Paul Sweeney - 210: The Future's Vintage

Published: 28 March, 2012 - Featured in Skin Deep 210, April, 2012

“What the hell is he talking about this time? The Future’s Vintage?” “Stop living in the past mate!”

I thought this month it would be appropriate to open with a couple of lines from the two condescending cockney’s that live inside my head. Obviously, not what you’d call a typical start to an article in a tattoo magazine, but then I’m not what most people would refer to as a typical person.

I was always taught as a child never to judge a book by its cover, unless it doesn’t have a cover, in which case it’s probably a newspaper, and I’m sure we’re all aware of how they’re to be judged! I digress. The point I’m rather clumsily trying to make is, image. No more than in the world of body modification do people really take control of their image, choosing to permanently, and quite often painfully, display the truest representation of their personality upon their person.

I’m a vintage enthusiast, from the clothes I wear to the music I listen to, the films I enjoy and the tattoos that I have. These are all things that play an essential part in making me who I am. I rather blissfully, in the comfort of my own home, exist in a world of influence, spanning a 50-year period, starting close to my Grandfather’s birth, and ending a good ten years before my own. But occasionally I’m forced emerge from my vintage bubble and embrace the reality of living in a modern world, where most of the people like me, are not most of the people.

Despite feeling perfectly comfortable on stage, where most ‘normal’ people wouldn’t dare to tread through fear of failure or rejection, I gleefully parody myself as a tattooed time travelling musketeer of comedy. In all honesty I feel a far greater level of judgement from the occasional furtive eye followed by the impending whispers among strangers, than I’ve ever felt telling jokes to strangers in bars and clubs.

Irrespective of how we present ourselves as humans, whether we choose as individuals to wear our personality every day, or only truly express ourselves behind closed doors, on a stage or just at the weekends, or whenever our social calendar will allow. Even the seemingly most confident ones of us feel a little self conscious every now and then; after all, we are only human! For those of you who, despite the ignorance of others, celebrate their personality boldly and aren’t afraid to be themselves, I stand high upon my vintage furniture and raise my ‘Carry On Camping’ coffee cup in your honour. You are all individuals, but you are not alone!


Text: Paul Sweeney