When I was a kid, my parents always tried to persuade me to spend my money on something that would last, rather than spend it on booze, drugs or other short lived thrills. I never took much note of investing money in stuff that would be beneficial beyond next week but, when I was 19 and they buggered off to France for 3 weeks, leaving me and my sister home alone, I decided to follow up on their advice.
I took the train to Amsterdam and made my way to Hanky Panky, the tattoo shop that was then owned by notorious tattoo artist, madman, poet and Hell’s Angels associate Henk Schiffmacher. Ofcourse, the big man himself was too busy to attend to mere tourists like me, so I was tattooed by his right hand man Molly. Happy with my new long term investment, I went home and found that my sister had also organised a nice homecoming surprise for my parents by getting herself a purple mohawk haircut. When my parents came home about a week later, and sat down to tell their stories of 3 weeks of childless bliss in the South of France, I told them that I had taken their advice and spent money on something that would last me forever. They probably expected me to tell them that I had started taking driving lessons, had opened a savings account or had created a time capsule and buried it in the back garden. When I told him my new investment would stay with me until I died, and rolled up my sleeve to show my tattoo, they weren’t even disappointed. My mom even liked it and told me she thought I had been brave to walk in to the Hell’s Angels tattoo shop and have some rough biker repeatedly stick a needle in my arm for an hour. I was O So proud of my tattoo. I showed it off to everyone and got very positive reactions. This made me consider that getting another tattoo would be even cooler, so after some 2 years of evaluating and discarding designs, I went back to Hanky Panky and got my second tattoo. Again, I got very positive reactions which, ofcourse, made me want a third one. However, after my second tattoo, it took a long time to finally get around to having a third done. For over 12 years I planned having it done, but it never materialised. The main reason for this are mainly that I am crap at handling money. Saving is one thing I just can’t work out. And whenever I did manage to get some money together, something would always come up. I would be invited to come to Germany, Brussels or wherever for the weekend, my stereo would break down, or I would get a ridiculous energy bill out of the blue. For some reason or other, my third tattoo never happened. The positive thing about this, is that I have had over a decade to think about designs. Thinking for a long time about what you are getting tattooed leaves you with the possibility to reconsider and change your mind. I am very happy that I did take my time for this because, looking back on it, some designs I have considered over the past 15 years would not have been my choice of today. The downside is that most of my friends, even the ones that are a decade younger than me, have more tattoos. Then again, it’s not a race for who gets to be ‘full’ first. And on top of that, I still have plenty of space on my body to get new tattoos whereas my brother in law has only a couple of square inches left anywhere, so he can’t get any new ones done anymore.
So, having lived in Dublin for 3 ½ years now, I decided that the time was right and last Thursday I finally went to get a new tattoo. My mate Phil from Connected Ink in Temple Bar tattooed me and this is the end result:
I think the end result is really cool. My new tattoo has sparked my enthousiasm for tattoos again and I will be developing more ideas for new ones. The tattoo is the logo of my favorite beer in the world, the Dutch Hertog Jan, an excellent beer that is not exported and is primarily sold in the South and West of Holland. Now let’s see if I can lure the brewery into using my tattoo for promotional activities resulting in free beer for me.
For now, I’m heading off to the pub to watch Australia – New Zealand for the Tri Nations and a couple of football matches after that.