Should I or shouldn’t I? Maybe...yeah! No, hang on. Nah. Well, perhaps...
This is the ongoing dialogue I’ve been having in my idiot brain intermittently over the last 25 years as to whether to get a tattoo or not.
I’d always quite fancied one but could never make that final decision either way.
Pro? The right one would look great and would maybe make me look slightly tougher than the scrawny wimp I actually am.
Con? A bad one would be a disaster, they cost a fortune and I’m skint. As always.
I had come close once. Aged 16 (there were no ID issues in the ‘80s) I stood in a tattooist’s on Gorgie Road in Edinburgh ready to get the Hearts badge engraved forever on my upper arm, before (thankfully) my bottle crashed at the last minute.
After that, I made myself a promise that if I ever got buff and ended up with muscles, I’d treat myself to an inking to celebrate. That, of course, has never even nearly happened, nor ever will, so that was probably the end of it.
The main problem was trying to find one that I liked (I wonder how many people are sorely regretting getting an “authentic” Celtic band around 10 years ago when they were all the rage?). Candidate number one was the cover of David Bowie’s ‘Aladdin Sane’ album, my favourite one of all time.
I’ve had ‘Aladdin Sane’ posters, postcards, t-shirts and even a birthday cake, so a tattoo, though it was going to be a major undertaking, would be the natural progression.
Then I went to see David Bowie and a bloke standing next to me had my desired tat – and it was awful. I mean, really, truly bad. And that was enough to put me off for life. Almost.
That niggling voice never went away and then, in December, Bowie unveiled the logo for his new album ‘Blackstar’. Immediately, a few brave souls got it tattooed even before the album was out. Imagine if it had been a stinker? But I liked the look of it. Hmmmm... maybe?
And then he died. It was now or never.
So there I was last Friday at five o’clock, nervously ready for my own ‘Blackstar’ tattoo. I was actually quite excited about it, but naturally was a bit concerned about how much it would hurt. Would I take a dizzy turn like my mate did a few weeks ago and have to lie down and have something to eat? Or almost pass out like another friend of mine, who had to sit with her head between her knees?
Arm extended, the whirring needle came towards the outlined stencil on my arm ...and it was fine.
A bit uncomfortable but nothing too bad. Plus, there were another two blokes getting worked on at the same time as me. I couldn’t go wimping out in front of them, could I?
The tattoo looks fantastic, the guy did a great job, but a small problem has emerged. Rather pathetically, I had an allergic reaction to the cream that I’ve to apply.
It’s basically nappy rash cream, designed for a baby, and it’s given me a horrible rash. Unbelievable. Anyone looking at my right inner forearm at the moment would think I had the plague.
Anyway, it’s hopefully just a blip.
Time for that ‘Aladdin Sane’ tattoo?