It’s something I’ve done before so I wasn’t nervous, a touch of trepidation perhaps? Not because of the inevitable discomfort but because of the positioning, it’s a little more obvious than the others… or is it?
Too late now I thought as I settled back in the dentist chair, I was given a nod, I responded similarly and it began.
Friday morning had been fucking awful, it was supposed to be a day off but after checking my work mails from the comfort of my lounge it was clear I’d have to deal with some matters there and then. Making things slightly worse was that I was mildly hungover. Following a day in the office in which I pulled a fucking rabbit out of a hat and saved a job I was working on I met up with my bro in Clapham for a giggle and pint. The warm tingle of having saved a portion of my bacon allowed me to indulge in a few more drinks as I settled back in my chair thinking later in the evening of what I’d achieved and what was to come on my now-confirmed day off.
After dealing with some shit from the office I took a shower, packed a bag with spare clothes and books and headed off to Kentish Town by tube arriving at my destination dead on 1pm. I was expected but my appointment was running a little late. No problem, I sat in the small shop reading with one ear on the banter yonder occasionally popping out for one last cigarette.
After a while I was called through, the design I’d been working on for weeks in practice but years in theory was handed over to the assistant and it was transferred into a purple stencil. My arm was shaved and prepared and the design was offered up and applied, after a few minutes deliberation as to its positioning the artist set to work.
There is something vaguely homoerotic about allowing another man to touch you in such personal and consequential manner, it’s a strangely gratifying experience knowing you’ve allowed this exchange of trust to take place, indeed, it’s the epitome of liberation. Despite the wholly tolerable ‘pain’ (it feels rather like a cocktail stick is being dragged over the surface of the skin) I enjoy the sensation of being tattooed, the endorphins kick in and make you feel whacked, one is furiously aware that this is as permanent as ones’ nose on ones’ face -which is rather exciting- and one feels fucking well hard to boot.
The artist and I chattered away, we joked, discussed his business… it’s good to know that the bloke inking you for life is a good sort, it’s not essential by the way, so long as he does what I want as far as I’m concerned they could have a thing about dogs’arseholes but it’s nicer that he didn’t. I don’t think. After he’d re-tattooed an older one I’d had done a few years back I was good to go, bound in cling film I set off into the street and made my way to Camden to have some quiet time in the The Worlds End to enjoy the post-inking buzz and reminisce on my new arm and wave in the weekend.
At 5.30 I met IC in London Bridge and we headed off to Hackney. Swineshead and his missus popped over and we spent a pleasant evening quaffing a few drinks and smokes. IC remarked that my film-wrapped arm looked like a fresh chicken in a supermarket which had me honking like a goose, possibly because I was higher than Jimi Hendrix.
Saturday began with breakfast, a wash down of the new tattoo which is healing well thanks for asking and a walk under the grey skies to pick up some bits and pieces before heading to the west end to the White Cube for the Chapman exhibition. Fucking Hell (discussed in wwm, link right…) is a masterpiece, instantly accessible and thoroughly entertaining. I’m not going to harp on about it save to say it’s a must see. Oddly Damien Hirst and Jay Joplin were in there too, the latter is the owner and one would’ve thought the former would’ve been privy to many a private view of the work. I can see why he may want to see it again; it’s too much to take in one visit.
The experience was profoundly exhausting and we headed back home, exhausted. A second wind breezed us back into the Eastend, we had a little drink in delightful place near Hoxton and nipped into a little pizzeria for dinner. A lovely evening unfurled with wines and fucking lovely food, best pizza I’ve had outside Italy, the bill was more reasonable than Ghandi and we walked back in the now balmy evening completely aware we’d survived the longest day with great big tits on it.
We managed to get up early enough on Sunday to walk through London Fields to Columbia Road. It was lovely day, windy without being fresh and very warm. The market was in full swing and we picked out way through the throngs popping into art galleries occasionally to be both dismayed and impressed by the works on display. After taking some time on Brick Lane to wander through the market and shove bagels into our faces we went back home for the sole purpose of watching the Moto GP which was rather dull actually. After eating some cold pizza from the previous evening (I wasn’t leaving anything behind I couldn’t finish. It was as good as it was hot, even better, maybe) we were out again by 5 to nip into a pub where a chap we know works (coincidentally we discovered that we were both using the same tattoo artist) to imbibe, dead gently, and off to one of IC’s ex flatmates house to visit some friends.
The gaff consisted of 3 Italian chaps, IC and the latter’s ex flatmate who is Spanish. They were watching the Italy vs Spain match. I’m not a fan of the football but it was impossible not to be caught up in the sheer passion of my Italian companions. Their language was utterly dreadful, I insisted on translations which at times had me weeping with laughter, it was a glorious combination of extreme blasphemy and rather complicated acts of sex to be performed on ones’ mother all delivered in a gorgeous lilting flow of sonic poetry. One of the chaps was 4th runner up in the best pizza in Italy competition last year and punctuated the banter with these fucking pizzas that nearly gave me a woody (actually, in hindsight these were the best pizzas I’ve had outside of Italy, or even inside. Fuck they were good).
We drunk delicious wines and smoked killer grass that made my speech go all funny and turned my quick visit to Tesco to get some more wine into a fucking adventure (security wouldn’t let me in initially, I was wearing a vest and burbling). Obviously the Italian contingent weren’t best pleased with the result but the Spanish element took her victory with quiet dignity. Five minutes after it was all forgotten, we left them all pushing more pizza into their faces chatting away like nothing had happened.
Monday wasn’t as fun. After watching a woman boot a rat into the air on Old Street tube station first thing in the morning I arrived into work to discover the boss had lined me up with training a complete and utter bellpress. The girl, all jolly hockey sticks and showjumping (in as much she looked like a fucking horse) was blessed with the mental capacity of a potted plant and was clear that after a good 5 minutes of repetition that the only way anything was going to get through that thick skull of hers would be the persistent and aggressive use of a ball peen hammer. After wasting an entire morning and discovering my MD had given someone some of my fucking business on my day off I finally managed to get some work done, in so far as I began to write this.
Pleasant evening with Frank in the boozer last night and a relaxed TV gawp followed with some homemade pizza, not the best I’ve had outside Italy I hasten to add.
Came in this morning and that new girl quit as she was leaving last night, glad I didn’t waste my time all fucking day yesterday then. For fucks sake.
George Carlin has died; watch this, it blows the obvious irony of the subject into the middle of next week.