Bombin' – 1987 Documentary About British Graffiti and Hip-Hop Culture

First broadcast in 1987 on the UK’s Channel 4, 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 specifically for Massive Attack fans, 3D during one segment is also featured tagging alongside future Drum n’ Bass/Jungle musician Goldie in Birmingham. The two had already at this point setup the Trans-Atlantic Federation, a collective of UK/US based graffiti artists.

Perhaps the most interesting element of the Bombin’ documentary, is when we see some of the British establishment’s dismissal and even disdain to the tagging ethos and how that further alludes to the social implications of ethnicity and poverty, and their relationship with the hip-hop culture before it became widely accepted.

Chapters:

The Bronx, March 85 – 00:00-04:39
Brim In The UK – 04:39-09:45
The Pied Piper Of Spraypaint – 09:45-18:24
Brim Gets A Death Wish – 18:24-20:38
“We Will Funk You!” – 20:38-25:34
Welcome To Birmingham -25:34-31:01
Goldie And 3D – 31:01-38:03
The Wild Bunch – 38:03-45:35
Goldie in NY – 45:35-51:14
Anarchy In The UK – 51:14-55:48

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Comment (31)

  1. Can't lie – never saw this one back in the day.  Always nice to catch up on old school info / contributors but makes me sad at the same time; spoke to Blade (of Subway Art fame) some years back when he was in London and he was explaining how the New York writer community had dwindled from thousands and thousands down to just double digits – the reasons: overdoses, police brutality, electrocution and violence.  Very sad.

  2. Had to laugh at British Rail commissioning that piece early on in the video.. One of those ideas that are kinda like 'Yeah, that python would make a GREAT pet for the kids' or 'Meth? Well fukkit, just the once can't do any harm, can it? (Been known to do the occasional trackside myself 'backwhen' in case it's not clear which side of the argument I'm coming from! Oh- and this is my missus' YouTube account BTW 🙂 )

  3. Brim is sharp and articulate just like his lines and colours… Michael Winner was typically in 'that' other world of money money money and BS!….Loved this docu back then and if it wasn't for my art teacher Miss Booth I would never have got my gcse art in 1989 as she taught me to incorporate the graffiti into the surroundings but on cartridge paper.. This docu still stands up in 2017 30 years later..And yes I still paint! Peace 😉

  4. Id love to see a graffiti documentary that didnt link graffiti to Hip Hop, and maybe instead to Rock music, seeing as that is where it began.

  5. You can see 3D of Massive Attack rappin' @ 38:56

    Banksy said that 3D was his first inspiration for art in the french book about the town of Bristol "en dehors de la zone de confort" release october 2016

    but maybe 3D IS BANKSY
    who knows ha ha!

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