Paul Sweeney - 224: Ashes to Ashes...

Published: 29 April, 2013 - Featured in Skin Deep 224, April, 2013

Funk to funky, the question is should you put death in your body?

Relax! I’m not about to go on one of those pro-veggie rants on how; ‘meat is murder’ and we should all sing to our vegetables whilst hugging a tree, despite having  just survived the meatiest weekend EVER! Saturday saw my meat-free lifestyle challenged, at a friends ‘Poike Onesie Party’, by the South African culinary tradition of Poike; meat cooked all day in a cauldron sat on hot coals. (I think this is pretty self explanatory, but for those of you who haven’t got it… lot’s of adults stood around in onesies eating meat, looking like giant carnivorous babies). Luckily my (veggie) bacon was successfully saved by my ‘B.Y.O Veggie Stew’… and dumplings!

Sunday brought with it a whole new set of beefy challenges in the shape of a ‘Game of Thrones’-themed party, including food cooked from the Game of Thrones cook book, which, as you can imagine, is pretty meat heavy. Thankfully, deep within the meat inspired pages, there was one recipe free from the retched flesh… soup! Mushroom and leek soup that smelt suspiciously of rubber, to be precise. Much to my relief, I was saved by a promptly defrosted butternut squash curry; not typically in keeping with the medieval theme, but at least it didn’t smell of rubber.

However, like I said originally, it’s not my intention to spend the entirety of this column jabbering on about my lack of enthusiasm for the consumption of previously living, breathing things. My primary objective was in fact to bring to light my recent discovery of infusing a loved one’s ashes into tattoo ink to be used in the ‘ultimate commemorative tattoo’. This is no new trend, and according to my research some modern artists have been practising this unique style of remembrance, successfully, for over 30 years.

However, according to some healthcare experts, there are concerns over the ramifications of introducing foreign substances into the body – as with any form of body modification there’s always a risk of infection and rejection. It’s all well and good when your body decides an eyebrow or a bellybutton piercing is no longer welcome, but could you cope with the grief involved if your body rejected a tattoo in honour of a close friend or family member that included a little piece of them? I know how it feels to go through the gruelling process of laser removal and I wouldn’t want to imagine going though that same process on a commemorative tattoo gone wrong.

It’s not my place to judge, do what you want to your own body, but before you commit to anything, do your research first.

(For the first time ever, I think he’s actually being serious! Ed.)


Text: Paul Sweeney