Skin Deep 255

Skin Deep 255 15 September 2015 255

I re-read Ray Bradbury’s Illustrated Man earlier this week. It still holds up for me, but I think when you re-read a book, you’re revisiting the first time you slept with it. It’s certainly not a voyage of original discovery—more like the enforcing of the memory of something you thought was ‘all that’ at the time and you’re making sure you still feel the same way about it. Maybe even just to check it’s still worth carrying around. Everything has a weight—some weights are worth carrying but some weights can get pretty heavy if you carry them long enough. Maybe such is the way with tattoos?

That said, the world sure moves fast these days and Bradbury’s tale is starting to feel a little dated. I’m not sure it will continue to hold up to a first reading for new readers for much longer. Not because the writing is bad (far from it) but because the premise of a tattooed man being a ‘disturbed outsider’ is becoming less of a ‘thing’ as every day goes by. It’s certainly not even a fraction as shocking as it was back when the stories were first released—and for clarity, I feel the need to throw in here, that as much as I love the quirkiness of the movie, it hardly has a thing in common with the stories it uses as a foundation. Read not watch.

It’s starting to drift into that realm of Famous Five-ness where newcomers can’t even begin to imagine a world in which hitting the road without your parents knowing, with a picnic strapped to your bike and not coming back for three days because you got locked into a secret room by a smuggler, could ever actually happen. Long gone also are the days when you were even allowed to hang out at the entrance of a beachy-cave in the hope of enticing a smuggler in your direction, so I guess some things have changed for the better.

Which brings me nicely to an actual tattoo appointment I have looming. It’s been many years since I’ve been down ‘the appointment’ path but we’ve both been talking about it for so long now, booking it in was the only way we were ever going to make it happen. Hazard of the job—I can hear your violins from here.

But you know what’s weird about it? I’m excited. It’s like hearing the next James Bond movie is coming but there are no trailers available, no downloads… nothing. All you know is it will feature James Bond along with a rough idea of just how good it will be because of those involved—but the only way you’re ever going to get that movie into your system is by getting out into the world, heading to the cinema and living through it.

These moments that we used to call ‘real life’ are so few and far between for most of us now, that it’s become quite magical when they really happen. It’s almost on the same level as discovering a secret passageway.



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