Monday, 26 September 2016


London Tattoo Convention
Story By @ChandlerWaller

It’s overdue for me to go back to university, sitting here on my train and I can’t wait for it to be over already. I’ve only been sat here for two minutes but I hate travelling on trains. I told myself that I would only bring a backpack and whilst I was successful, I loath myself at being such a hoarder. My backpack filled with my snapbacks when in reality I only really wear one. A pair of jeans which are so fricken blue you’d think I was taking the p*** buying them. With all the cramming that I had to do, I still managed it and can’t help but think I could have taken more. That said, my summer is over and its back to Falmouth where a lot of hard work is needed to make sure I actually graduate.

A new tattoo is always itchy and whilst the rest of my skin is itching like mad I feel like I have just added to the problem. I’ve had this irritation for a while and obviously I don’t go to the doctors because I’m an absolute idiot. I feel like I’ve done enough moaning and now I can start writing what you came here to read.

I was desperate for a friend to come with me to the convention, being my first time I really didn’t want to go on my laz. Luckily a friend was available and with a little bribe of a house party in Brixton, he agreed to come with me. 

I’d seen a lot people heavily tattooed just walking to the tobacco dock and if I felt out of place not being covered in ink, then I’m wondering what my ink free friend must think. 

I’m walking around, creasing my face up at the dot work of some tattoo artists because f*** me it looks painful. Photographers everywhere, there’s a film camera which I’m trying to get in the back of the shot because what else do you do? Photographers are calling out to people asking them to model their tattoos and my friend slyly says “Wow, you really have let yourself go, haven’t you?”.

I’m starting to think that bringing him wasn’t the best idea.

There’s plenty of people with neck tattoos, which makes me look in jealousy. I’m waddling around through the crowds, to the different tattoo artists who are all hard at work and I’m pretty sure it makes a nice pay check. Some of these artists are absolute geniuses, I’m looking at portrait tattoos and it looks like the real Heisenberg is looking right back at me. I’m tempted enough to get a tattoo, I’ve had a few ideas so I run it by one tattoo artist, telling him I want an 8 ball on this place, this size… “No I want to do something much bigger”. I stand there awkwardly not knowing how to respond to that, I give him a simple “okay” and walk away with my smile now gone thinking I might not get one done today.

Don’t you just love New Yorkers?

They’re my favourite type of people, just willing to have a conversation with anybody. I’m looking through flash designs and @chillypete doesn’t ask me if I like what I see, he just tells me about how he’s so jet lagged, and that smoking a number last night didn’t knock him out, he just got really high and hungry. So after a minute or two of chitchat, I ask the question of doing my 8 ball and now I want a boxing glove on the other side, I’m getting my v lines done and I’m so excited. He replies with a “Oh yeah that’ll look sick”. He tells me its going to be around £200 and I think my heart drops out of its place and into my stomach. I just accept that its a convention standard, anywhere here is going to be expensive, besides I like this guy even though my mum is going to laugh at me. He tells me to come back in a couple of hours, we’ve got some time to kill.

Tattoo merchandise is awesome and the people selling it are even better. One guy asks us if we’re drinkers, my friend says no because he’s a f***ing bore. Obviously I say yes, I mean come on I don’t even really know sober Chandler. He hands me a shot of this 85% s*** and I just neck it back feeling a bit disappointed thinking he was going to buy me a beer. I’m having a look whilst this toxin is sliding down my throat and I say to myself if I’m going to spend £200 on a tattoo there’s no way I’m adding to the downfall of my student finance through clothes. I’d probably end up homeless.

We keep hearing about these ‘Fuel girls’ that are going to perform, so we think the hell with it we’ll check it out. 

After 30 seconds I wonder if I’ve accidentally been invited to a overcrowded exotic strip club.

I’m watching some attractive girls that are way out of my league prancing around in skimpy outfits. “They’re majestic af” I say whilst one of the girls is licking fire and the other one is putting a snake in her mouth. There’s also a dead pool wannabe and a girl bending her body in ways that I can’t think is natural, oh and she’s also up in the air.

There’s no lap dances so I can confirm that it is not a strip club. Sorry guys.

I completely forgot about my burger incident! If there’s one thing about me its that you don’t upset me involving food and alcohol and when you mix the two together, all hell breaks looks. First thing I’m paying £7.00 for a f***ing burger and next thing its cold. I want to go and throw it in his face but due to previous experience I’ve learned that that doesn’t work. 

Anyway its tattoo time after going back twice due to delays. @Chillypete says he can’t do it for a while but his pal that he works with can. He’s also a New Yorker and loves boxing so of course I agree because I’m hyped to get new ink. @DiegoVMannino is the person prodding a needle into me and he tells me that he needs at least 2 inches of space around the tattoo. I’m looking around at a crowded area and think I am not getting my dick out here. So I settled for a little higher on my body and just as well because I highly doubt this very kind and attractive girl would let me rest my head on her leg if my soldier was out. Diego says “he’s happy that I’m skinny and not fat” I say in my head ‘f*** you Will, I haven’t let myself go.’

He’s drilling into my skin and I forget the pain of tattoos, probably something to do with the alcohol I consumed last night.

I’m here for my dissertation but I don’t know how to bring it up and I also don’t think I can manage to speak and take notes like this (I didn’t think this through). So we just end up talking about boxing and I’m happy with that. He finishes the eight ball super quick and starts on the boxing glove. I have to switch sides and I instantly notice how much I’m sweating, the place is like a sauna. I’m in surprise as the right side is more painful and Diego notices right away “it’s weird right, how it’s more painful on one side than the other.” I’m starting to think that “right” is the American equivalent of an English “like”. My friend pops over to see how they look as I’m about to wince in agony. It’s all done in about thirty minutes, this guy is quick! I eventually tell him about my dissertation and he said he’d be totally down for answering some questions if I email him. The relief I have that I didn’t have to do it there and then. 

I go to stand up and almost fall over in doing so, my leg feels like its been replaced with a jelly baby.

I manage to stand and look down at my awesome new tats, I couldn’t be happier and the £200 is justified with the quality of them. 

I’m in agony walking around and I know I need to get some cream, so where’s the best place to go? I come across a bunch of products where a guy is being told what does what, I’m trying to understand but I still have no f***ing clue. I was over the moon that this cream only cost £5, like seriously where do you find a moisturiser for that price.

I’ve got my tattoo and my cream and now I say “f*** it, let’s go get f***ed”.

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