Skin Deep 248

Skin Deep 248 3 March 2015 248

At some point in the haze of putting this issue together, I realised that issue 250 is not so far away. That’s a big deal. That’s a lot of issues. It will mean 21 years of putting Skin Deep out into the world. Over that time—of which not all are ‘mine’—I would imagine we have collectively said a lot of things and inspired more than the occasional tattoo along the way.

For some, however, contributing to the world in the way I do is nothing less than corrupting society, with every issue we put out being the next step on The Road To The Decline Of Western Civilisation.

Talking of 21 years of tattooing—which I wasn’t really, but am now—I’d been tattooed twice by the time I was 21 and that was definitely twice more than any of my close friends… and still is. It was a big deal back then and as you will all have noticed already, today, it’s a very small deal.

My first tattoo was not a mistake but in time, it became one because it was not how I wanted others to see me and was soon devoured by a cover-up which is also now under the beady eye of the laser. I guess we could say it was a statement to the world rather than being for myself. My second tattoo—which is very much still with me—is a little faded but more than stands up to close scrutiny as being solid as a rock. That one still talks to me.

It took me that first mistake to realise what tattooing was about—and then it took me getting it covered up with another mistake to realise I was right the first time. I’m one of those people that needs to put their hand in the fire twice to make sure it really was as hot as I thought it was.

My lovely friend at the back of the mag here, prefers the other train of thought. Paula’s tattoos tend to catalogue her life because that’s what’s important to her. She is a collector of all kinds of things past, present and future. I, however, became an un-collector a long time ago. I have almost given away all of my possessions and my bigger plan, once my kids have figured out their shit, is to liberate myself into the big wide world like a literary cosmic wanderer in a suit with a dog and a pen. I prefer to see my ink as symbolic of the insides of my head and not of anything particular that I went through.

The important thing here is that neither of us are quantifiably correct or incorrect on the matter. The key is that each of us know who we are and our bodies have been touched up accordingly. That’s an interesting debate that we should probably put into print one day actually. Remind me I said that.

Anyway, the first time I put my hand in the fire, I didn’t know myself at all. I was pretending I did but I was lying like a rug. I simply wanted to set myself apart from everybody else. But now? As a cultural phenomenon, tattooed humans are legion. And amongst ourselves, we are set apart from others by what we have tattooed rather than the act of being tattooed in itself.

We’re set apart by good ink vs ill thought out ink. Private ink vs public ink. Old school vs abstract. The variants on the theme are endless, but to the outside world, we are all simply tattooed and I really like that. We can argue amongst ourselves all we like, but when it comes down to it, we’re all in this together—that said, if you get your eyeballs tattooed, you’re on your own.

It’s my aim this year to encourage Further Decline In Western Society by encouraging those ‘without’ to come test how hot the fire is for themselves.
Everything burns when it’s hot enough.


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