Hamza and DocoBanksy Hit Reading Running!

The DocoPhone starts ringing. It’s an old red Trimfone, thick with stickers, and the ringtone’s been modded to play a chip tune version of the Beastie Boy’s Sabotage.

It would be more than my life’s worth to ignore it, and my very soul would be forfeit if I let it bounce to voicemail or -gods forbid- redirect to the mobile. The DocoPhone is head of my to-do list every day.

“I have a job for you.” DocoBanksy’s voice is dry over the phone line, all inflection stripped away by the anonymising software he uses. In person he’s much warmer–much more human. But now he’s all business, and I’m all attention.

“A drop-off,” he continues. “Some friends of mine are shooting in your manor, and I need you to get them some stickers. Don’t make a meal of it. Be a pro. Someone will contact you. I’ve given them your number and private email. I told them you wouldn’t mind.”

Click. The line goes dead. I have my instructions. All I can do now is wait.

The call comes through soon after. Once you get involved with docoBanksy, you learn things move quickly. A charming chap called Mike, who’s happy to chat. We arrange a meet. A public place. The Delphi Bridge in the middle of Reading’s restaurant district. Plenty of witnesses if the deal goes south.

It’s dark when the drop happens, and Mike and I end up circling each other for a while before we make contact. He’s brought an oppo, a tasty cove called Sam and I regret not scaring up some back-up. But the deal goes smoothly, and my envelope stuffed with stickers vanishes into an inside pocket. “We’ll be in touch,” Sam says, and they melt back into the sodium-lit night. Ahead of them was a day with free-runner Hamza Shabazz, who would show them how he runs Reading.

And now there’s a film of their exploits. If you’re a Readingite, keep your eyes open for the stickers that Hamza planted – there’s more out there than you’ll see below. DocoBanksy declares himself pleased with the end product. As he should be.

Meanwhile, Sam and Mike of Getting Dirty would like you to know that they do this all day every day, and that you can find out more about them at their website. I think that’s a click that’s worth making.

Getting Dirty


Devading The Tarn

With reference to the Invader I posted last week, I thought you might like to see this. DocoDom enjoys making his own versions of the Invaders, using figures taken from the old school classic video game Defender. He calls them Devaders.

This short film shows him putting up a Devader on a quiet road in rural France. The whole thing is a really rather lovely marriage of sound and vision. Highly evocative.


The Saturday Shot: Invasion

You can find them in most big cities, if you know where to look. Tucked away, above eye level, in corners and other points of the city that we render invisible through our blithe in attention. If we fail to notice them, are they even there?

Well, yes, they are. In London alone there are over 100 of the little blighters. I can think of three within 500 yards of where I’m sitting as I write this.

Actually, four, and this is the biggest one I’ve ever seen. They’re getting bolder, daring us to seek them out. It’s too late to watch the skies. Now it’s the buildings that we have to keep our eyes on.

Slowly but surely, we are being invaded.


Do you want to know more?

The Friday Foto: Leake Street

Leake Street in Lambeth is for the most part a pedestrian access tunnel that runs under the old international hanger at Waterloo Station. It used to be a dank, grim and depressing place. Until, in 2008, the Cans Festival was held there. In conjunction with a ton of high profile graffiti artists, Leake Street become a free expression zone – a safe place for writers to show what they could do without fear of prosecution. It’s a showcase for world class freestyle work.

The rate of change at Leake Street is frantic. New work is thrown up almost daily, over the top of what’s already there. So if you see something you like you’d better have a camera on you. It’ll be gone the next time you show up. The tang of volatiles from spray cans is always thick in the air. Leake Street is a heady, dizzying place, and I make a point of visiting whenever I’m in the Waterloo area. If you’re at all interested in street art, you should check it out.

You can view my latest Flickr set of the art in the tunnels here.