Skin Deep 212

For reasons best unknown – or rather best kept to myself – on my bookshelves at home, I have dozens upon dozens of books on monsters. It probably extends well into the hundreds but I’ve never really counted them – and neither are they in alphabetical order. Always beware of any friends you have that keep anything in alphabetical order. It’s a sure sign that they seek control and order in a world in which there is none to be had. Despite my scattergun approach to a ‘library’, I can lay my hands on anything I want at any given time because, shockingly, I can remember where I put it. To keep things alphabetically arranged reeks of somebody far too concerned with keeping what they have instead of moving on and discovering pastures new.

Over the last couple of weeks, doing some pre-show promo for the Great British Tattoo Show, I had cause to speak to some journalists outside of ‘the game’ that work in the national press. These are great examples of alphabetical people. Despite my own desire to educate on the side of the art wherever possible, I was continually met with the same questions and trains of thought from them; “how much is the tattoo industry worth?”, “how many people are tattooed in the UK right now?”, “are tattoos becoming more middle class?” and most infuriatingly, “can you put me in touch with a tattoo artist who has tattooed somebody famous?”

No matter how hard you push the insane levels of art we have in tattoo, they just don’t want to listen. Thus, if you don’t want to listen, you will find I have nothing to say. That’s a fair exchange.

In the case of the first and second questions, being persistently badgered to come up with concretely sourced statistics to back up my ballpark figures fell on deaf ears. I don’t know and more to the point, it’s not important. It’s like asking how many people in the UK walked by a river this morning. Hey, here’s a great idea to top them all; let’s take the fun out of everything in life by cataloguing it and revealing the magician’s tricks because we are unable to find the words to describe it properly. This is inevitably what happens when art clashes with the ‘mainstream’.

On the third question, nobody cares about that either. I threw the question back into the arena, suggesting that the nations media should perhaps a) examine whether or not a ‘middle class’ still exists these days, and b) why is it important to them? What exactly are they trying to protect with their university degrees in ‘journalism’? And as for the celebrity side of things, I would be OK with that if it actually had any positive grounding, but somehow they always seem to get a knife between the ribs when discussing it.

That’s the mainstream media in the UK for you. It likes to bandy around the phrase ‘the domain of convicts, sailors and hookers’ about tattoo a little too often for my liking. I have a new one for you: “Journalism was once the domain of those who loved the craft of writing and reporting real news, but now, it is simply the domain of phone hackers, liars and puppets with the morals of a Hydra.”

There you go. See how you like being tarred with a very large brush. You created the monster, not us. Don’t think that what you’re doing is important just because you’re wearing a tie.


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