Skin Deep 216

It normally starts like this – Gareth (Skin Deep Art Editor honcho): “Have you written your editorial yet?”
Me: “Not yet – I’ve written about three now but I’ve thrown them all away. I keep changing my mind about what to write about.”

And so it goes, every single issue. Until this month, when we had the same conversation but Gaz (that’s what we like to call him, amongst other things, my favourite being ‘Mr 10-Minute Freeview’ – and if you’re laughing, you’re as guilty as he is) chose helpfully to say to me: “How about tattoos?” Which is just about the time that I thought he might be right. Most of the time, I go off on some tangent or other and bring some randomly related story into the equation to make it work.

Two minutes later though, I figured he could go pleasure himself in the nicest possible way, because if the other 99 pages of tattoo-related material in said tattoo magazine wasn’t enough for you, then we’re in a bad place. This is what I do. This is how I see the world in which we all converge occasionally. I could be critical and dig deep, but that’s what Paula does, and she does it well. I could take the stance of ‘Man About The House’, but that’s what Mr Sweeney does. I much prefer to use some dumb-ass analogies that some people will get, and if you don’t, you can at least pretend. If we can’t have some fun out here on the coal face, what the hell’s the point?

Thus, my musings this month comes from an interview I did last night with the lovely Rakhee Shah (who some of you may know, and if you don’t you will next issue). A scheduling nightmare led us to do our interview in that most holy of venues… Starbucks in St Pancras station. I’ve done interviews in worse places, believe me. At one point we’re talking about how tattooing advances at a frightening pace these days and how some are being not so much left behind by it, but are just not keeping up… and that’s fine. You do what you can do to the best of your ability. From some dark corner in my head, I comparatively said something stupid like “we were all quite happy watching re-runs of The Sweeney and The Professionals on TV and then, BANG! 24 and Lost came along and the world was changed forever.” And it’s true – once you’ve seen what’s possible and how much better things can be by using the past to grow from, there’s no going back. That’s not to say that you can’t still really be into what came before and appreciate it for what it was, but to ignore the way the tide flows is just burying your head in the sand.

When I listened back to make sure we had it all, I found a conversation in the background on the tape (well, digital recording, but that sounds wrong) in which some guy is trying to get a coffee out of the girl behind the counter when he has obviously not ordered or paid for it. He walked into the joint, sat down at the ‘get your coffee here’ end and started being quite abusive about his imaginary drink. Which is probably all part of the deal when you work at what’s probably the busiest train station in London on the day the Paralympics began. But it makes you wonder. Well, it makes me wonder. I sat there and I thought to myself: “Right there. Live and in front of my eyes – that’s this guy’s actual life. What the fuck?”

Now, somewhere in amongst all of this are some good life lessons. In case you missed them, here they are again. 1: Don’t ever tell anybody you think the ten-minute freeview on the adult channel is great. You’ll never live it down. Babestation is far superior. 2: Despite things moving on, any episode of the The Sweeney is better than the final episode of Lost, but life is a journey, not a destination. 3: Saying ‘life is a journey and not a destination’ is crass. Remind me not to use it again. 4: Don’t be a dick when you want a coffee. It’s just coffee. 5: Tattoos rock. Hard.

I think that covers everything…

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