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SKIN DEEP: GET TATTOOING

Doing a tattoo can’t be that hard, can it? Our intrepid writer is on the look out for volunteers.

Tattoos are big business, apparently. After recently meeting a few friends at the Elephants Head for lunch, I took a stroll along Camden High Street and happened upon a crowded tattoo parlour named Evil from the Needle. Ever the inquisitive, I took a peek through the window half-expecting to see a few Russian gangsters or the Camden chapter of the Hells Angels in the process of receiving their latest ‘ink’. To my surprise, rather than undesirables and dock workers, there were two guys in suits, a few student types and a lady who looked to be in her late 50s.

Tattooing it seems is de rigeur, with David Dimbleby famously sporting a scorpion on his shoulder and David Cameron’s wife, Samantha, adorned with a dolphin playfully swimming up her ankle. Even Felicity Kendal has got in on the act, decorated with a star, moon and feathers on her leg and foot. And, if it’s good enough for Kendal – who got her first tattoo aged 63 and another the following year – then it is certainly good enough for my dear friends at the Great Croft Health & Positive Living Hub.

Always on the look out for new and exciting Get Togethers, I thought it would be a great idea to set up a tattoo class where we could come together and learn the ancient art of drawing on each other with needles and indelible ink. Tea, biscuits and a tattoo. What could  possibly go wrong?

Apparently, according to my friends and family, quite a lot.

Undeterred, I thought I would try my idea out on my other half. She has always been wonderfully open to new ideas, however half-baked. Reassured that I was only going to practise my design in biro, she reluctantly rolled up her sleeve. And herein lies the problem. Two in fact. The first being the consistency of the canvas which, shall we politely say, wasn’t as taut as it may have been in her youth; turning my attempt at a rose with a banner into a wolf with the majority of its teeth missing.

The second being the subject matter. What do you tattoo on an older person? Jeff Ortega, the proprietor of Evil from the Needle has people queuing around the block for his artistic genius, with people travelling from all over the UK to receive Japanese Gods, Virgin Marys and colourful Koi Carp. However, I couldn’t see my friends popping down to Waitrose graced with a full ‘sleeve’ of angry gods marauding against a stormy background. This would need some thought.

It would also need to take into account that I am terrible at drawing. So, something practical perhaps, that required little or no artistic ability. And then I had it. A “To Do List” on the inner forearm, so the wearer can never forget an important Get Together again. Simply write the day’s activities on the lines provided and mark the indelible tick box when the to do has been done. Genius. And much better than my previous idea of ‘MILK’ and ‘SUGAR’  knuckle tattoos to aid with speedier ordering at National Trust cafés. Especially given the fact that there aren’t enough knuckles for the sweet side of things, so it would have to be ‘SUGA’, and I’m a stickler for spelling things correctly.

So, to prove the worth of this idea, I’m on the look out for volunteers. The only criteria being the ability to withstand intense pain, an obvious sense of forgiveness and the ability to shed your skin. Any takers?

Joking aside, at Age UK Camden, we’re always on the look out for new and exciting Get Togethers. If you have an idea you would like to share with us we’d love to hear from you. You can talk to the staff at an existing Get Together, or call us on 020 7239 0400. Just no tattooing, please.

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