Skin Deep 176

By the time you read this, the tattooed tribe will have left the second Tattoo Jam convention and the dust will be settling on Doncaster Racecourse after we handed the course back to the owners to continue with their equine events.

The show was a big success from our point of view and all of the visiting artists that spoke to me had great things to say about Tattoo Jam. This was our first year at the new venue and there will always be the odd teething problem but nothing was insurmountable. Onwards and upwards for next year!

Being on-site from the Wednesday, I had the chance to get out and about in Doncaster and I spoke to many bar and restaurant owners about the forthcoming event. Some were looking forward to the weekend, with many rubbing their hands together in anticipation for the opportunity to fill their tills with cash, while others were waiting in trepidation for the hoards of drunken tattooed thugs to swing into town and ransack their houses and eat their children. (I swear a few were contemplating boarding up their windows to save their shop fronts!).

I tried my best to placate them but many of my words fell on deaf ears such was their fear.

Still, Tattoo Jam took place and Doncaster’s population swelled by several thousand brightly coloured bodies for the three days of tattooing fun.

So in the interest of market research and the fact that not a lot of food or drink had passed my lips due to the Tattoo Jam workload, I took a trip into town on the Sunday evening to gauge the reaction of the proprietors I had spoken to previously and to get a well-earned meal.

Without exception, every person I spoke to had not a bad word to say about the extra visitors that had descended over the weekend and all were more than pleasantly surprised by the tattooed individuals they had met.

Each and every vendor, hotelier and bar owner all said the same thing; “Aren’t those tattooed people nice” This was no surprise to me but it is always great to see and hear people’s reactions go from pure defensiveness to sighs of relief and even friendliness as they realised that tattooed people are very nice, intelligent and articulate people. 

As I was clearing up the venue on the Sunday evening, I spoke to many of the Racecourse’s staff and again, they all said how polite the tattoo fans
were over the weekend. Many said they would prefer to serve tattoo convention goers any day compared to ‘Joe public’ at the many race days they host at the venue, as the Tattoo Jam fans were very patient and courteous.

I think the good burghers of Doncaster were even more impressed when they looked in their tills at the end of the weekend to see them full to bursting. I’m sure this must be the case in all the towns when the ‘tattoo circus’ pulls into town. Currently in the UK there is a huge choice when it comes to tattoo events (some say there are too many) and each show has to be hosted in a city or town; so each area will benefit from the influx of money in what are, lets face it, hard times for British businesses. I find it really encouraging that we all manage to save that little bit every now and then to get our fix of ink, because getting tattooed makes you feel good! This in turn helps the UK economy so everyone’s happy.

Now we all know that we are part of a colourful and kind tattoo family but we do still have to prove our worth in society compared to ‘normal’ folk, which is a shame considering the enlightened times we supposedly live in. I think the tattooist Jeremiah Barba sums it up perfectly in his interview this month (Pages 52 - 58) when he said; ‘Once you’ve got even a small tattoo, you’re part of the family’. I personally go out of my way to be nice and polite to someone who obviously looks aghast at my ink. It doesn’t take too long before they realise that we are only humans, all be it brightly coloured ones!

I’ve written many times about the social stigma of tattoos and there have been many, many books and papers written about this subject also; coming from differing angles and points of views but it all boils down to the same thing at the end of day; we are all human beings but we have to and will continue to prove our worth in society and I look upon ourselves as being ambassadors for the tattoo industry.

I’m certain that next year the doors to Doncaster will be held open widely for us, such was the perfect behaviour of all attending Tattoo Jam. And 

I personally would like to thank you all for that. 

See you next year!



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