Thursday, 12 January 2012

Scotlands first ever Graff writer????

Received an email from someone who put forward the following questions

who is the first documented graffiti writer in Scotland?
how far back can jazzy tags be claimed?

I sort of covered this in an early post which was slightly tongue in cheek. It did raise the question of whats the difference between "Tam was here" and someone putting up a tag as we would class it.

Personal opinion, I would say there were no Scottish "graff writers" before the whole Hip Hop package was delivered to the UK in the early 80's. I could be wrong.

For me as a young lad living in Dundee, the first writers that I knew of as graff writers were local boys Foxy, Cozmo and Bip. There could have been others and certainly there were others out around that time who became really prominent in the scene. That was back in 1985, although these guys could have been involved in graff for possibly a year or two by that time.

Thats my memory of that time and what was happening in Dundee. I have no real knowledge of what was going on throughout Scotland at that particular time. I know Gaz Mac has incorporated "Est 1983" onto the end of his tag. Were there others before him? Im sure Gaz or others would know. Again, would they know what was going on in other parts of Scotland? If not, can they claim to be the first?

The earliest flicks that I have on this site are archived as 1984 (Eez and Foxy) but by looking at these, particularly the Foxy piece, you can tell that this isnt his first attempt at graff.

Im sure there is loads of info out there, some fact, some slightly mixed up due to ageing memories and brain cells, and some that is absolute made up garbage. I would also put a large bet on this never being resolved.

It would be good to hear what others have to say.


Smogz said...

the skinnycap set said...
thats really interesting, to write on stuff is the most natural thing in the world, I remember in Dundee as well "Chic S" was up everywhere, pre hip hop. Joe 90 thats a bit different cause he actually adopted a "tag name" where as before we got into graff we just wrote our surnames...

Quoting Lykens post from your Joe 90 post i never read that must have been before i discovered the blog.

As far as the writing our surnames i don't think this is true of everyone pre Hip Hop NYC tag styles The name Joe 90 was generally given to kids who wore national health glasses the thick bottle types with horrible rims aka the "Nashy Health Glesses" . I can think of three Joe 90's neither of them had the name Joe in both there surname or forename . They all wore nashy health specks so therefore they were given the name Joe 90.

This brings me to my next point Punks.Punks were using nicknames or Punk names pretty much in the same way we adopt tag names from 79 onwards.

Some punk names i can think off Sticky, Keeker, Go Go, Co Co, Bomber, Buzby, Paki the list goes on... The punk names were my first introduction to Graffiti outside football or gang menshys. The Keeker one sticks in my mind as a mate of mine had a keeker tag/menshy outside his house the lettering was stylish and had a small spraycan logo painted below the tag with spray paint emitting from the can ! It had a real New York look to it which brings me to the another point Punks had more awareness of Hip Hop than i think the younger Breakdance generation did via the Clash and it's involvement with Futura 2000 . Futura was touring with the Clash long before (not long but long enough back then) Hip Hop arrived as a package in the UK.

In 1983 i first witnessed people getting there name up and taking there name everywhere over one night, the culprits a gang of Skinheads armed with shoe dye pens (mop tags as they got known years later via Twist etc) they were walking through my area buzzing gas getting up in all the underpasses writing there names in large block capitals (no drop shadows!) and drawing the Madness symbol the name that stood out was TONZ no doubt a nickname for Tony , there was a huge trend for adopting a "Z" into your name around the early 80's. I can recall me and my mates asking them for a shot of the pens and being told to fuck off ! which is pretty much what happens to every writer nowadays when confronted by a mob of wee guys asking for a menshun. The following day i noticed the Skins had been in other areas with the same pens this was my first introduction to the idea of getting up with a bit of style a year later Hip Hop arrived in Livi and "Breakdance" graffiti started showing up everywhere.

I'll get back to you with my first ever Hip Hop related tag banger

Cam.One said...

Interesting question, in terms of glasgows first writer, either Gaz or Mak would be able to help with the answer. I know both of them started writing around the same time in the early 80's on the southside of glasgow

Anonymous said...

This is really interesting and something I've never really given much thought to for some reason. I don't think we'll ever be able to pin it down to one individual, but it's interesting to hear about how it all started.

Coming from Glasgow I'd love to hear what Gazmac or Mak has to say about it?

Anyone got anything about Edinburgh? I've managed to pick up a few things through this site on Dundee but I know very little about Edinburgh pre 2000.