Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Dragon Bar RIP

The Dragon Bar, the legendary graffiti, drinking, snogging and fighting venue passed from our lives about 4 weeks ago. An effort had been made to torch the place, as stunningly captured by our friend on the spot Romanywg.

Photo: Romanywg

The inside of the decaying stripped out husk which previously had been such a vibrant, sweaty germ incubating den for felons whose idea of a crime is leaving art on walls was actually un-harmed by the inferno. Mainly because the fire was in the condemned slum building next door.

The intrepid GRAFFOTO.CO.UK team, accompanied by the legendary Romanywg took a stroll down there this evening to try and liberate a particular pane of glass supposedly decorated with a Faile one-off, a kind of Holy Grail for graffiti addicts.

Looking nervously round the front at our intended route in over the hoarding, the builders had further secured that edge with the addition during the afternoon of a brand new flat roof over the pavement. The fence round the back was impenetrable due to a steep drop into the building site. Romanywg’s lateral thinking processes kicked, he pulled the door, nothing happened. He then pushed the front door, and it opened. In we tumbled and spent a happy half hour scrambling through the debris.

First surprise was to find the all the panes of glass in the window closest to the back door, the smoking balcony, had been replaced with brand new glass. Bizarre in a building being demolished.

The wall at the end of the bar furthest from Leonard street has been demolished and is currently open to the elements. There is no sign of the bar, the booze, nor the easy chairs. Nor of the Faile dog, the Eine Canvas, nor the fabled Bansky canvas.

Ascending the stairs into areas I where had never wandered in previous drunken visits (there be all sorts of demonic rituals afoot up there I believed) we found piles of debris including

Posters for Dragon Bar nights of debauchery,

Torn off Bast Revolution de Papel paste-up relics,

Various small marker pen version of Che Guevara were found on the stairs and partition walls, which could have been done by any number of artists exploiting that clich├ęd image (gag tm D*Face).

Howaboutno had gone strangely quiet for several minutes, when we found him hunched protectively over a treasure trove he muttered “get off, I’ve found their stash of hardcore and its all mine”

Climbing further up we found plenty of spliffed art, pissed tags and curiously, lots of mice characters.

One street facing wall was blessed with an impressive wall to ceiling free-hand Che. Who knos the story behind this?

We found a free standing board painted with a sunburnt skinny bloke with saggy tits. Sorry Big Stew.

From the Faile collective we found stickers:

Photo HowAboutNo

We found Faile Challengers

We Failed to find the pane of glass, but we did find a shakey wooden ladder leading to a roof trapdoor.

Thank god for British Summer Time, daylight! We emerged onto the roof overlooking Old Street Roundabout, face to face firstly with the burnt-out, charred shell of the upper floors of the building next door and, miraculously un-harmed by smoke or flames, the elusive so-difficult-to-photograph-from-street-level collaboration between Lister and Sickboy. RESULT

Nice little temple in the foreground

At this point we were spotted leaving our own form of water feature tribute on the roof by builders and a squad of heavies chucked us out.

Au Revoir Dragon Bar, we look forward to christening the toilets in your new premises sometime soon.

More photos ....

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