The Vampire Hours: Happy Birthday.

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It’s my birthday and I’m racing around like an idiot taking photos of graf around the city. I do this every year in order to keep some kind of tradition that doesn’t involve cake and that god-awful song. It’s copyrighted, you know. You have to pay royalties to some geezer that lives underground in a chthonic kingdom in order to use it. Anyway the graf is what I like. It’s made by outsiders invisible to the mudane world that bring colour to the underground grey cement beneath bridges and overpasses. It’s art by trolls. To this unseen world that bring a kind of violence I really don’t see anywhere else in art. Wallspace is openly fought over by artists. They paint over their own work or the work of their rivals. It’s evolving art, radically changing, adding new layers to the cement. If you look carefully, you can see the geological-layers of latex and acrylic and sometimes oil, the cheap stuff bought at the two-dollar shop, or the good cans nicked from an unlocked shed. These are a people with no voice, no other outlet, but to sneak off in the vampire hours, spray can in hand and paint their personal poison out. And what’s on the canvas may change in a week or even less. Very few pieces that I have seen stand the test of time. It’s my third year going to the sites and rephotographing them. I learn that the wolf is gone. But the black cat remains. Everything else is different. I take as many shots as the cards will take, it will be another year before I get a chance to see this again.

My timing is good today. One of my friends, Kaelee, has finished work and we go to meet for coffee. We chat, and joke and check out the hotness from our front row seats to the public. After a while and some David Bowie-related shopping, we are racing through the night down one of the main drags of the city. Kaelee has the camera in hand, it’s set to take long exposures of rain soaked traffic. The each of the photos looks like the demonstration of particles colliding with each other in subatomic space. Later, I take a hold of the camera, while driving, and do the same. The roads are slick with rain and the blood of unfortunate fauna that got too close to the road. The clouds are low, and the city lights in the distance shine in ethereal indigo. It’s the time of night when every last sane robot has put themselves to sleep, only the mad dogs roam the night. Each of them is armed to the teeth with their tools to bring colour and beauty and violence in the darkness. Welcome to the Vampire Hours.

Photo by Kaelee.

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