Although I wasn't massively into the 70's NY graffiti as lots of folks are, I was recommended this book by many of my friends, and I have to say it goes BEYOND anything you think it will be like. I honestly couldn't put it down. When I hand this book to people, I say 'just turn to any page, and see what you think', and they are always smiling, or saying 'whaaat?? No way!'.
Fuzz just got up to so much, at such a young age. I think it affected me doubly because I have 2 boys that are both the same age as Fuzz was when he started writing (11!!), and I thought I did some crazy graff stuff when I was a kid....but it's nowhere near as nuts as some of the scrapes he gets into - and they don't always have nice endings for poor Fuzz.
Fuzz has a very genuine, funny personality; he's quite a good raconteur, and this definitely comes across in his writing. He hasn't exactly got a PhD in English, but his writing style is very direct, and comes straight from the soul. He's the sort of guy you would have wanted to know when you were a kid. Plus, as other reviewers have said, he really does paint the picture so vividly of how New York was back then. I really think this would make an INCREDIBLE movie.
Another thing I would like to say is, if you like this book, then give Fuzz a shout on FB or whatever. I've actually had text chats with him a few times. He's a cool guy, and appreciates people liking his work. He can still rock a mean outline too.
i can not put this book down. excellent NY subway graf photos from 1970 to 1979. his stories are a blast. this kid was bombing trains HARD at the age of 12 with the likes of dondi, noc, etc...if you got any interest in graf get this, you'll not be disappointed! a solid (by that i mean heavy and well produced) book which you'll keep for years and keep going back to, i know i will. put this alongside dondi white and the nasty t-kid.
Anyone with a passing interest in graffiti, 'The history of...' or New York in the 70's will find a lot to love in this book. As much a coming-of-age for the city around him as it is the author . In the face of adversity Vincent aka Fuzz One manages to bring a warmth & humour to the pages & i found i didn't want the book to end. I bought this book to read about the graffiti scene from a particular time, what i got was a modern-day 'Tom Sawyer' & a snapshot of an era that will never come again.
It's a great read. Full of details. The story telling tends to wander off at tangents a little but it's written as if the guy is right there telling you what he got up to last night down at the #4 yard. Any writers from any country will love this and will find something they can identify with and if you're not an old school writer, you'll still love the adventure.
The message of Graffiti art has ridden many vehicles throughout the globe since Henry and Martha's Subway art. Subsequently homegrown scenes have flourished off the back of these, shaped in large part by the new practitioneers interpretation of the NY dynasty.
The truth of the matter though is that the nature of the game and how it was conducted during that NY dynasty has not really been exposed in a good old story telling account that really draws the curtain back for an outsider to look into. Whether thats been down authors withholding accounts becouse of the criminality factor, literary ability of the practitioneers to express it, or just sensitivity to giving out inadvertent fame, i dont know.
This books strength for me is to convey in rawness and rich detail, the life that sorrounded the act of practising graffiti in NY during the '70's, within graffiti social circles and beyond. I believe someone has already likened it to a modern urban Tom Sawyer tale and thats a good analogy to put forward. In this respect this book leaves ALL other graffiti publications behind. Admittingly i found myself questioning the factual credability of some of the accounts, but im in no position to debate that, and in truth i didnt care to, on the basis that its so damn entertaining.
Never has accounts of various 'social deviancy' (wanton vandalism in pursuit of peer recognition amongst MANY others) been related with such unapolegetic humour. For any NON graffiti enthusiast, there is a tiny bit of unnecessary detail to get past, but that shouldnt be allowed to stop you accessing a story that you just wouldnt find told anywhere else. I would very much doubt that anyone who might be predisposed to a negative disposition of such activities, be caring to do so on account of being so thoroughly entertained by it. The man cannot be criticisied for a lack of charisma, thats for sure.
This book really is unsurpassed. before this 'Getting UP' - Craig Castleman related a variety of good depth accounts and broadened it into the political and economic backdrop. That book i still highly recommend. Otherwise, further quality inside NY accounts can be found in 'Terrible T kid 170' - Julius Cavero and 'Hip Hop Files' - Martha Cooper.
Lastly its worth mentioning that Fuzz has a follow up book to this. "Fuzz One - Last of the Old School". Not as polished as his first, but still engaging with stories that explore a darker side of NY life. A variety of personalities, their hustles and their beat downs, reflecting at times the human wreackage that NY city chewed up and spat out. This one is only available from the man himself. Makes it a small mission to get a copy but google search around and you'll uncover details somewhere.