My Tattoos

I’ve always been a big fan of tattoos. I enjoy the juxtaposition of art and seediness. I got my first tattoo when I was 18, my second at 22, but only recently have I started getting them regularly. I currently have 12, and they’re all quite random. They’re also pretty stupid but I don’t regret any of them. You can try to rationalise tattoos – to justify your choices with personal significance (“I got an angel to represent my dead aunt who watches over meetcetera); but at the end of the day, tattoos are impulsive, reckless foolery. And I love that.

Here’s a picture of each of them, with a brief description. I didn’t know whether to list them in chronolgical order, or reverse chronological order etcetera… so in the end I decided to listy them in random order.

This is a piece of Liam Sparkes’ flash. I really like the image and it looks like the pub signpost, The Slaughtered Lamb, from the film An American Werewolf in London. My favourite song from the film’s soundtrack is Bad Moon Rising by Creedence Clearwater Revival, hence the tattoo text. The song was written by Tom Fogerty, so it seemed like fate to get the tattoo. It’s underneath my right bicep.

This is a Russian criminal tattoo of a black widow, by Liam Sparkes. In Russian prisons, tattoos have deep symbolic meaning, and have to be earned (tattoos = status). If you are found to have a tattoo that have not earned – they will kill you. This one either means “murderer” or “thief” (I can’t remember which). I got it for shit and giggles. If I go to Russia and remove my trousers I’m a dead man! It’s on the front of my right thigh.

Smiley acid face. This is my second tattoo – I had it done when I was 22. I’ve always liked this symbol and I used to be a fan of acid during my university years. People still think this is a transfer when they see it (and I still love that reaction).  It was done by some bloke in Greenwich. The yellow is fading fast…

This was an “X” inside my lip – I had it done done for a girlfriend at the London Tattoo Convention in 2008. After about 2 years it turned into a “Y”. I guess that’s the power of chromosomes for you. We’ve since split up but it’s still a funny story of whim and folly.

This tattoo was visible in the last photo so I might as well list it here. It’s a moustache on my finger. It was done in the middle of the night – a work night I should add – by Liam Sparkes. I had it done after I shaved off my handlebar moustache.

I’m not a huge Ghostbusters fan or anything, but I’ve always been a fan of this image. It’s on my inner thigh, next to the black widow spider (quite a sore place to get done). People usually think this is the most stupid of all my tattoos.  This was also done by Liam Sparkes. A lot of the red ink fell out after it healed, needs touching up (ooh er, missus…).

I did this one myself! It’s very crude but I’m still proud of it. It says “CRIPS”, a Los Angeles street gang. Again, it means I’m a dead man if I go there and remove my trousers.

My first tattoo when I was 18 (12 years ago now!). It’s a sun on my hip. I don’t even notice it’s there anymore – I’ve had it so long it feels like a birth mark I’ve learned to live with. Done by a big fat man in Nunhead while I was still at school. Happy days…

This is taken from an old wood-cut of Vlad the Impaler (i.e Dracula). It was done by Liam Sparkes as a part barter for me setting up his website (it’s sort of his trademark piece). It’s on my right bicep and might be my favourite tattoo…

I did this one on myself with a needle, thread and Indian ink – prison-style-eee. Took bloody ages to do and it’s wonky, but I love it just the same. Nothing else to say really…

This is a cat on my knee by Liam Sparkes. I love cats, me, so I had to get a cat tattoo. Because it’s on my knee it gets distorted quite a bit, and it seems to have bat/rabbit ears. This one hurt. A lot.

Last one (so far). Also by me, not finished yet – another Russian prison tattoo. I messed up the crown, and it needs lots of shading added. Front of left thigh. Work in progress…


  1. Iain

    Tom, this has clearly got out of control. I think you need to be stopped before you end up either covered head to toe in scary images or you’re hunted down and murdered by homicidal gang members, disgruntled ex-cons or sinister eastern Europeans; either way, it doesn’t look good. Vlad the Impailer, as the name should suggest, was not a nice man!Why not get a tattoo of something nice like, I don’t know, a countryside scene or a man fishing?

    1. spiderwebdesign

      He was alright, Vlad; I mean we all have our off days. You’ll approve of my next tattoo I’m sure, it’s more of a wildlife/nature piece. It’s of a lady making love to an octopus. Or an octopus making love to a lady. Something like that.

  2. Iain

    Have you ever been to that scary looking tattoo parlour in Nunhead, next to the scary, abandoned-looking cab office and near the scary, 1960s-looking scrap metal place?

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