Skin Deep 236

Skin Deep 236 1 April 2014 236

As I sat down to write this column, one of my news feeds told me that today is Jack Kerouac’s birthday. I don’t think he would make a very good 92 year old. Road trips in your extreme old age are probably not half as much as much fun as they were in your twenties - but as I touched the red wire to the blue wire in my head, I looked at some pictures of him doing his thing and wondered if he was the kind of guy who would have gotten tattooed if he had been born into a different era - mostly; into our era.

I kind of like this game. Imagining figures from history and the tattoos they might have as we hit the year 2000. Would they be tattooed at all? Some of them may have rebelled against the rebellion of it but I still like the thought of Christopher Wren designing his own architectural tattoo and presenting it in a studio to challenge the poor artist on the other end of the machine with a task worthy of being called a task.

Importantly though, when I had gotten bored of that game, it also occurred to me that somewhere along the timelines of er… time, tattoos have become different things to different generations. If you send yourself back in time to its origin and really consider it at a base level, it had a real purpose in life but if we stay within living memory, things are changing quicker than ever.

If I take myself back to my first time - which would be the late eighties - my reasons for getting a tattoo where genuine at the time. If you pressed me on it, I could probably come up with no better answer than “I wanted one”. That was how things were thought about then. I certainly wasn’t alone either. There were many of us who ‘wanted one’ and consequently, ‘got one’. It was most definitely an act of rebellion for me. It was also very much inspired by wanting to be part of a tribe - in my case, the ‘rock tribe’. Most of which was fuelled by our alternative cover star Tommy Lee and the other guys in Motley Crue. (Did I forget to mention we had two covers this month?) There were others though. I had friends back then who were big football fans who got football badges tattooed - and as much as I would like think my train of thought was much holier, time has taught me that really, we were both thinking the same thing.

As we zap forward in time, something has changed. At some point, a tattoo not only became a sign of rebellion (and the irony is not lost on me that there are now so many of us, there’s not much rebellion involved at all) but also a fashion statement.

I can’t get my head into the mind of somebody who would want one for the sake of fashion but I’m grown up enough to say it’s not a bad thing. Getting yourself a tattoo to be fashionable is not really that different to getting one to be rebellious… which in turn, is not that different to marking yourself as the tribal shaman. Not really.

All of these concepts - and all those I haven’t mentioned that happened in between - are valid. The end result is always the same. Whatever your reason for getting a tattoo, you are now tattooed - and that puts you in ‘The Big Tribe’.

To those without ink, you are not a metal-head or a fan of sports or even a shaman anymore - you’re simply tattooed and they don’t care about the background of your ink. You are simply all the same because you have ink. End of story.

And yet, we are all very, very unique. I know this. You know this. This means the whole world to us.

The question itself is only as serious as you want it to be in the first place but if you have this in your hands, it’s worth you noting that we have only one issue of Skin Deep between this place and our twentieth birthday issue. Things change. We must always change. If you don’t change you will get left royally behind.

I need a plan.

Being fashionable is not on the agenda. I wouldn’t know fashion if it camped out in my garden. Being rebellious at this point in time, would be embarrassing.

That only leaves me with one alternative. Strap on some rockets and light the touch paper.

You didn’t really think we haven’t been working on this for months on end did you?

It’s time to go all Christopher Wren on your ass.


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