The Grifters™ Blog

© Article and photos: Cokney.com



Paris is easy.
City of lights, city of romance, a century old metro.
An unique system, dug out step by step, inch by inch by the ghostly rodents of our beautiful city.
Filled with joy, pain, revolutions and betrayals. Shaped and etched by a century full of crucial history.
Industrial age, iron beams, bolts, moldings, ceramics, art nouveau.
Maintenance corridors, junctions, hatches, electrical stations.
Dense and complexe network, the guts of our town.
But an easy system?
System that attracts and soothes the seekers of its freedoms. To our health !
Paris is easy, make me laugh.


I’m waiting.
Still waiting, in a large cold hall that parisians like me know well. Waiting for a father, a lawyer, a brother. On the other side of this wall, my friend, my brother in arms. He is waiting too. Soon we will know. Soon perhaps he will spend many months waiting behind another wall.  A taller, larger wall with bars. A wall that makes me ashamed, in spite of everything, of being part of this system. But with a little luck we will have a steak dinner tonight. Luck indeed, this is not on television. Here it is russian roulette, the right judge, the right prosecutor, the right lawyer. Justice, Luck.


Already arrested, a fake anonymous call was the only piece of evidence, he had admitted that pride cost him a 120 000 euros fine and many months on a suspended sentence.


Act two.
Someone’s knocking on the door again.
"Hi it’s the police, sick grandpa, we’re here to break everything." Smashing the place for the fun of it, American tv show, but it is French reality. So much for grandpa’s stuff. Second arrest, no evidence this time around.
Not even the anonymous call, just a suspicion, names that look alike - one letter difference. Apparently someone else was arrested along with him. A young guy, two years in the painting game, but he’s not the perpetrator.
A ghost name as we say, they’re going after him for a bunch of "Bronx" pieces. However I know its not him, the Bronx they are looking for is next to me. The perpetrator, the culprit, is on the good side of the wall. A friend of mine, young guy as well. Grew up in the south Bronx on 167th street, New york. Came to Paris for a six month stay.
They could have taken in Fizz, too. He was probably the first to destroy Parisian subway cars with that name… Bronx.


Two innocent people in the dock.
They deny the charges. Even if in France the defendant’s guilt must be established, the printed pages of the Law have flown far far away. They made paper planes out of them, planes that flew through the luxurious large windows of the courts, above the Seine, further still over the tall buildings of north paris and far, far, further still…


Miscarriage of justice.
Mistakes in the paperwork, wrong dates, charges pressed too late, not a hint of solid evidence. Later I found out that the cops knew about their fuckup but decided to send the case over to the courts regardless. They are paid according to their statistics after all. I wait. Finally my friend appears in the defendant’s dock once again. The guilty man’s dock. In this dock evidence doesn't carry much weight. Where you come from and what you did in the past is more important than the facts. This is a solid bunch of guilties. Prison sentences are read out. My hands shake, my stomach is in knots. Great are the chances that I won’t have dinner with my friend tonight. Tension, hateful tension towards this system. Hatred for the prosecutor that doesn't look at the facts. Towards the cops that make them up because they don’t have the brains to do their job properly.


My heart is tense.
Several thousand euros in fines, to be added to the previous ones. 6 months in prison to be served later. My partner and I shall dine together tonight. My smile is back, for no good reason. A cop’s word and the previous offense were enough to establish guilt. The young fake Bronx was sentenced instead of my american friend, the Graffiti Brigade quickly caught on to their mistake, but who cares? The injustice of it all is erased by the joy of being together. Still it lurks and jeers. Looks down on us, the two of us and all the painters of these cities. You can be the sharpest , the tidiest , leave no trace of yourself behind your painting, behind your stolen moment of freedom this is not how it works here. The law of betrayal rules here. The law of the cops who were turned down from better jobs, complete geeks, dreaming of the stasi, with a blank check to score some statistics. So there are no limits,
Lies, Trumped up evidence, snitches, inflating fines, intimidation over a  Metallica soundtrack, with a Punisher t-shirt on.
This is Paris
Paris is easy
text : Cokney –  translation : G.C.




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