Sunday, 6 February 2011

indelible ink

Were anyone to ask me, as a generalisation I like tattoos. I think its art.
When it's done well.
I happen to have a few myself. And I do have a bit of a ‘thing’ for tattooed men.

I never set out to have as many as I’ve ended up with, but they are quite addictive and I’m perhaps a bit weird in that I actually like getting them done. 
Nowadays I don’t think anyone really bats an eyelid however many you have - or that women get just as many as men, and they have become a fashion statement for some people
This concerns me.
In the name of rebellion as a teenager I made my fashion statements by turning my hair into something that resembled, in no particular order, a parrot, a pink poodle, ziggy stardust, spaghetti, an argument with 240volts, candyfloss, old ropes and straw…well I didn’t achieve the straw effect deliberately but the other looks took their toll.

me aged 17

Of course this grew out and grew back and there were no lasting effects.
Imagine if any of them had been as permanent as the huge and very visible tattoos I see 17yr olds with today ? Heaven forbid ! I’d be a middle aged rainbow ziggy and probably unemployable if not the laughing stock at the local supermarket.

As it happens I’d first decided I wanted a tattoo when I was about 13 after watching a film about a woman who had a black rose on her shoulder. The look of utter disgust on my mothers face when I announced my intention said it all and I was told,
“Not while you’re living under this roof”.
My dad had been in the navy and has a few he got whilst abroad, he told me after I got my first ( I was 29 at the time) that he had intended to have more but was told he’d be divorced if he did. Although I protested at the time I’m very glad about Mums opinion, becuase if I had got one at that age it would no doubt be something I’d hate now.
I’ve always said to the kids I worked with, and my own son, that if you must have one when you’re young have something small that could be covered over or removed without too much bother, and don’t have it anywhere highly visible because tastes change and you might not want it in 10 years time.
As it happens one or two of them took my advice, I think they listened as much as anything because having had some myself they respected my opinions more then someone saying you shouldn’t get one because I don’t like them.

I’ve got one on the back of my right shoulder and one summers day a few years ago I was sat at a bus stop and got chatting to a little old lady. Just about how lovely the weather was and her pet dog, but all the time we were talking she kept looking at my shoulder. Eventually she asked me if she could look at it properly, its worked around my shoulder blade so if your on my left you cant really see it, so I turned round. As she’s looking she said she thought it was beautiful.........
“Although of course in my day only sailors and prostitutes had them”
Most of mine are in places where they can be hidden if need be, not that I’m ashamed of them, but I got them for me, and apart from a tiny one on my wrist they all mean something - there’s a story to each of them. I've heard a few people who've said that they’re going to get some ink, and when asked about it they knew where on their body they wanted it and how big but ask them exactly what tattoo...
“Oh I don’t know I’ll have a look in the design book when I get there”
Fucking hell ! This is going to be on your body FOREVER and your gonna give it as much thought as if you were buying a new top ?
Not to mention the fact that if you do that there’s every chance 37 other people have that very same tattoo, surely you’d want something unique? Any good tattooist would be more then happy to design something original - although for them to do that you need to give them an idea to work with, these people clearly have no idea.

Which brings me to my real pet hate…tribal tattoos.
A zebra
The tattooists I’ve spoken to about them say that they are really boring to do, especially the solid black ones - do the outline and then its just hours of colouring in, a five year old with a steady hand could do it. And the people that get them need put little or no real thought or imagination into the design...
“Yeah mate, just give me loads of big thick black squiggly lines all over me arms cos fellas will think I’m hard and all the birds are bound to wanna shag me”
No. I don’t think so.
You’re just starting to look like a fucking zebra.

Some tribal tattoos
I have seen a few exceptions to this where they do look nice, but it’s generally where the artist has worked the curves and swirls around muscle contours. Of course these may look fabulous when the canvas they’re drawn on is 23 and can spend two hours a day perfecting those muscles in the gym. But what’s that gonna look like when he’s fifty and the only exercise he gets is mowing the lawn and any spare time is spent in the pub ?
“And this is a diagram of where my abs use to be”

I have one tattooist friend who now refuses to do anymore of them, he’s an amazing artist and he said it’s like asking Michelangelo to draw a picture of a box.
And seriously, if you’ve seen one you’ve pretty much seen them all, and if you get one you’re stuck with it forever because they’re gonna be impossible to cover over and laser removal of that would cost a fortune and leave a nasty scar.

Actually I think I prefer Tasmanian devils and football badges, and I’m not even gonna bother writing my opinions of them, otherwise this post could turn into a small novel.


  1. I want one, but have never found anything I want FOREVER. LOL, that is the problem.

  2. I hate tattoos. I'm with the old lady, sailors and prostitutes.

    Still, I've come to accept that they are here to stay and I've gotten much nicer when someone shows me a new colorful scar they've paid someone good money to put on them.

    Couldn't agree more about tribal bands. I think its just the Gods way of making assholes more easily identifiable.

  3. Sure you can link to my blog I don't mind :) thanks for reading

  4. God, I know! Is there anything more nauseatingly generic than a fucking tribal tattoo? Hey, asshats of the world, it does not make you look edgy or original. It makes me sad for art and individuality. Please stop eye-raping me with them.

  5. I don't mind tattoos. Personally I don't want one because of the point you mentioned; It would be with me forever. I don't trust myself enough to get it done.

    I take that back: I do mind some tattoos: the ones that look like crap/ have nude pictures in a place that EVERYONE can see. I personally do not want to be subject to those things.

    Just my input
    -Girl 1
    P.s. check out my blog

  6. I have quite a number, all custom, laden with meaning and significance, done by people I admire and easily covered with regular clothing. I have to say,though, I met with an Account Manager at my bank the other day. He had a tri-hawk and 8 facial piercings. I'm not sure, but I may have agreed to buy out the bank, I dunno. I was too distracted by the shiny things to listen.

  7. I despise tribal too! *high five* It's the most pointless tattoo EVER, unless they're actually a Tribal person... from a tribe. Finally, people who don't think getting random shit all over their bodies is cool! :)

    I disagree with Ranting Monkey. A tattoo is not a scar, it is just pigment that sits under the top layers of your skin. If whoever you saw had a scar, someone either seriously fucked them up and didn't know how to properly tattoo, or they didn't take the proper aftercare procedures to care for their art.

  8. Well said Cowgirl. I got my first at 29 and the artist free handed on me since my main desire apart from design & meaning, was that it works with my curves. It's not at all what I pictured when I went in for it, but it's better than anything that could be found in a book & no one else will have it.

    It will grow with me as my body changes, but I'm interested to see how that goes. My physical changes won't change the meaning behind my tattoo.

  9. jesus fucking christ. why is what people look like such a personal affront to others?
    surprise, surprise- i have some tattoo ink. and i have had very colorful hair/fashion/visual look choices and styles i rocked and blundered through.
    but what i find most interesting in a person is authenticity.
    when people see me and assume that since we both have a tattoo or a nose ring that we belong to the same peer group, i must question their motive for inquiry/assumption.
    some people enjoy the idea of tattoos for the rebellious and outdated vibe that came with it. came- as in the past.
    now, any fuck thinks they are badass with a shamrock.
    and as far as tribal goes- i must ask "what tribe?"
    blank stares ensue 100% of the time. followed by my polite- "fuck off then" under my breath.
    sorry, but i am irritated by ignorant bullshit tatt-chat. let's chat @ philosophy or gardening, but leave fringes of expression to those who do it best.
    the sincere.

    get a tatoo.
    don't get one.
    live and let live.
    but don't come to me for approval when you're a sheeple/follower.
    sorry, i earned my stripes by being me. when my family and peers were crass and unsupportive, i plugged along, sure of who i am. purple hair, brown hair, flashy dress, whatever.
    and i did/do it with my head up, i love to express my inner creativity with my shell, but--so what does that mean- that i added to the paving of a way for mallrats to play dress-up? next season it will be prepster or jock- fashion?
    to them i say:
    suck one tribal fucks.

    and shame to the tattoo "artist" who thinks that "tribal" is cool.

    p.s. tramp-stamps- any thoughts?

  10. What are tramp stamps ?

    Got a picture in my head of the hand stamps you get when you go into clubs. . . do they give them to sluts in the USA ? LOL - Mebe they should have ones that say 'idiot' and 'fuckwit'.


Tell me something I don't know.
Comments are moderated so spam me and you're going in the bin.