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’ can justifiably be called vulnerable victims - but graduates, professional people and heiresses have no excuses.Those who pay the tattoo artist du jour 750x the going rate to dab something discreet below their ankle, or who consider themselves profound and somehow superior to the common herd by having a quotation they could not be bothered to memorise on their back, are, with apologies to Oscar Wilde, merely the unspeakable in pursuit of the indelible.
An indolent fashion accessory you are going to regret within 24 hours of paying for it.
There are, to my mind, only five forms of acceptable voluntary skin-based decorations and/or declarations: The first four are self-explanatory.
In the case of point 5), this amounts to the same as the “SMOKING KILLS” advice on cigarette packets, you will already know this and ignore it but, legally speaking, your card has, quite literally, been marked.
That gets it a bonus point and on to the list for brazen honesty alone.
It is, of course, extraordinarily difficult to write this piece without sounding like a middle-aged, reactionary old git.
Luckily, I’m completely happy with at least three of these four labels because 1) It’s almost impossible to argue with them, and 2) I know I’m not reactionary in any way – apart from when it comes to the behaviour of young people between the ages of 13 and 21 and most socio-economic and popular cultural developments since 1998. ‘It’s about self-expression.’ No it isn’t, it’s specifically about your personal inability to express yourself married to a pathetic and fundamental predilection for inaction masked as a dramatic statement of intent or personality.
Not that tattoos are a new development in any sense. The half-educated amongst the dermatologically-afflicted usually go on to cite a long list of eminent people who you might not have expected to embrace ‘body art’: Winston Churchill, King George V, Franklin D.
As the more defensive members of the over-inked community will recite with Pavlovian inevitability: ‘Tattoos have been here since before Jesus Christ.’ Indeed they have. Roosevelt, George Orwell and Thomas Edison among them – Edison, in fact, after his patent of the ‘electric pen’ in 1876, can be considered to be at least partly responsible for the whole modern pandemic of skin vandalism.
The difference, however, between these men and an idiot from Burnley or Billericay with a Maori warrior tattoo on his shoulder (to match the one on the rear window of his pimped-up Vauxhall Astra) is that the former group are not defined by the ink under their skin but, rather, by their achievements.
You defeat Hitler, invent the light-bulb or write ‘1984’ and the design you have on your body is going to pale, or rather smudge, into insignificance.
• Hilarious photos of misspelt tattoos I’m not sure what the current trend for tattoos (and it has been cyclical since at least the time of King Harold II – the oaf with ‘England and Edith’ over his heart who lost the Battle of Hastings) goes to prove in a modern post-industrial society other than the fact that the people who choose to decorate themselves in such a fashion are just the latest prima facie examples of the regression of humankind and feel unable to embrace modes of communication such as words and/or actions.
A tattoo is, kind of like (to drop into their argot for a second) Twitter and Facebook but forever innit… The vast majority of the ovine multitude who shuffle past the bookies and Greggs to get to high street tattoo parlour and ask for ‘Something in Chinese or Japanese that says peace or whatever’ or ‘a portrait of my bird from this picture of her with her ex but can you leave him out?