Smallman Syndrome - 193

Published: 14 December, 2010 - Featured in Skin Deep 193, December, 2010

One man’s tragic obsession with the sillier side of tattooing...

Hello friends.  Time for me - your friendly comedian Jim Smallman – to have my monthly rant and natter at your gorgeous faces.

I was on stage the other day introducing a friend of mine, as is often my duty as an MC at gigs.  I went through my usual routine of whipping the crowd into a frenzy (it mainly involves making them do animal noises, if I’m honest) before politely bringing him onto the stage.  Not bringing him off onto the stage, that’s an entirely different kind of show.  One of the first things he said upon grabbing the microphone concerned me, and it’s a phrase that I’ve heard countless times before:

“There’s Jim, with all his tattoos.  He’s still a lovely bloke though.”

At first that seems like a nice comment between two friends, but then analyse it further.  He has felt the need to stress that I’m a pretty OK kind of chap despite the fact that I’m fairly well inked up.  As you sit here reading this over your cornflakes or sandwich or steak and kidney pie (I decided to cover all the possible mealtimes there) you may well be quite tattooed – after all, you are reading this esteemed publication.  You might not be tattooed at all and looking for inspiration.  One thing I can guarantee is that you won’t bat an eyelid if you see someone who has spent time and money under the needle.   If anything, when I see a pretty girl with at least one sleeve I tend to go beyond batting an eyelid and just become a full-blown stalker.

However, what my friend has revealed is that mainstream society still looks at us tattooed folk like we are freaks, dangerous mavericks on the fringes of society.  And we’re not – I’m certainly not, I know that.  I’m a daft comedian who revels in having increasingly silly things etched into my skin.  Even my most modified chums - people who have everything save the insides of their eyelids shaded in – are still complete sweeties who say please and thank you and donate money each week to the Dogs Trust.

I think what it will take for attitudes to change are a few conservative bastions of society getting some work done.  To start with I nominate David Cameron gets his throat tattooed – if only so I can use him as my first ever “victim” for my tattooing skills... Or Nick Clegg with “I Love David”.  Yes, sometimes I can do political humour.  Not very often, I get distracted writing material about cheese, kittens and wool.

This month I’ve got another odd little tattoo, courtesy of my mate Shay at Kasbah in Leicester.  I collect trainers, so he’s inked me an awesome little one on my arm.

And don’t forget I want to hear your stories of bizarre ink.  Contact details are below – my favourite this month comes from the artist who lovingly created it – Cesar De Cesaro from Body Garden Tattoo in Birmingham.  I think if we look beyond the skill of the design and the excellent colours, the best bit is the cheeky look on the horny cockroaches face. Brilliant.  If you can top that, get in touch... more nonsense from me next month.  Toodle pip!


Text: Jim Smallman


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