A Big Fuckoff List of Tattooists

You know when you're writing and stuff, be it a blog post, or book, a thesis, police statement, the occasional letter to the reader's page of Razzle etcetera - and sometimes you feel all inspired and it's really easy and the creativity pours out of you like jism at a bukkake party? And then at other times it's really difficult and you think fuck it, this will have to do, and you churn out any old bollocks and hope you'll get away with it? Well this is one of those times. So fear ye not little person, even someone as amazingly talented as me can't be arsed and has an off-day sometimes. With that in mind, here's a boring list of all the tattooists (and I use that term very loosely in places) that have etched upon my skin at one time or another. You'll have to make do with this until I can think of something better to write this month... Aidan Forde A big Irish biker-type who tattoos all the chavs from Nunhead and Peckham in South London. This was in 1998 when I was 17 at Fantasy Tattoos. Rob Sutherland Works at Tattoo Living Image in Greenwich. Old school. Decent bloke. Instagram here. Random Brazilian bloke At London Tattoo Convention circa 2007. Looked like a member of Sepultura. Liam Sparkes Everyone knows Liam, has his own shop these days called Old Habits in trendy Dalston. Instagram here. Mil Martinez Tattooed me a few times at Diamond Jack's in Soho. Quality stuff. He's a wrestler these days. Instagram here. Ben Nuthink This was at Kids Love Ink in Deptford. On my arse. Instagram here. Chad Koeplinger Famous American tattooist. The tattoo cost a small fortune, rattled out in 20 minutes. Instagram here. Melissa Szeto Tattooed me a couple of times in Soho. Has her own shop nowadays. Instagram here. Calypso Saga Large-scale Japanese specialist. Works from a private studio in Muswell Hill. Instagram here. Random Amsterdam tattooist Somewhere in the Red Light District (I think?). I was wankered at the time. Me Because I'm an idiot. Some barmaids from the local pub Because I'm an idiot. Don Northstar Kids Love Ink again. On my arse again. Instagram here. Mark Edwards Good fun. Tattooed me in his shop in Camden. Instagram here. Stefano C A true gent from Italy. Instagram here. Charles Wicks-Stephens Diamond Jack's in Soho again. Instagram here. Arthur Perfetto Tattooed me at Trash City Tattoos in Berlin. Instagram here. Dave Condon A bigger GG Allin and Misfits fan than I! Instagram here. Guy Neutron Tattooed me at the London Tattoo Convention. Instagram here. Duncan X Legend. H-E-R-O. Instagram here. Gian Maurizio Fercioni Most recent tattoo whilst in Italy (can be seen in the photo at the top of the page). 70+ year old. Special one, this. Instagram here. If you cross-reference this with the list here - you will see how life rarely goes how you expect it to.

Things Not To Say To Someone with Tattoos

The full title to this blog post should have been "Things Not To Say To Someone with Tattoos (i.e me) - Especially if You Don't Know Them" - but that seemed a bit unnecessarily long-winded. Not that that usually stop me. Also you can see me in the picture above (I'm the one in the middle, wearing a shirt). Anyway, you might have noticed that I have one or two subtle tattoos - not that I make a big deal about it or anything. And speaking as someone who has been under the inky needle a couple of times - these are questions that tend to get on your nerves afterwards (which usually come from complete strangers as well). What is it? How could I ever answer that if you've got the nerve to ask? I actually pinched this line from overrated folk singer, Bob Dylan, although he wasn't referencing tattoos at the time. And besides, it's clearly a tattoo of a blue tiger with horns on my knee. Anyone could see that. Why? Is that an existential question? I have absolutely no idea (or motivation) to answer this one. Ever. What is the meaning behind it? Why would you expect a ludicrous activity such as poking ink under your skin with a needle to make an indelible mark on your flesh, have any meaning whatsoever attached to it? Did it hurt? Yes, it fucking hurt. But not so bad that I didn't do it again after the first time. Ahem. Don't you worry about it being permanent? Unlike my hair - tattoos ARE permanent, it's an integral part of what tattooing is. If I was worried about it lasting forever I wouldn't have done it, and opted to doodle on my body with a biro instead. Silly bollocks. Are you addicted? On most days I put trousers on, does this mean I must be addicted to wearing trousers too? Don't you worry about what they will look like when you get old? No, because even without the tattoos I'd still be old, and have an old body. But hopefully I'll be more interesting than you. How much money have you spent on it? I've no idea. But I've no idea how much I've spent on other things I enjoy either - like going on holiday, or boozing down the pub. You'll never find work... Ok, this isn't a question - but it's still an annoying statement that gets said often (usually when I'm at the job centre, scratching on). You'll never find a partner (unless they have tattoos as well) Again, not a question, but people always seem to think that because I like tattoos on me - I must only like girls with tattoos too. Which is a ridiculous assumption to make; for example, I like to grow a moustache - but that doesn't mean I'd date a bird who had one. Did you get it to rebel/look hard? No! (i.e yes, yes I did) Oh and by the way - don't think you can randomly grab my arms to look at them either!

Even Tattoos Fade (so don’t get lippy)

Apart from dating and the very occasional one-night stand, I've not had a proper girlfriend for about 8 years (a period of time that has slipped by alarmingly quickly). The girl in question was a co-worker at the time - a situation I would never repeat again - and had only been in the country for a couple of years, having lived in Shanghai for the previous years of her life. This made her, to some extent, a complete maniac to deal with in a relationship (as are most Chinese girls I've been led to believe). Now I'm not one to generalise in any way, but it is a perfectly reasonable reaction I find, to make a sweeping value judgement over a race of over 1.3 billion - if you've had sex with just one of them. Take this story as an example of her lunacy. She became obsessed with picking up tiny English traits and customs, thinking that by adopting these idioms - she could blend in seamlessly - rather than say, getting to grips with the English sense of humour; black comedy, sarcasm, pessimism, gallows humour - and the like. So in order to help her in this quest, I told her that the very best way to become accustomed to the English way of life was to embrace the quaint toilet ritual that all Brit girls implement when using the loo - but never talk about - whereby they sit on the bog the other way around, facing the wall and leaning on the cistern as an elbow rest for comfort and extra leverage. And she believed me. We were only together for a year but I will carry a memory of her etched into my skin forever; during the very early days of our brief romance, I decided to get her name tattooed on me (this is a very clever thing to do - it never fails to impress the ladies and I guarantee 100% that you will not regret it later). You probably think this was a reckless and idiotic action on my part, but there was a certain degree of method in my madness; the girl had one of those ridiculously long and unpronounceable Chinese names, so instead of having the whole thing inked upon my person - I opted to get the initial of her first name: "X". I also decided to have the tattoo situated inside my lip. There were dual benefits to this - the most obvious being that the tattoo was completely out of sight, and secondly, that I could claim that the "X" was a signifier of something else at a later date. My love of the X-Factor, or X-Files, or my commitment to the Straight Edge movement for instance. As luck would have it, a quarter of the tattoo disappeared within a week - leaving a "Y" in it's place (which goes to show the power of chromosomes if nothing else I suppose). Then during the following year the remainder of the ink faded further - along with the relationship - until only a faint forward slash and dot remained (and still does to this day). Nevertheless, it still tickles me that somewhere out there, there is a Chinese lady sitting on the toilet the wrong way round, trying to blend in.

Photoshop Tattoos 2014

Back in 2010 - in a time before I had many tattoos or could grow a proper moustache - I was bored one night and decided to add ink to my torso digitally using Photoshop. The results were as diabolical as you can imagine, a proper dog's dinner - and can be viewed here. Then I tried the same jape again in 2011, albeit by that time a couple of the tattoos were actually real and my moustache was marginally better. The results were slightly better and you can see them here. These proved to be two of my most popular blog posts ever, which shows there's no accounting for taste if nothing else - although they also provoked a lot of online abuse as well (which I quite like). I decided to push my luck again in 2014 when I attempted this again, but never bothered to post the picture and promptly forgot about it. By chance I stumbled upon the image whilst cleaning up my  laptop the other day and as it's Halloween, I thought I might as well share. The main differences being a couple of additional real tattoos, plus more beard and less  penis on display. I'd also perfected my Charles Manson stare by this time.

Tattoo Stats

One of my most popular blog posts was back in 2010 where I listed out all my tattoos and the meanings behind them. Needless to say, I've had quite a few more since then so that list is now well out of date - but you can view it here if you wish. These days one of the questions I get asked often is "how many tattoos do you actually have then?", to which my stock answer has been "I've lost count...". Taking this into account, I've decided to write a new blog post with an updated list of my inkage along with some photos for you lot to wank over. But not today. In the meantime, here is a list of random tattoos stats following a countup I did last night when I was bored. 34 is the number of tattoos I currently have. 32 of these were done professionally in a shop and 2 of these were DIY jobbies at home (I had 6 other homemade tattoos that I've since had covered up, and 1 on my heal that faded away to nothing). 1 tattoo is currently still in progress; this is a full backpiece by Calypso Saga. Calypso previously did my full left leg which took 8+ sessions in total. I will blog separately about this later, but for now take a look at her website. 19 people in total have tattooed me, including Chad Koeplinger, Melissa Szeto, Liam Sparkes, Mil Martinez - plus myself and 2 friends from the pub. 2 of my tattoos were done abroad in Amsterdam and on the island of Koh Samui in Thailand. 0 of my tattoos are on my chest, neck, left arm, belly or cock! (This might change in the future...) 5 tattoos are on my ribs. 9 of my tattoos feature animals; mainly tigers/cats and snakes. 3 of my tattoos depict genitals: 2 willies and 1 minge. I'm planning on getting some nude ladies etched onto the gaps on my leg to readdress this balance. 6 are paying hommage to heroes: GG Allin, Sebastian Horsley, Tom Fogerty, Michael Jackson, Vlad the Impaler and Voltaire. 12 of them feature skulls or dead things. This includes the the grim reaper, the voodoo symbol for death, the Russian criminal symbol for murder, a zombie, Medusa's severed head, a coffin, a ghost, a slain wolf etcetera. And that's your lot for now!

Friday the 13th Tattoo

About a year or so ago, one of the tattoo shops around the corner from where I work in Soho were doing a special Friday 13th offer: get a "13" tattoo for just £13. Anyone who knows me well (which is probably only about three people and my mum's cat), would know that this is exactly the kind of opportunity I would jump at. I went along after work (and a couple of pints) and took a couple of my colleagues along with me to film it. It was originally the idea that the Video Department at work would edit the footage into something cool, but sadly that never came to fruition. Probably because they were busy doing real work or something. I might try and edit the video myself one day - although this is highly unlikely - but in the meantime you can view this short clip from YouTube (I basically just took out all the bits of me talking to the camera and grimacing in pain).