Skin Deep 233

Skin Deep 233 7 January 2014 233

My love/hate relationship with the mainstream media continues to go downhill.

Last week I was asked to provide a ‘Top Ten’ list of most popular tattoos for a certain respectable newspapers end of year supplement. There was a part of me that wanted to say no - that’s not really the sort of thing any of us can log. It’s not like I could realistically say: “This year, there were a lot of tattoos of skulls” because there always are, or “There was a massive influx of grizzly bears wearing baseball caps because of the er.. bears with baseball caps invasion from March.”

The part of me that would have said no, also knows that if I had, they would have gone somewhere else to ask until eventually somebody would have said yes and I would end up sitting in my Christmas pants on Boxing Day wondering how they had managed to decide on these popular items. When those are your options, you buckle up and do what you think is right for the sake of the bigger picture.

I must admit, it did cross my mind to make it up off the top of my head and be responsible for the whole of next year’s “very popular” list - that would be funny.“Unbelievably popular this year have been owls with clocks for eyes” - then, all I would need to do is sit back and wait for them to be submitted - or a BBC news item perhaps:

“And finally, here’s a report on David Attenborough getting his first tattoo - a traditional Barn Owl with clocks for eyes. Joe Murphy reports…”

I didn’t though. What I did was make a proper list based on what I’ve seen coming through for Skin Shots. Then the email came through asking specifically for a top ten for men and top ten for women.

Really? Like some fashion accessory list? Number three: Blue crocodile skin bag from Prada. Number two:  Black and Decker false nails. And at number one: Charity shop hats in the colour of teal.

I began to think I was missing something, which would be an awful position for the editor of Skin Deep to be in, but I considered it again and decided that no, what they were asking for was just stupid. Tattoos are not cars. There is no central database where all artists must submit what they’ve done this week.

I decided to dish out popular themes instead and came up with a solid list of honest themes that have been popular this year. It’s not uber-interesting because of that, but at least it’s honest.

All of that aside, this request was made late on a Friday evening with a ‘very urgent deadline of the following Monday - could I do it across the weekend?” I like to help out, so of course I could. Right in the middle of wrapping it up on Monday morning and sourcing the best pictures I could find, came what’s known in the business as ‘The Chase’.

“Where is my stuff, I have a deadline.” or words to that effect. It was actually reasonably polite.

“It’s right here - here are the links you need. All the files are credited with the artists names.” etc.

And then, despite the fact that I’d spent a good couple of hours making sure it looked like a good list, was not a million miles away from the truth and sourced the best images I could from top artists to go with them so as it would look good - do you know the response I got in return?

Nothing. Nothing at all. Not “Thanks, that’s very helpful”, nor “That’s not really what we were looking for”, not even “This list is shit, we’re going to ask somebody else for a better honest opinion”.

Zilch. I didn’t expect a dozen red roses, a crisp fiver stuffed in my pocket or even half a Twix that she found under the seat of her car but a simple “Thanks” would have been good enough.

I came very close to pulling the plug, but I shall let it stand - and it had better be exactly as I wrote it down and they had better spell my name right too. Next year, please, don’t think of me because having read your blog containing pimps for just four books that do nothing other than recycle the back cover blurb, the little respect I had exists no longer.

Don’t mistake my kindness for being weak dear journalist. I am kind to everyone. But if you treat me like a fool, kind is not what you will remember about me.

People go to university to learn how to be like this you know.



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