Early on the morning of April 2nd 2011 my mate John had a violent fall in which he did irreparable damage to himself. He spent the last 3 years in various hospitals, but sadly yesterday he lost the battle & succumbed to complications connected to his condition. I’m sad now, but I’m also happy that he’s finally at peace. ‘3 years & 4 months is an incredible amount of time for somebody to hold on his condition. Most of us would not have lasted anywhere near that amount of time & many would have died on the pavement where he fell before the ambulance arrived, but my mate John was not ‘most of us’ my mate John was a legend, the legendary ‘Robbo,’ aka King Robbo, aka Rob484, aka ‘Six to One’(Ask someone who goes down the Arsenal & they’ll explain), aka Big John, aka that massive geezer with the shoe cobbling shop on the Cally Rd, aka Dad, aka Son, aka Brother, Grandson, Uncle, Nephew & so on. My mate John was a lot of things to a lot of people, some of it not always complimentary, but if you knew the real John then you knew someone that beneath the tough guy exterior was gentle, humble, generous, sensitive & dare I say fragile! I’m proud to say that I knew the real John. I didn’t always like him, but I knew what made him tick & when he was ‘ticking’ boy! was he awesome! When he was on form I didn’t just like him, I loved him!
This photo is from 1989…. When people pass away it’s natural & to be expected that people come out & say nice stuff about them, so I’m not going to eulogize too much & then wake up tomorrow to find out that I’ve been ranting on the internet like an emotional wreck. It’s hard at a time like this to write anything which isn’t skewed by the feelings that losing a loved one can unleash. The passage below is something I wrote way before Robbo had his accident so it isn’t embellished by emotion or tainted by the fear of offending someone…. It’s a snapshot back into a time where we lived the dream & roamed the underground tunnels of London embezzled with dust & soot, the pseudo-medals of graffiti writing soldiers. It’s an honest account of the high regard in which I held (& still hold) him.
The King may indeed be dead, but my mate John will live on FOREVER!
Interview from the Aerosol Planet website Approx: 2010
The London train piece that I had the most pleasure painting. Hmmm? That was the window-down-whole-train that I did in the late 80’s at Moorgate with Robbo. I won’t claim that it had mad style but that’s not the point. The piece was about ‘The night’.
Before I ever started writing I dreamt of having a night like that. Breaking into a train station in the heart of a city. Finding a steel sacrificial lamb splayed on the alter of self gratification & indulging myself with it – To the fullest!
In the dream I was alone, but on this night I was with Robbo. In my opinion the all time King of London ‘train bombing’…. & boy did us monsters of self-gratifying greed feast ourselves that night. It was more than a train painting session. It was a graffiti orgy. A train bombing ‘bukaki party’ where we covered our victim in silver & black jizz. An aerosol gang-bang of the most disgusting proportions. I loved painting that piece. Everything about that night was dreamlike. If I’d never painted another train I couldn’t have cared less.
When we’d finished – we’d painted a six car window-down-whole-train. London’s first whole train! It sounds grandiose, but really! ‘so fucking what!‘ That night’ wasn’t just about the piece. The piece was cool but the night? The night was truly perfect. So perfect infact that if I’d had a cigar I would have sparked it up when we were done, learnt how to smoke on the spot & wallowed in the shouldering embers of its self gratifying opulence. ‘A job well done’. Alas I didn’t have a cigar, but the infamous WRH bombing bag yielded a couple of beers… Cheers!”