Skin Deep 239

Skin Deep 239 24 June 2014 239

A friend of mine - not the same friend who had his ever increasing cycle of partners tattooed on him - recently got some new ink.

Rather excitedly, he sent me a picture of it. I’m not sure there was actually any expectation over what I would do with it, I think it was simply to say ‘Hey, look what I got done’, which is a good thing because I wasn’t at all sure what to make of it when it arrived.

Let us count the number of sins.

If it cost more than £30, I would be surprised. There was possibly even some change due from that as well. If it was done in a registered studio, it should be shut down immediately. Hell, if it was done in anything that had the cheek to even call itself a studio, it should be shut down. In fact, it’s pretty plain for even a banana to see the exact circumstances of its ‘creation’.

Which begs the question of why I bother ever opening my mouth around here. All these things that we have ever spoken about across the years, and I am talking about all of us: writers, readers, artists, are the hints we’ve been dropping even hitting the ground? Are they just bouncing around in some anti-grav room from which there is no escape?
You would think that along with not drinking and driving, not making toast or drying your hair in the bath and not accepting a lift from anybody that drives a Rover, getting a tattoo in this way is about the dumbest idea ever. I’m actually quite shocked (yeah - the un-shockable is shocked) that a friend of mine would even go down this road. It doesn’t affect our friendship one scrap, that would be just as stupid, but did this really happen?

The event highlighted something for me though that affects the bigger picture when it comes to tattooing. If you’re not ‘into it’, if you have not invested time and effort into the scene even in a small way to get some kind of clue as to what you’re talking about, it’s about as responsible in 2014 as making that toast. I’m not making excuses but once upon a time, that would have been kind of ‘the way it goes’, I repeat, in 2014 - there is no need to find yourself with something crap on your skin. It is, absolutely, 100%, avoidable.

We’ve all had less than stellar tattoos in the past but when you hit forty and your buddy does this job of mine, it kind of makes me think that all hope is lost.

Maybe that’s unfair. Tattoos mean different things to different people. Out there in the world of people that don’t take the art of it seriously, there’s still something very punk-ass about going off the radar to be marked. But there’s one thing that people hardly ever talk about that’s massively important in the equation here. It’s that Ingredient-X called pride.

Ingredient-X is the thing that stops you from buying a pair of shoes for £2 that will make you look like a homeless bum. Ingredient-X is the voice that says that suit from the supermarket will not get you the job. Ingredient-X is the thing that is supposed to stop the gene-pool getting too small if you know what I’m saying.

Most importantly though, Ingredient-X is the thing - the safety valve - that says if you can’t afford to do it properly, that’s the Gods’ way of telling you not to do it at all.

Society has conspired against us to suppress Ingredient-X because society wants us to buy houses, clothes, games, phones - hell, you name it, it’s got its fingers in the pie - as it is desperate for your custom. It wants to bleed you dry of Ingredient-X. It does not care if you look like a sap so long as it has your money.

Nobody can instil pride in you - it comes with time and experience but hear this. It is NOT subjective. Others know when you have it. Sometimes it can be faked but then it looks and smells like arrogance and that’s a very different beast.

All I have to say is, please don’t get a tattoo in a shed.

Wear your invisible crown at all times.


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