Thinking of getting a tattoo? Resident columnist Dave Lazer has some sound advice
Through my work, I often have to ‘rep’ at gigs by bands which are unsigned – and often unsignable. Just last week it was my honour and privilege to attend an all day ‘screamo’ event. For those of you not familiar with the genre, it basically consists of one guy singing a Maroon- 5-style verse, with another guy grunting the chorus in the style of Napalm Death or some other stupid band. This music is made (in this country at least) exclusively by posh boys from the Home Counties, Bristol and Kent. It’s
such an American phenomenon that even the British bands sing in American accents. At one point, mid song, the guy that did the grunting stood on top of one of the monitors (and in his best Fred Durst voice) went: “awwlll you motherfuckers in the house, I wanna see awwlll yo middle fingers in the motherfucken ayerrr”. At the end of the song, however, he reverted back to his mother tongue and gushingly proclaimed, “Seriously, guys, it is SO, SO safe of you to come tonight; I know it’s raining, but without you guys we would be nothing. We love you from the bottom of our hearts.” What a poof. But my lasting impression of the night was not the awfulness of the music; it was of the kids with loads of tattoos.
I had to constantly make sure it was obvious to everyone around that I was indeed ‘working’ (I frequently checked my watch, talked to the sound guy, pretended to look over the paperwork and made small talk with security) for fear of being mistaken for a weird 28 year old at a screamo gig looking for possible sex-grooming targets. Anyway, lots of these kids (average age between 15-21) were engulfed by tattoos, not just the band members, but the impressionable (probably self-harming) teenagers in the audience. The bass player in one of the bands had a spider’s web tattooed on his face. Yes, HIS FUCKING FACE! He couldn’t have been more than 21 and his bass playing was rudimentary at best. He isn’t going to make a living as a musician, so one day he will have to get a job. This raises the question, who is going to employ a boy with a spider’s web tattooed on his face? Definitely not Carphone Warehouse. He has two options: work on a stall in Camden market or work for a gay phone-sex line.
Others in attendance had tattoos covering their necks and hands (with words like ‘PUNX’ and ‘FUCK’ emblazoned across their knuckles). These can’t be hidden by clothing and will mean that when these misguided bed-wetters grow up and start listening to Radiohead (the first grown up, boring band that popped into my head), they will be permanently labelled as a weird little teenager.
From overhearing their conversations, it was clear that these kids were from privileged backgrounds. They hadn’t left home aged nine to join a street gang and they weren’t on anything stronger than weed. What the fuck are these children’s parents thinking? Have families become so liberal that they actually allow this to happen? If, at 16 years of age, I had come home with ‘DAMAGED GOODS’ tattooed across my chest, my mum would have gone fucking mental; I would have been kicked out of the house. If I’d had a spider’s web tattooed on my face, my Dad would have probably cut my face off.
Maybe society will evolve and tattoos will become more acceptable in the workplace. Perhaps these kids will soon be running corporate branches of BSkyB while wearing bondage trousers and walk around the office with their cocks out, gobbing in people’s coffee. I doubt it, though.
I briefly had the immense honour of working for Mr. Murdoch’s company and they made me cut my hair. I also once had to remove my watch because it was deemed “too colourful”. I ended up hating the company so much that after I handed in my notice, I went about ‘allegedly’ racking up as many pointless costs for them as I could. I managed to get about four grand’s worth. Though I knew deep down that it was merely a drop in the ocean for them, it made me feel slightly better about myself.
So what does the future hold for these walking works of contemporary art? To be honest, I stopped caring about 15 minutes ago. I’ve just noticed that a pigeon has shat on the window in the roof of my flat. I’ve got bigger things to worry about. Dave Lazer