People often come up to me on the street and ask me one of three things:
1 - 'Whilst I enjoy your blog, don't you think there's really not enough photographs of your naked flesh?'
2 - 'What's with all your tattoos?'
3 - 'You're not really famous enough to have people coming up to you on the street asking you things, are you?'
All very pertinent questions, I'm sure you'll agree. For those who ask me question number 3, my answer is this: 'No.' For those who ask questions 1 to 2, this is the blog-post for you. Here is a graphic run-down of my pictorial bodily adornments.
1 - Left Inner-Arm: The words 'I love Travolta'.
This tattoo came about during a brief relationship I had with a mute Sicilian dancercise coach named Amelia Ravolta. This tattoo started out as a clear, understandable expression of my love for her. Sadly, there was a misunderstanding: I unwittingly said 'I hate you and wish to whip you with your own colon' in sign language in one of her classes whilst attempting a particularly frenetic 'robot freak-out'. The colon comment she could forgive but not the part about hating her. Things came to an end and I took the only sensible route and had a 'T' added to the front of her name. On my arm, that is. I was unable to have her surname changed legally by deed-poll.
2 - Left Hand: Pinsky The Dishonest Multigendered Alien.
One summer, when I was a boy, I was sitting in bed when an alien appeared. He clambered through my open window and said 'My name's Pinksy. Just Pinksy. Not Robert Pinks, before you ask. I recently made an appearance at UNI and all they kept saying to me was "Are you related to the poet Robert Pinksy? Can you get him to sign my copy of The Figured Wheel? Can you tell him I loved 'The Shirt'? It really spoke to me, that poem." I don't give a flying damn about whether some crappy poem spoke to you kid, got that! I'm just Pinsky, on its own. Like the popstar Prince or the journalist Bidisha. It just happens to be the same name as that of a successful poet.' He sat down on my pillow. He smelled quite bad and I could see he hadn't shaved for a few days. 'Let me ask you something,' he went on, 'do you think when Prince walks into a room and says "Hello, my name's Prince," everyone in the room goes: "Oh, are you related to the guy who established Prince's Canned Tuna? Do you know Harold Prince, the celebrated musical theatre producer? Are you married to Eileen Prince from them lousy Harry Potter books? Does that make you Snape's dad? Are you? Are you, Prince?"? No, they don't. They go: "Oh, it's Prince. Hey, Prince. Put your feet up, have some salsa." It's like they don't even notice I'm a five-inch biologically multigendered creature with an array of eyes. It pisses me right off. Anyway, listen kid. I'm, like, magic and shit. We're going to have loads of wonderful magical shit happen to us and stuff. It'll be great. But first, you've gotta get your new pal Pinksy some smokes. Your folks keep any cigarettes in the house?'
When I told him they didn't he grew upset. He clambered his way back towards the window.
'Well, I'm out of here, kid.'
'What about all the adventures, Pinsky? When will we have those?'
'Huh? Oh, right... erm... erm... okay, tell you what... save up some money and get my likeness tattooed onto the palm of your hand. Then, when go you sleep, stick your hand under your face. That way I can whisper myself into your dreams. Adios, fuckwit.'
And with that he hopped into the foliage of the sycamore tree by my window and was gone.
3 - Left Forearm: Ronnie Corbett's head on the body of a dancing pig.
This is a tattoo which depicts the head of Ronnie Corbett atop the body of a dancing pig. Previously, it was simply the headless, jigging torso of a pig but my then wife insisted this was 'disturbing'. As she had an irrational fear of Ronnie Corbett, I got my revenge by having his grinning face inked in. Hilarious! Later it transpired that her fear was, in fact, not irrational at all as Ronnies Corbett, Barker, Wood and O'Sullivan had all made a number of unsuccessfully attempts on her life, some of which had involved both pork and dancing. She had told me all of this before. I had simply forgotten. We divorced shortly afterwards. At present her family haven't heard from her for six months and are growing increasingly worried. Still, I settled her hash, right fellas! High five!
4 - Left Thigh: James May experiences an anguishing existential nightmare.
Of the many things Top Gear presenter James May and I have in common, our shared experience of claustrophobic dreams in which we're bombarded with a kinetic series of images of dread and personal horror is the one which makes feel most kinship to him. Many of you will not know this, but James May is perpetually plagued by an abstract, undefined horror which only finds form in his nightmares. He describes these nightmares in vivid detail on Top Gear. This passes most of the show's viewers by as they simply don't listen to what's being said, only do a reflex laugh when they hear the words 'homosexual' or sense from fellow presenter Jeremy Clarkson's tone and pitch that a joke is being made. This tattoo is to commemorate the man - the hidden, haunted man. May, you are my brother. Not all of May's dreams revolve around being trapped inside a vehicle which he's unable to control. Many involve Queen guitarist Brian May appearing to him, in a vast expanse of ice, silhouetted by a pure, silent light, saying: 'I am the May with the lushest hair. Mine is a large, luxuriant shrub of wonder. Each one of my hairs is an aesthetic triumph. Whereas yours, James. Yours is merely the dredges from a widow's plug-hole, parted and draped over your head like a pair of dehydrated seals. On your knees, James!'
5 - Right Lower Leg: 90's comedian Lee Hurst sleepily identifies himself.
There's actually quite a funny story behind this one.
6 - Left Knuckles: some stickmen.
My intention when getting this tattoo done was both simple and pleasant: when I shake my hand so fast it becomes a blur, this little fellow hops up and down on the spot, like in a flickbook. I'd hoped to use it to entertain children and the simple-minded. As it is, it doesn't work. The stick-figure simply becomes a small black blur upon a larger flesh-coloured blur, and I look like a fool, waggling my knuckles about like a mad chimp. The children laughed at me, the simple-minded spat their abundant phlegm upon me. Both of these I can handle: I've been laughed at by children before. And lord knows I've been spat upon by simpletons. However, things took a decidedly dark turn when I visited Chicago where, I learned, the tattoos indicates that I'm a member of an unpopular local Puerto Rican criminal gang and the 'shakey' gesture is one used to display immense disrespect to members of rival gangs. And that's what this blog-post is all about: could someone please arrange to have $4000 in 'Grants' (whatever that means), 800kg of cocaine, and 'some real nice checkered shirts', all wrapped in brown paper and dropped off in the bin, or 'garbage can' as they will insist on calling it, outside the pavilion in Humboldt Park. Then Vasquez Rivera says his boys will release me. I HAVE TO GO NOW.