The Martin Jones Archives - Part 2
An Englishman in New York: Goldie, Hotel Chelsea, New York City, June 1986. Image: Martin Jones In June 1986 I took Goldie and Birdie (the Supreme Graffiti Team) to New York to meet some of the founders of the Hip Hop movement. Our itinerary was arranged by Henry Chalfant, who was highly influential in fostering early Hip Hop culture in New York. (He set up some of the Rock Steady Crew’s first public performances and later went on to achieve worldwide recognition for graffiti art through his books ‘Subway Art’ and ‘Spraycan Art’.) At Henry’s suggestion, we stayed at the Hotel Chelsea on West 23rd Street, a famous place where rock stars stayed when visiting New York – and where Andy Warhol made his film ‘Chelsea Girls’. The weather was incredibly hot and most of all humid – you only had to step outside the air-conditioned hotel and you became soaked with sweat. I remember us drinking full litre bottles of Coke to remain hydrated - and eating lots of giant pizzas. The visit could not have been more eventful, literally from day one. Henry arranged for Goldie and Birdie to dance in a commercial for Ford Cars in Grand Army Plaza. Later in the visit they met all-time graffiti great Seen at his airbrush T-shirt studio, Ken Swift of the Rock Steady Crew, ‘Wild Style’ film star and graf artist Lee Quinones, and were taken on a tour of the city’s graf sites by T-Kid of The Nasty Boys crew. They also filmed the second part of Dick Fontaine’s Channel Four documentary (called Bombin’), showing Goldie and Birdie on the Staten Island ferry and meeting up with Brim and Bio of TAT crew and Hip Hop godfather Afrika Bambaataa at the Bronx River Projects housing estate. The visit was highly significant in Goldie’s development. It expanded his horizons beyond the UK and brought him into contact with a range of highly influential contacts who have continued to inspire him in his subsequent career.