“To throw up a huge graffiti piece. Also known as tagging a lot of areas in one night. Bombin' isn't meant to be senseless vandalism, it is meant to be art just like other graffiti.”

- Definition of the word Bombin' taken from the Urban Dictionary.

It's been 25 years since the first and only airing of Bombin' documentary on the UK's Channel 4 back in the Summer of 1987. Now I was only 2 at the time, but I can only imagine that it made an impression on quite lot of the youth at the time. Just ask James Lavelle of Mo'Wax/UNKLE fame. There's a good quote from him on the influence this documentary had on him right here.

Bombin' was directed by documentary filmmaker Dick Fontaine and was a sequel to his earlier 1984 documentary "Beat This!", once again taking a look at how American hip-hop culture was making its way over the pond to the UK, this time using the lens of the graffiti and tagging subcultures.

The documentary offers a fascinating look at 1980's UK hip-hop and graffiti culture and for Massive Attack fans, there is of course the appearance of 3D (at the ripe old age of 21) tagging it up with Goldie in Birmingham and Wolverhampton. We also get to see a Wild Bunch party in Bristol, with DJ Milo and Daddy G on the decks and a bit of freestylin' rap between 3D and Willy Wee. So, just for those two moments, if your a Massive fan, you must see Bombin'.

But I do have to say that the best part of the documentary is when Brim has to go explain himself to some old granny that spraying is'nt the same as going out and shooting up the streets. :-) There's also that entirely prophetic part when Goldie laughingly predicts the collapse of the World Trade Centre. 8-O

As its now 25 years old this year, I thought it would be good to upload the entire hour long documentary to Youtube. (Thank god, Youtube have lifted the 15min upload restriction they used to have.) There has been bits and pieces of it uploaded in the past before, but not the entire thing in one video, I don't think - so here it is.

Considering it's a 25 year old VHS recording, the quality is not too shabby. The audio is a little fuzzy in the first couple of minutes but after that the whole video is very watchable. Anyway, I'll leave it up up to you if you want it on your hard drive, as opposed to just on Youtube.

And seeing that we're on the topic of 1980's era graffiti and this is a Massive Attack blog after all, I figured this would be as good a time as any to showcase some of 3D's tags which he sprayed on walls from Bristol to Birmingham and a few other places in between throughout the mid to late 1980's. I did'nt realise Robert De Niro and Taxi Driver was such an early inspiration to him until I saw some of these pictures.

Thank you goes to Avalanche over at Red Lines where I got these pictures. There is an good article on there as well you should check out about 3D's artwork with even more photos than what's on offer here.

So I've come to end of the post, (when I'm starting to run out of things to say), which is then always a good time to end on a quote, or a few in this case from some of the main participants in the Bombin' documentary. Thanks for reading and if its your first time watching Bombin', then enjoy the eighties nostalgia trip!

That’s why we started hip-hop. Because I can’t related to no ballet. And I don’t listen to no classical music. And I don’t want to hear no Elton John. I want to hear Glandmaster Flash or Afrika Bambaataa. So they can have the news stations and the television programmes, but I can have the trains and I can have the walls, and I’m going to keep going on, and I’m going to make sure before I die that people can know what happened in the South Bronx. What happened here in Wolverhampton, Birmingham, Bristol, London... If you can’t say it, spray it!
— Brim
There’s definitely going to be an uprising. A social change. We’ve got to do something before a riot happens, or somebody gets killed, or somebody be sent to the hospital. So we’ve got to get organized and stuff, and let them know we are rebuilding and getting ourselves together and we’re not going to go for the type of system they’re giving us.
— Afrika Bambaataa
I’ve been doing it [graffiti] for two and half years. It had nothing to do with the hip-hop culture as it was then. I was just getting into it and messing about and then it got a bit more serious. And then everyone started growing up together. Everyone started in different towns and everyone got to know each other.
— 3D
Eventually people will realise you can’t look at blank walls forever.
— Goldie