Graffiti Gallery (14)

Bonsall St once cut a swathe through the very heart of Hulme and for some people, travelling in from leafy Chorlton to Manchester city centre on the 86 bus route, a rare glimpse into another world. As they passed through reading, in 2-foot high letters, these lost legends writ large in anti-vandal greasepaint: KISS MY PITBULL; FREEDOM LEGALISED; EAT THE RICH; FREE VIRAJ MENDIS; ELVIS LIVES BUT THE REST OF YOU ARE DEAD

1960’s Hulme slowly shrank (then sank) beneath waves of eviction, demolition & regeneration. By 1997 (when Stretford Road re-opened & the Phoenix burned) only Bonsall Street & what lay behind remained. With Otterburn & Ormsgill Close, Settle Walk & Hodder Square all emptied of any remnants that lives had ever been lived there, their outer walls all kicked out, as summer began the bulldozers moved in. Zed-9 (writing now as Zisto or Zero / Nero), ever keen to have the last word, answered back

1998, the Old Birley St. shops (Malarky; Chemist; Bookies; Off-Licence) were all that was left of our failed utopian 30-year social-living experiment. And it was left. For reasons unknown demolition ceased, leaving behind this marooned, miserable monolith to times passed

Plans were hatched for ‘one last party’, ‘one more SMEAR JAM’. Smear 4 happened mid-July 1998. Graffiti artists who painted include Kelzo, Mist-One, Hibbzy, Phew, MKS, Ned, Take & Zisto. A constant techno-nihilist soundtrack was provided by Slamrock Soundsystem. The next day people were pretty messed up! It was hilarious nihilism; it was so much fun, in fact, that we did it all again a couple of weeks later! Smear 5 Graf Jam took place (in the same place) early in August 1998. Artists on that day included Mist-One, Forse, (of course) Kelzo, Kirs-One, Sham, Takes, APL, Met & Zisto

Zisto, Met & Takes returned to the site to have the last word (The Ritten Word), one last time in the sunshine. The summer rolled out. Old Hulme was gone, our concrete playground in the sky. An echo of music, a perfumed air, a promise of freedom: Only memories & dust remain; Old photographs to pin tales & your testimonies to
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