Songs Are Like Tattoos: a retrospective of what I did five days ago.

Easy Realism would like to report that after getting a tattoo last Wednesday, Easy Realism is finding it incredibly difficult not to pick at the itchy scabs. It is healing very nicely though, and Easy Realism staff love it.

I think I am one of those people you see who has spent thousands of pounds on modifying their body, just because they like the feel of it. After one tattoo, sure, I am still about 98% original skin tone; but I seriously enjoyed being tattooed and think there is potential for this new-found hobby to become a massive drain on resources.

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I pride myself on being a journalist, writer, blogger and all round wordsmith, yet struggle to put into words how it felt being tattooed.

I went Infinite Ink in Hamilton on time – really, really early on Wednesday morning, for some reason – and the design they had drawn up from my incredibly dodgy sketches was better than I could have imagined; or indeed could have drawn. I was actually really nervous for the whole month the tattoo had been booked, incase they drew it up badly; my feverishly conservative conscience telling me not to do it, to just not turn up on the day.

The design itself was based on the soundhole design from 1970s Eko 12-string models, like my mum’s guitar. She got it at 16 and learned to play on it; then taught me to play on it when I was 16. It is, essentially, a pejorative-gay tribute to Big Kathy.

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The tattoo artist – deserving of his title, might I add – knew it was my first tattoo, so he was prepared for me going into shock; talking me through every step of the process.

When the needle actually touched my arm – this is where it gets hard to describe – I was totally fine. I was lying down, so I realised there was no chance I could faint like a complete dandy; but the actual feeling on my arm was hardly noticable. It’s not that I couldn’t feel anything, because there was definitely a sensation; just not one that was wholly unpleasant. It was strange to have something which I was conscious of causing permanent change to an area of skin, but not feeling anything dramatic or akin to religious experience. I just lay there chatting and making crap jokes through the two hour session.

The whole thing was even more enjoyable since I had guilt-tripped RR Angela into coming. That would be a three hour trip from Stirling, at 7.00 in the morning. She deserved it.

She has a tendency to talk, loudly and at an impressively rapid pace. As soon as she left the room, the tattoo artist looked up at me and said: “How does she do that…? It’s a gift… I felt like I was breathing for her!”. There was fear in his eyes.

Of particular excellence was when Angie asked to see the tattoo an hour after its completion – still under cling film wrap. I cannot express my delight as she held back the vomit, brought on by my haemorrhaging arm. I never even knew she was freaked out by blood! Beautiful.

The point is: I enjoyed it too much, and will probably end up covered in tattoos; akin to Cat Man. In fact I am still enjoying it. The weird feeling of it on my upper forearm during the healing process has made me feel somehow more alive. I knew there was something of the self abuser about me.

Easy Realism went out on Wednesday night and got piso mojado, even though Easy Realism knew better; what with the brand new, unhealed tattoo.

Somewhere amid the anthropological mission that was going to a club full of idiots with some messed-up-on-love-and-substances friends in the city centre, I lost all the people I was originally with. Or maybe they lost themselves. I ended up at a party full of people I didn’t know. And cats. Lots and lots of cats.

Last thing I remember was holding a tumbler of straight vodka to my lips before being transported to another room and standing in front of the unfamiliar bathroom mirror; looking at myself and a hundred swirling lights. I found, next to – presumably – the toothpaste, a chain exactly like mine; with beautiful, disembodied bird wings.

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I picked it up for closer inspection, and considered nicking it, for the lulz. However, against the will of my inner kleptomaniac – who only wakes up when I drink far too much – I managed to hold back; my conscience stepping in like a Tory Godmother to say: “No! It’s not right! Leave that chain for its rightful owners: those who paid for it (plus you are totally wearing one and don’t need two of them, duh).”

[Scene missing]

The next morning, I went to meet one of the friends who had disappeared the previous night for a pizza and beer breakfast. During mutual psychoanalysis, the trading of big words in convoluted sentence constructions and the frightful discovery of the letters “ROFL” written on my left hand – which I totally thought was a clandestine, second tattoo I had picked up at the party – I realised my chain was missing. I realised then that my conscience was totally wrong to suggest I don’t steal from strangers. I realised then that I would not even have been stealing, since the supposed theft would have in actual fact just been me lifting my own chain from a stranger’s bathroom. The same damn conscience which told me not to get a tattoo in the first place!

It’s just like abortion: I’ve always been a pro-choice liberal. I realise now that my whole life is a struggle between the endless internal dialogue of my conservative super-ego conscience and my free-love-friendly ego. I am never going to listen to the sober voice again! Viva La Piso Mojado!!

My friend and I parted ways on the beautiful, oft repeated line of:

“I do love you, Davie”

“Cheers, you too; can I have a double?”

And then, the contradiction in the conclusion…

Ok, so, then on the early hours of Sunday morning, I was coming home from another party, piso’d and mojado’d. I was rooting around in my rather fetching manbag for change to pay the rudest taxi driver ever, when I found the chain I thought I had lost.

Surely this detail SHOULD be some sort of moral victory for my conservative and sober side. It was correct: I had my chain at all times, and I managed not to hurt anyone by stealing their possessions; but I have decided not to let this information permeate my brain just yet. I’ll be living it up, carefree and without barriers; if only until this information manages to work its way through my grey matter as doublethink.

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