Skin Deep 234

Skin Deep 234 4 February 2014 234

My normal working day—not that it’s normal as normal is normally defined—has a soundtrack. For some, the soundtrack would be shameful. For some, the music that wallpapers my day is a scar on the face of humanity. That soundtrack is a radio station I pipe into my internet radio called Hair Metal FM. Basically, it’s a ton of stuff like Cinderella, Mötley Crüe and Skid Row. It wasn’t called Hair Metal back then—if it had, you can guarantee I wouldn’t have been into it—it was simply rock and we loved it because nobody was preaching to us about misery, politics or responsibility. Now I am old enough to know better, it still sounds good because I’m old enough to choose not to give a damn about misery and politics.

I do have some responsibilities now though—children, a dog, a car—those kinds of things that we all accumulate because to not accumulate anything that you care about just a little bit probably means living the existence of a hermit. And even a hermit would care about being alone enough to try and enforce it.

The music from the years in which I was pretending to be an adult makes me feel good, but one day, I know exactly what will happen. One day, a song will appear that is not of my time. A song that is not what I would call a ‘classic’. It will not belong to the Royal Pantheon and it will act as a herald that what you once thought you knew everything about has just changed. Depending on how old you are—it’s an exercise you can easily run through yourself. If you’re into football, there will be a very precise moment when what was ‘your’ football, very quickly became somebody else’s football. A point in time when you sat down on a Thursday night and no longer understood Top of the Pops. An evening you went out for a simple drink and found people you were pretty sure were too young to be in there crowding out your space.

That’s how things work. To put this in context, right now—out there and working hard in the world—are a new generation of tattooists and artists. I know this because I’ve seen them. They don’t care who Sailor Jerry is, and if they do, they don’t particularly feel like paying homage. And I understand that because—to put it in a different frame for you—it would be like Led Zeppelin not playing to the best of their ability because Chuck Berry is the ceiling. It’s also admitting something came before you, and until you have claimed your place on the tree, paying homage is a dumb thing to do. This is how Nirvana spoke to a whole generation of people. This is how a studio like Buena Vista function. Move forwards. Screw the past. If the past was so good, why is it no longer here?

You can make the same comparisons with football, cars, technology… things change all the time because people find better ways to do things on a daily basis. Not in the history of anybody I have ever known has the name John Logie Baird come up when we’ve been watching television, but I’m sure that once upon a time—maybe when the remote control came into existence—there was somebody standing in the corner saying something like “John would be rolling in his grave if he could see this”. Though I suspect he would be rolling a lot faster still if he ever witnessed some of the scratcher TV that masquerades as entertainment right now.

When you notice this change in your world, you will mourn it. You will mourn it because it means you got older without intending to. Kids will turn into young adults and they will be the very first people to discover tattoos… ever. They will not give a flying one about your ‘ancient’ tattoo whether you got it down the street from where you’re standing right now or flew to the nether regions of Sweden for it. All they will give a damn about is their own tattoo. And when their friends get tattooed as well, they will tell them it’s fantastic, but they will still go home and think theirs is the best in the world because that’s how everything works.

Bring it on. We are ready.

Aren’t we?


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