Skin Deep 202

I went to a wedding this last weekend. A proper big formal affair with suits and ties. It wasn’t until everybody was actually gathered in the grounds of the church that I realised just how bare everybody is! 

You kind of get used to “everybody in the world being tattooed” very fast, but this was a real blank canvas. I (almost) got quite excited when I saw a rosary around a calf. No doubt there were more hidden beneath suits but to the naked eye, it was quite fascinating to be there. At first I figured that maybe it was because it was a proper church wedding (not just a wedding in a church, it was the whole nine yards of Jesus – that can be harsh on a pagan soul), but during the evening reception, I got talking to a guy outside. I say “a guy” but by way of explanation I should probably call him “another smoking guy”. 

Turns out he was a clergy associate of the happy couple but also just about the coolest vicar I have ever met. We talked about soldiers and Help for Heroes (he was a forces chaplain), he showed me a picture he had in his pocket of a huge dragon he wanted tattooed down his back but couldn’t for medical reasons and it was genuinely great to have a decent conversation with an educated person.

Which leads me on nicely to being randomly called up by Radio 2 for a five minute slot on the Simon Mayo show – with Liza Tarbuck standing in for him. I’m always wary of live radio because you never know what road it’s going to go down. As previously mentioned in other editorials, London Radio always like to call me up when somebody has done something publicly stupid and they want to talk about it. I have since stopped taking their calls. Where do you possibly stand to defend tattoo when people do dumb-ass things? Anyway, Liza was genuinely interested and it was all good and positive stuff – especially to the outside world. We’ll put that in the win column.

Then this morning, the Independent called to do an interview around “are tattoos becoming more middle class these days?” A good question. I’m not even sure what middle class is anymore. Does it still exist? Perhaps it’s a myth fueled by people who like to segregate because the boss is adamant about demographics. I don’t know what they’re going to write – it will be out in the world by the time you read this. I sincerely hope it’s positive because I was. Whether it turns out good or bad, I promise you this. With the assistance of some handy online artwork from Yann Black at, one national newspaper journalist got an education about what was possible in this world, and that’s never a bad thing.

If changing minds one person at a time is what it takes, that’s good enough for me.


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