The journey over there was uneventful. The actual plane journey was short but the transfers from the plane to the city centre were a fucking nightmare, and expensive too. It's probably better to get the Eurostar and cruise straight into Gard Du Nord; its about the same journey time and stress free.
Anyway, we eventually find ourselves on the B-Line travelling into the city and straight away we are hit with visuals and bombing. The train we're on has outlines scratched in. The carriage has Kesie GAP bombing all over the insides. As the train approaches the centre, the frequency of the dubs increase, lots of silvers and colour pieces, with a nice variety of styles and of generally good quality. Our graf juices were flowing... it was going to be a good weekend.
First stop, All-City graf store - located in Rue de Pasteur, St Ambroise metro station. We were there to try and push Bomb Alert magazine to the French and also do some shameless promoting and liberal application of Spinemag stickers. Mr K and Mr P also wanted to stock up on paint - its pretty damn cheap! It worked out at roughly $1.50 a tin and they have the full Montanna colour selection. The strength of the pound was good for the paint but unfortunately not for the magazine. So we didn't flog any to the store but left one to represent.
The store was busy for a Friday afternoon, with people coming and going buying paint by the bag-full. Graffiti seems to be big business here, with the city supporting a larger number of writers than, lets say, London.
A quick chat with the owner reveals we have come to Paris at a particularly tough time. The city centre was undergoing buffing and there was a general clampdown in place, with Police raids on the prouducers of Hainemey magazine and the confiscation of the entire stock of Dirty Hands Videos - ouch.
We did notice that the City centre areas were a lot cleaner compared to a couple of years ago, - it took us a while to spot an O'Clock blam. The clampdown was also affecting their Metro system with security guards and regular dog patrols, - it seemed like it was gonna be a mission.
After a fat Vietnamese munch, we were off to meet our contact in the suburbs of Paris. Mr T had been to London before and is part of T?C. According to Mr P, T and associates (including the notorious CLM - Controlle Le Metro) have been a constant thorn in the side of the RATP in 2000/01. We were linking the right people to bomb the system. Our contact is on time and after a brief exchange of greetings Mr T asks us "Do you want to paint now?", we all looked at each other in dis belief... and laughed... "What?! - right now?", "Oui" was our brief reply...
Off we bopped to do a layup around the corner, we weren't wasting anytime, however, our first attempt failed so we hung about waiting for a better moment. The wait was fruitless so we decided to come back later, but first we had to round up a few more of the posse. First stop Mr O's house. O is definitely one of Paris's hardcore. Familiar to us in the UK (think Mac faces) he goes under lots of alias to bomb the subway. O welcomed us in to his home and over dinner they studied Bomb Alert cover to cover.
As with all Train Bombers they were very interested in the rolling stock and asked lots of questions. The reaction seemed to be one of surprise. Mr O explained that not much is known about the UK scene, apart from a DDS/GT connection and visits from LDS and Nema, the London/UK scene was quite vague to them. One thing was certain, though they may not have been feeling all the styles in the magazine, they definitely loved the trains, especially the London Underground. "London has the most beautiful subways! So many different models" and judging from our conversation, London still retains a reputation for being a hard city to paint.
20:30pm and we pick up another member of the T?C; Mr E joined us back at the plot. the RER A line was sitting there, humming gently, we had to be quick, it was only going to be there 10 mins max. With T filming, the rest of us got to work. This was it, our first taste of French steel! It was fucking crazy, a completely different atmosphere from London City. We were painting in the station, trains rolling by, with people on the platforms and classical music emanating from the Station speakers, and it seemed so relaxed. No-one was frobbing...
O and E painted fast, but Mr P matched them for speed. The whole thing was over quickly and went smoothly. The train pulled out shortly after, crossing to the otherside of Paris. We were informed that it would probably run all weekend.
After some much needed rest, we were up first thing at Dawn to paint our 2nd A-Line. Whilst munching on a croissant we clocked our next victim. Overnight a new A-Line double decker had laid up and was sitting there waiting to be pulled out. The crew we were with liked the A-Line as it was run by the RATP, the same oraganistion who operated all the Subways and also the B-line. All other lines out of Paris are run by SNCF which has more relaxed security.
We painted together this time with Mr T takin' up the first door and P and K taking out the next two. Nothing like bombing first thing in the morning to kick start the day... fuck coffee.
We filmed our damage and went to plot at another station to get the running shots. That was the hardest part as we waited 3 hours.
3 hours it took the A-line to cross Paris and back. So in those three hours we found out more about the Paris graf scene.
There was a lot of talk about Kesie GAP and he seemed much respected. Paris also has its hardcore nutter element in the form of UV (Ultra Violent) and TPK which has Tran/Trane as its star bomber. Some of the stories about the shit that they do certainly lives up to the crew name. They are much feared/respected in Paris.
We were also told of the usual scenario of Cheapfame merchants who big themselves up through their own websites/publications. There are lots of crews in Paris bombing hard, but aren't as well known, with crews such as OBK, ADK, MX and numerous individuls such as Tran, Skeo, Rest and Panic, takin over tunnels, highways and trains.
Three hours later we catch footage of our running panels - and they were to run for the whole weekend... BO!
This was the day we were waiting for. Our meeting place was at the home of Mr R of the MX crew, whom we had met the day before. It was already decided what yards we were going to do and this mission was gonna be the tuff one. Mr O and P checked out the plot first, T and K picked up Mr R, who came in shorts, t-shirt and a fucking neck brace!? Crazy subway bomber...
When P returned he had only this to say: "You're gonna love the way in, it's fucking heavy", It was time to do the Paris Metro system.
We went through a discreet doorway and down several flights of stairs, which lead to a dimly lit corridoor which kept going down. Already this mission felt different to the A-Line missions, every one was quiet, concentrating in the darkness. You could feel the trepidation when entering the yard, this was more of what we were use to.
The air got staler as we went deeper, you did notice the dankness and silence. One thing that was going thru my mind was that this passage way was probably only ever trodden by writers and how the fuck did writers find these passageways!?. Pure tunnel bopping and exploring the system... that in itself is just hardcore.
At the bottom of a spiral staircase was the door. Slowly O pushes it open, it creaks revealing a dimly lit tunnel. O clocks the joint, then confident there is nobody around, the rest of us follow. We spread out over two cars on two seperate trains. This was it, no fucking about, we all knew what we had to do and that time was limited. The tunnel was humid and airless, but everyone paints in silence, with only one objective.
Mr R paints fast, doing two panels in the time I did one. We all finish, but everyone still feels wary, looking up and down the tunnel for security. We film the damage, pose for photos (our souvenirs of Paris) and make our way back to the exit. Just as I pack the camera away, we hear a voice *in french* - "Can I help you?", a spilt second pause... then shouting... "Watch out for our dogs!!!"....
That was the cue to run. Everyone turns around single file and bolts down the aisle... I was running as fast as I could, but O was running faster and had a hand on my back pushing, "FASTER, FASTER!!", it was like having a turbo booster strapped on my back! We reach the end of the trains and ran down the tunnel to the next station. I couldn't remember when the last time I ran for so fast and so long and Mr R had to run in a neck brace! All I could taste in my mouth was the Montana and Molotow being expelled from from lungs, it tasted pure poisonous. No-one dare look back to see whether or not the dogs were behind us.
We reach the next station and must have seemed so bait all walking on to the platform gasping for air - thank god they don't have platform cameras. We run up to the exit, checking for security and break out into fresh air -relief- we looked at our hands and they were filthy, covered in grime and soot - True Dirty Handers.
All of us were FUCKED - all the smoking, drinking making us gasp and cough, the adrenalin was coursing through us now and like all train bombers after a chase, it was perversely satisfying. These Parisians made me laugh, as soon as we had our breaths back, we were told the next mission was to be the 'hard to paint' new model subways and it was only 12 midday!
There is no video footage of this mission, out of respect to our host's wishes. This yard is only known to a couple of crews so it was a privilege for them to be taking us. The way in was a typical Metro affair, down a grate, through a ventilation unit and straight in to a underground yard with at least 25-30 trains stacked in three rows end to end. It was pure nasty! We painted our panels and it was smooth. Two daytime subways in the space of two hours, pure madness...
Mr K and I were leaving that evening, but the crew and Mr P were already talking about one man W/C's on the subway later on that evening, SICK...
Paris is definitely on... go check it for yourself.
artical with flicks and videos