Smallman Syndrome - 200

Published: 22 June, 2011 - Featured in Skin Deep 200, June, 2011

Hello everyone, I hope you’re marking the British summer by getting tattooed in between rain showers. I’ve been beavering away on my Edinburgh Fringe show as August rapidly approaches. If you happen to be in Edinburgh during the month of August do come and say hello. I’ll give you all the details at the end of this column.


You may remember me having my show title – “Tattooligan” – inked onto my stomach as an ill-thought out (and unbelievably painful) publicity stunt. Well, you can now watch a video of me having it done by visiting my website. Imagine me making my sex face for 45 minutes. That’s basically what it’s like. I can’t actually watch it – I’m a strange one as I don’t like watching myself getting tattooed. If I’m having any work done on my arm I’ll look in the other direction like a massive wuss. I don’t think it’s down to fear of needles or being squeamish, I think it’s because if you’re having something massive done I find it easy to look how long is left and get really bored, like my daughter on a car journey.  I’ve never asked an artist the question 'are we there yet?' though.

I’d like to thank you all for your help with ideas for my new show. Over the course of the last few months your emails have made me smile, provided me with some brilliant information and revealed a few things that I never knew about the world of tattoos. Do always keep them coming – if you ever get anything silly inked onto you I want to see it post-haste.

A big part of the Edinburgh Fringe is advertising. I’m going to showcase all the tattooed comics that I know in a slideshow before my shows begin, because my theory is that a tattooed person is instantly a friend of mine by default. My advert is a photograph that you’ve seen in these pages before, but illustrated beautifully by my awesome friend Gemma Osborn (designer and artist behind my wonderful sleeve). It was cheaper than hiring four buxom ladies to stand around me in a photo studio, and I reckon they look amazing. I’m actually a bit in love with one of them if I’m honest. Heavily tattooed girls with amazing bodies wearing wrestling masks? Yes please. (If you happen to be a real life version of these girls do please get in touch via the means below.  I’ll buy you cake and everything).

Every festival I do I like to get another tattoo, and I usually leave it up to the audiences as to what I get. So if you’ve got a suitably insane idea for my 2011 “thank god I survived The Fringe” tattoo/present for myself, then let me know. You could well see your idea shown in the pages of this magazine. On my arm. Because I am quite, quite silly.

I’ll mention this again next month, but if you’d like to come and see me at the Fringe in Edinburgh then my show – “Tattooligan” – is on at the Gilded Balloon Turret, 7.45pm from August 3rd to 28th (not the 17th, I’ll need a day off) and it’s a tenner. Skin Deep readers get a guaranteed hug, and probably a biscuit. Until next time...

Twittter: @jimsmallman  


Text: Jim Smallman