Pathos, Ancient Sex, Ink On A Pin
December 13, 2013

Pathos, Ancient Sex, Ink On A Pin

What’s going on? Why does aging make me feel more like Sisyphus than Peter Pan? It might be the slow accumulation of moments of madness. Don’t get me wrong; surreal is OK as a creative road less traveled, but not in the WTF world of sad celebrity. A couple of recent instances got me almost energized.

Moment of Madness 1: The much-vaunted Monty Python reunion gig sells out in 43.5 seconds. There is an immediate announcement of a further four dates. Maybe this sudden breakdown in consensus reality is due to Eric Idle’s promise that there will be “a little comedy, some pathos, music, and a tiny bit of ancient sex.” That sounds a little too much like an average Thursday night at home to make me want to waste hundreds of hard-earned beer vouchers (that’s £s, $s, etc) for a plastic seat in a big dome five hours drive away in London watching over-seventies re-live the sixties.

Moment of Madness 2: The UK press goes bonkers because a 75-year-old TV presenter announces he’s had a tattoo. David Dimbleby, the chairman of Question Time, a popular weekly political show, let it be known that he had recently had a scorpion tattooed on his shoulder to represent his astrological birth sign. Cue media feeding frenzy; never mind the innumerable anguished adolescents going for their first tattoo for whatever reason; the criminals with their tribal branding; the millions of beautiful timeless ritual markings celebrating centuries of cultural heritage. “Dumbleby” has had a tattoo. What preoccupied the British Press was leg-count. It seems the scorpion only had six legs which means it can’t be a scorpion but has to be a lobster. Yawn. There are precedents. An album by Megadeath had a six leg scorpion on the cover for example. But the saga got worse. There was speculation that a scorpion tattoo could be a warning that the bearer has AIDS, is a recovering drug addict, or even a Cuban hitman. I have a soft spot for Mr Dimbleby. He takes no nonsense from any of the high profile politicians on his show and delights in knocking them off their high horses. But it would be much more of a story if this pillar of the establishment was really a secret druggie (he wouldn’t be the first) and in his spare time nips over to Havana to “retire” a few Cubans. Question Time would never be the same again. And neither would having a tattoo as a statement of youthful defiance.

I don’t believe you are ever too old to tattoo. But if Dimbers was making a statement it pales into insignificance compared to some of the tattoos I have seen with my own eyes.

Like the Punk who etched “T H E  E X P L O I T E D” on his forehead in a very amateur fashion. Then there was the woman in a pub in Pinner, North London, who proudly displayed a tattoo of a serpent disappearing into her bottom. And finally, the 28 stone man who challenged all-comers to a staring-out contest. He invariably won as he would drop his pants and use the big blue eyes tattooed on his buttocks: they never did blink.

I will never have a tattoo, ever. It’s personal choice. But if I ever get a varicose vein I might just get a permanent marker and draw seven legs on it. That will do for me.

Image Credit: Thinkstock

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Eric Hopton is a writer, musician, artist, and photographer. He has a degree in Social Anthropology and has always been passionate about travel, having so far visited 73 countries. His music and sound work has been used in many projects around the world and can be heard on Bandcamp and Freesound, where he has contributed over 1,300 sounds under his sonic alter ego, ERH.

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