Tuesday, 27 September 2016


Tattoos. Mmmm.  This hoary old subject came up again over the weekend when having a discussion with my friend Simon. Simon sports an Ironman tattoo. No, not this one:

It's the M Dot tattoo he has, like this:

Although his dot has a white cross within it. I'm not sure what the white cross signifies though, unless it's a personal modification. To earn it you have to have swam 2.4 miles, you have to have then cycled 112 miles and then run a further 26.2 miles. Simon has certainly earned the right (probably several times over), as has an ex policeman friend who lives further up in the village. When you think about it, it's a corporate brand. Not sure whether people ever fake them, but I guess seeing one on a 20 stone couch potato is a bit of a give away. They're more likely to have a tattoo comprising a couple of golden arches.

I too have a tattoo. It appeared miraculously one morning following an evening of extremely heavy drinking on a ship in Tilbury docks a couple of days before my 1st wedding. I remember clearly what happened until about 9pm, but thereafter is a complete blank. Imagine my surprise in seeing a miraculous sailing ship in full sail on my upper right arm the next morning!

I don't like tattoos and wish I'd been sufficiently compos mentis to have avoided getting mine. I've said before that they're OK when working in a bar or in some creative industries, but certainly not in a sales situation if they're immediately visible. A salesman lives or dies by the customer reaction, and you won't get much sympathy from a customer by telling him he should change his or her antiquated attitude.

You don't see too many surgeons emblazoned with tattoos, unless they're possibly a Polynesian. Similarly not many bank managers or lawyers wear tribal art. In my youth tattoos were worn by sailors, ladies of the night and ex cons; people who were a bit edgy and subversive. They were an expression of individualism; however, when 80% of your mates have one the individualism thing disappears and becomes fashion, but a permanent fashion statement is an oxymoron. Now-a-days they're considered so mainstream.as to be positively pedestrian. You're more likely to be edgy and individual if you have reached the age of 25 without succumbing to a fashionable tattoo!

I've never understood the palid Brit sporting tribal tattoos from Polynesia or Japan. It just isn't culturally valid. Painting your head with woad and having crude animal tattoos hammered into your skin with a pointed bone is more in keeping with British tribal art from pre-Roman times, when it was last practised.

It's a generational thing; however, it won't be that long before we have hordes of pensioners covered in faded and unrecognisable tattoos. Doubtless they'll regret it at that stage and a massive business opportunity will arise for tattoo removal.


  1. A youthful tat on youthful skin might get a bit (lot) rougher on elderly skin. A dolphin might look like a beached whale in forty years time.