Skin Deep 182

As I am writing this, the snow is still piling up outside my window with no sign of it abating. To start with it was really nice and good fun, going out building snowmen, throwing snow balls and generally getting up to snowy shenanigans; but as the weeks have gone on, I’m getting a little fed up of not being able to get out and about as freely as I am used to. This seems to be the same for all of us up and down the country. 

Watching the news also I see that the inclement weather has been affecting businesses, with many having the threat of closure or bankruptcy hanging over their heads like the Sword of Damocles. This is a sorry state of affairs and can only add to the misery and uncertainty for all. We have all heard the doom mongers harping on about the state of the UK’s economic situation and this got me thinking about the current state of the tattoo industry.

Recently I was having a chat with a tattooist based in the UK and he mentioned that in his small Southern town, there are at least five other tattoo studios (this is echoed all over the UK as most major town and cities boast at least five studios). He was saying that as well as his own studio, four of the others in his locale are also custom-based shops and one is a walk-in studio; the latter catering for those who want a tattoo ‘now’ and don’t want to wait for something a little more thought-out or a bit more unique. Obviously, if you go for a one-off piece of ink, you will expect to pay a little more than you would for say, a basic piece of flash, and have the possibility of a reasonable wait. This is pretty much universally accepted. 

During our conversation, he mentioned that the ‘flash shop’ locally to him had just put their prices up by twenty pounds on all their tattoo designs. Now you may think to yourself that to put their prices up while nearly every other business is having a sale or reducing their prices just to entice folk to part with their hard-earned cash is a little risky or just plain foolhardy? But apparently the flash shop is still doing very well without any sort of fallout from their recent price hike.

All the other studios in the area are busy and many are filling their order books for a few months in advance, which is encouraging to say the least. 

So what’s happened to the so-called recession then? During my conversation with this tattooist, he came up with a very good and possible reason behind the apparent proliferation of folk wanting to get new ink. He said that in these days of the economic belt tightening, it is good to spoil yourself once in a while, and what better way than with a new tattoo?

Think about it…we all have bills to pay, especially as the current snow-bound country struggles with a distinct lack of salt for the roads and the 

sub-zero temperatures making many domiciles colder than your average freezer, so we have to crank up the heating a bit more than we would like to and I personally spent close to two hours driving around trying to find a bag or two of coal for my fire the other day; so we are sadly forced into spending money that we can ill-afford just to survive. Couple all this with the post-Christmas bills, and all we seem to be doing is shelling out for goods and services that we don’t really see any return for.

So maybe the reason for the apparent lack of recession for tattoo studios is the fact that we all like to give ourselves a little something that makes us feel good. We as human beings need to get something just for ourselves once in a while and what better way to cheer ourselves up than with a tattoo? 

Call it tattoo retail therapy, if you like.

Let’s face it; what other item can you buy that will be with you until they nail the lid on your coffin, make you smile each time you look at it and ultimately, make you feel good about yourself?

I reckon the government should offer tattoos on the NHS – that should keep the Seasonal Affective Disorder sufferers (including me) happy; who needs a daylight lamp? A new tattoo will suit me just fine!


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