territory! We followed directions to an abandoned train-line come footpath. Kelz joined (our host) Elph, Breaks, Delta, P-Dog, Echo, Elk, Mode 2. Neighbourhood kids swigged from bottles of Irn Bru

Then we hit a backstreet bar in city centre. It was packed out. Getting to & from the bar was a logistical nightmare. Locals surprisingly friendly though. Spilled beer & stood-upon toes starts fights in other places... Here, no-one seemed to mind. Got stuck on a ledge with Mode 2 most of the night! Once he discovered that I wasn't from a graff-periodical, we hit it off. Having wider interests himself, whilst pockets of graf writers compared train-yard tales, we talked everything but! Conversation & beer spilled over in equal measure. Early hours, office workers & students long since left, (-only local livers left alongside ours-) Time was finally called at the bar. Pushing for a last drink I hustled barstaff, "How come those old Chinese guys are sitting down with a drink & we're stood here thirsty?" "They are the owners. They've come to talk & gamble."

Now I've been around long enough to know a barman's nod or paternally tipped eyebrow when I see one. A cold journey up-hill ahead, broken only by hope of seeing again a slice of frozen pizza dropped into a deep-fat fryer. I quieted down & finished my ale. These old men were SERIOUS people. Not to be trifled with or annoyed. Didn't even acknowledge our presence as we were rounded up to leave. They just sat down opposite one another sipping whiskey whilst one man shuffled playing cards. In Manchester we call these people gangsters
1
1
2
2
3
3
4
4
5
5
6
6
7
7
8
8
9
9
10
10
11
11
12
12
13
13
14
14
15
15
16
16
17
17
18
18
19
19
20
20
21
21
22
22
23
23
24
24