I heard about this book a couple of months ago. looks like its not too far off coming out now, here an interview with the makers of the book nicked off PLASTIC BONES
Firstly, in one sentence describe this book for us..
London Black Book is gonna be an A4 book jam packed with sketches, outlines, characters and throw ups from 150 of London’s most notorious and prolific writers to have painted in capital over the last 25 years.
How successful were sales on the first book? Was it ever about the money or was it more of a vocation for you?
The first books gone OK, as long as I broke even, I was gonna be happy. I knew making a book on tags and bombing was never gonna be massive. If it was about making dough I would of made a book on stencil or street art and not bombing. I had the chance to let big publishing companies take it from me but thought I’d have a crack at it myself. Why spend 8 years making a book if your gonna give it all to some publishing company to use. One of the most satisfying thing to come from London Handstyles was that I sold copies to some far out spots around the world, China, Australia, Canada, Argentina, Mexico and loads to Poland for some reason. It’s nice to know there are people reading my books on the other side of the world.
Did the popularity and positive feedback encourage you to make a sequel, or was it always on the cards?
I started to make a Black Book before the Handstyles book, so it was always sort of on the cards.
London Handstyles was a good mix of words and images, will there be the same sort of balance in the new one?
This ones gonna be just like a sketchbook, pure outlines and characters, all in black ‘n’ white and colour. There will be some pages that have the photo with the outline aswell.
Any negative feedback from the first book?
A couple of people said they wished I had taken a better flicks of their tags, which is a weird one, but apart from that everyone was pretty positive and happy with how it turned out.
Just how much of a nightmare has it been to gather contributions from writers, who are notoriously difficult to organise and round up at the best of times?
Most people have been a bit long a times but on the whole good after a bit of reminding. Some people you could ask for the rest of your life and they would still keep you waiting, but you can’t get everyone on board, that would be impossible.
Are the contributions predominantly from illegal or legal writers or is it a mixed bag?
Everyone in the book has painted illegally at some point, I don’t think you can call yourself a writer unless you have painted illegally at some point. Some of the people included are still out there on the regular. A lot of the old school writers who were prolific back in the 80’s and 90’s are obviously not as active anymore but are still about which is still good to see.
I generally prefer seeing bombers and illegal painters outlines as they have developed a certain stylised rawness and are usually kept under wraps, they give a rare glimpse into what they would produce without the time restraints etc and are a rare sight, will the book contain plenty of these hidden gems?
I have tried to get a really big mix writers from over the years, cos to me that’s what makes up the city. I’ve got stuff from out and out and out bombers, train writers, all rounders and then old school writers who now mainly paint productions. There is a good mix of people and styles including stuff from Fume, Teach, Band, Zomby, Met, Snag, Neas, Panik, Vibes, Akt ,10 Foot plus over 150 others.
Were you able to get any elusive old school greats to contribute that were absent last time round?
I got some good stuff from Elk, Prime, Robbo, Petro, Goldie, Splat, Coma, Skore, Kast, Desire, Merc, Mean, Doze, Fame and Masika.
Where are we going to be able to grab it from?
It will be available from the website when it’s up and running then in some shops including Chrome and Black and the Bench in Birmingham.
I’ve noticed there seems to have been an influx of generic books on street art on the shelves of independent and mainstream book shops, do you think this will go some way to redress the balance and educate the somewhat blinkered masses?
Think you will always get clueless people that don’t really understand the difference between stencil and street art and graffiti. Put a shit graffiti book on the shelves of a big book shop and the masses will buy it without even really knowing what it is. Last time I was in Waterstone’s I couldn’t believe how many shit graffiti books there are with no real substance or history. To me pages and pages of pieces gets a bit boring after a while. The best books I have seen for a while are the Jepsy and Sento on the run books.
Any rough idea of a release date?
By the end of the summer, if all goes to plan.
Will there be another messy launch party after the frenzied bombing and resulting clean up after the last one?
Yeah, I’d like to have another launch night. Would like to do something a bit different. I thought about having the launch as an all day party on the circle line, but then realised the circle line does not keep going round now!! The last launch night was hectic, over 150 writers came along and there was not one punch up. It’s good to know London writers can get together without the bullshit.
If this goes well will there be a third book?
No way, after this one I’m gonna hang up my boots. I’ve seen a few mock ups of Drax and Skore’s book and that looks the amazing. I’ll wait for there one to come out!!
Keep checking back for more info and release dates….PB