Friday, 28 October 2011

Riots and Reasons Revisited

On the 10th of Aug i posted a piece of writing that talked about individuation. I later removed the post but after watching Derren Brown's 'Remote Control' TV show this evening perhaps it is right to repost it....

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

Who's Lenny?

Here it is then, the short documentary of the 'See No Evil' event from Nelson St, Bristol, this summer...
A fantastic representation of the weekend and a good bit of Bristolian graffiti history thrown in for good measure.
Take 13 mins out to watch it!

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Church Rd - In Progress

Photograph of Church Rd, St George, Bristol. Taken at 22:30 in the rain, which made operating the camera whilst holding an umbrella above myself and the kit a bit of a challenge - but did make for some interesting reflections on the road.
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!

Church Rd

Church Rd by acerone
Church Rd, a photo by acerone on Flickr.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

It's a Bris Ting!

Its quite an achievement to be admired in equal measures but the youngsters and the elders, especially where music is concerned. By our most promising local talent Buggsy appears straddle the void with ease and appears to get full support from the UK veterans as well as respect from the yootdem...

Check out the video. For me it sums up Buggsy's appeal - showing his skills as a master of lyricism, humour and style, whilst bringing together the different elements of street culture and celebrating the coming together of people - black, white, young, old, northside, southside - and most importantly there are smiles all round.

I've moaned for a while about the fun being lost out of Hiphop (and i use the term in its broadest sense) - so i have big love for Buggsy who injects a massive dose back into the scene. Long may he keep doing his thing his way - the cream will always rise to the top brother!

(and a big shout to my boy DJ First Aid for the production on Bris Ting... Get back on dealing with the real beats where you belong!)

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Acerone - 'Call to Adventure'

Acerone - 'Call to Adventure' by acerone
Acerone - 'Call to Adventure', a photo by acerone on Flickr.

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!

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Friday, 19 August 2011

Nelson Street

So the street is really begining to take shape now with new colours appearing in every corner and a very excitable atmosphere. I'll be down there today to complete my contribution and take some more flicks of my own. Come and say hello if you pass through...

Photo stolen from Geckoo76!

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

See No Evil

The transformation of a much loved/loathed Nelson St, Bristol has begun and amongst the first artists to get started on their paintings are the legendary New York writers Bio, Nicer and BG183 - 3 members of the TATS crew.

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

The OG Hiphop Mixtape

If you are like me and love REAL Hiphop from the golden era (circa '87-97) then this one is a must for you...
Mixed and blended in 2006, this one was lost for a while until i uncovered it on an old CD (the original files were lost on a stolen laptop a few years back) and ripped it back onto my current computer. So here it is - take a listen and let me know what you think!

Monday, 1 August 2011

Radio Show Mixtape

DJ Acerone Radio Show Mixtape Vol.3 (2008)

In response to Felix's comment and one of a similar nature from elsewhere - what's the story behind the mixtape?
Well, before spray cans and photography came DJing. During the early 90's when the rave scene incorporated everything from acid house to drum and bass, i was obsessed with DJing - just how two different records were blended together to make one seamless landscape of music fascinated me. With a few other like-minded wannabe DJs at school, we argued about how it was done - something about a mixer, a cross fader, some records and pitch control were endlessly discussed at lunch breaks, usually whilst sharing an earphone each from the Sony Walkman. TDK tapes got swapped, 10th generation copies of Top Buzz's '2 Blacks and a Bubble' were made, crackly versions of that DJ Sy and MC Teckno at Obsession were on constant loop. In truth, none of us had the first idea of what we were on about in the beginning but soon we were 'staying over at our mate's houses' and sneaking out to the Ruffneck Ting at the Depot, Bristol Exposure at Trinity and Sutra at the UWE with fake ID at the ready. And before too long, one by one we managed to acquire Technics turntables and began frequenting Replay Records in the bearpit spending all our hard earned pocket money...

Fast forward almost 20 years and i still have the decks, although they dont get much use these days. Before i became a Daddy i had a little more time to mess about with records and make mixtapes (which takes forever!) and this one was the last one i made before other elements of life took priority. Its a mash up mix of the tunes i was loving at the time, spliced together using mixing, scratching and a load of samples taken from a very odd 7" i found in a charity shop that featured lots evangelical preaching and readings in the form of a pseudo radio show. Looking back realise just how much spare time i must have had back in early 2008!

Anyway, take a listen and let me know what you think


Saturday, 18 June 2011

A Good Friday

Friday was a good day.
It was my turn to get up with the little one and he didnt stir until 7:45. Work was good. I met with my Nan (76) and her fella Brian(74) and took them to the private view opening of the MShed Museum and spent time with them looking at artifacts and images from Bristol in the Blitz. We sat in the WW2 corrugated iron bomb shelter and they told me stories from their youth, whilst i tried to get my head around how all this could have happened in my city just two generations ago. I took them to see the mural i painted with Andy Council. Nan stopped everyone who walked by and embarrassed me by introducing them to her grandson; the artist. And then she got a round of teas in and we hung out in the cafe.

Linked up with Andy Council and did a bit of live window drawing. Was handed a free beer. Listened to Miles Chambers perform a poem that fired out his feelings on 'his place' in Bristol and connected to a whole load of it. Had a chat with him and he was cool. Was handed another free beer. Went back downstairs to the gallery where our mural is and met Richard Long who was taking a look at our work :-) Had a chat with him and he was cool. And then Jono Motorboy got the drinks in at the Ostrich.

Then returned home, only to find a little package on the table containing these:

Boxfresh navy Puma suedes from Feb 2002 - Perhaps my holy grail of trainers.

Friday was a really good day.

Friday, 17 June 2011

M-Shed opening weekend

(click image to enlarge)

Saturday 18 June 10am – 9pm 

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

MShed Movie

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Try Again

I decided to draw upon some imagery FLX and I produced a while back with dancer and all round athlete Dirty Dave for a painting for this year's UPfest last weekend. Here is a short journey through the stages of the idea...

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.

Portrait taken with long exposure of Dave moving into a freeze which is then lit with an off the camera speedlight. We did lots of these..

We revisited the style with a bit more planning - 3 flashes set off at various points during Daves dance pattern. This one remained more or less in one spot, but he did many more which moved across the frame, one of which i used for the painting.

Marking up at the Try Again pub in Southville, very late on Friday night.

Painting filled in and finished on Saturday evening.

Big thanks to all the artists i spent the day with, John the Barman and the friendly locals, and everyone who stopped to say hello...

Another great year for UPfest - good on ya'll for making it all happen.

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Street Poetry pt2

UK rap veteran Million Dan gives Buggsy a few encouraging words before stepping out on stage

"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

If you havent met Bristol's finest MC of the moment, Buggsy, it's about time you did...
Check track from his debut album 'The Great Escape' here.

It is so refreshing to hear a younger MC talking such conscious lyrics - and it is that fact that it all makes sense at the rapid pace he delivers them that makes Buggsy stand out from the crowd. Take a quick look at this piece of real street accapella poetry...

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Move the Crowd

Rakim at Bristol O2 Academy 07/05/11

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
Photos: Acerone

Friday, 6 May 2011

Free Drawing

I wonder if the most precious part of an artwork is not the finished piece itself but the story behind the context in which it was created…?


Saturday, 23 April 2011

Jonathan Taphouse

On hearing about last nights roit at the new Tescos metro store on Stokes Croft this morning, i did a quick Flickr search and found Jonathan Taphouse's fantastic images. Being too busy to stop and look for too long, i vowed to take a closer look later on.
You should too - Stokes Croft Tesco Riot
BRISTOL: stokes croft tesco riot

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

King Of Grime

Channel 4 are forever making shows out of YouTube clips and re-running them time and time again...
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.


For some time I have been questioning the term ‘Graffiti Artist’, considering exactly what it means to me. For ten or more years I used it to describe myself and the work I created but more recently I have felt less comfortable with using it...


Sunday, 17 April 2011


Break Dance convention, Colston Hall, Oct 2010