For nearly three years now (doesn’t time fly) you have been reading my editorials about how society has started to finally embrace the fact that tattoos and tattooed people are not all scum-bag-no-hopers and criminals but real people with intelligent and well rounded reasons as to why they wear their art on their skin. This is in no small way due to the tattooists continually pushing themselves to produce a better and better quality of work and the people getting ink being more educated and discerning in their choices. But this month there have been two incidents that have made my jaw drop and my fists clench.
The first was early March when the BBC’s Andrew Marr interviewed the Work & Pensions secretary, John Hutton, and asked him about plans for Job Centre staff to get new suits and hair cuts for jobless people, as well as advise them to remove piercings and direct them to their nearest laser tattoo removal facility. All in the name of getting people into work and breaking the “Can work but won’t” culture in some areas. Not necessarily a bad aim but is this the approach to be taking? John Hutton did say that he wasn’t sure that it would go as far as the removal of tattoos, but as we all know from past experiences, there is no smoke without fire and I hear that Job Centre staff see it as the way they will be going (if they have not been privatised).
So is this a case of big brother government telling jobless people how they will look OR are they reacting to those small-minded middle England people out there who will not employ a person with tattoo or not purchase their goodies from an assistant with a tattoo? What does this say about the business and management mantra about diversity in your workforce and in society, or does that diversity only go as far as the colour of someone’s skin or their sexual preferences? I personally know of a judge, 2 doctors and several policemen who all sport some splendid ink, does this make them any less employable? Tattoos are a statement of who you are NOT what you do.
The second was closer (geographically) to home. My local newspaper has been running a series of articles about a ‘mobile’ tattooist who recently tattooed a full English breakfast on the head of a ‘jobless’ nineteen year-old lad. The tattoo covers the whole of his head and to be honest, isn’t the best work I’ve seen. This tattooist has gone on to tattoo a slice of pizza on his neighbour’s head, in a pub in Conwy and is quoted as saying: ‘The response to the full English tattoo has been astounding. He’s appeared on television to show off the tattoo.’ Both the Pizza slice and the full English were tattooed for charity. So again not a bad aim but is it the best way to get there? I’m not claiming to be the tattoo police or anything but if the local photography club had taken a load of blurred photos and tried to flog them for charity they would be told in no uncertain terms to get lost. The guys seem are chuffed to bits with their tattoos but I wonder if they would be if they had seen the quality of tattoos published in Skin Deep and other tattoo magazines? But my real bewilderment comes from why, oh why, do the media insist on concentrating on what are frankly, second-rate tattoos? I think we have the reality TV programmes to thank for this, such programmes as Big Brother say to people you don’t have to have talent or go about this the right way. You don’t have to do it the hard way or the proper way, just go for it any way that will get you noticed – even if it is only for your 5 minutes of fame.
Right, that’s me done. All I have to do now is sit back and wait for the libel cases to roll in…
Enjoy this month’s magazine, which I hope you agree has a selection of what are some of the best tattoos that the world has to offer.
You’ll also notice there is a new ‘Pull out’ Section in the magazine. This will be the regular bi-monthly free supplements’ but we have decided to include it as part of the magazine so you don’t loose it.