Call me a wimp.
I’m not a fan of pain at all and needles freak me out.
The Moore Theatre in Seattle. Late 1992.
Seven Year Bitch are headlining a sold out gig with temporary stand in guitar player Ronnie.
Italian Vogue are all over the backstage area taking pictures of the band, their friends, the crew,
Valerie the drummer’s boyfriend Robert is sitting next to me in the dressing room and we’re chugging back bottles of ice cold Sierra Nevada.
He is in a band called Laceration.
He mentions that he’s also a tattoo artist in training and he’d love to give me a free tattoo should i want one before returning to England in a week or so’s time.
We are talking about how i am the only person in the room without a tattoo.
It gets me thinking of where about my person i would have an indelible picture, logo, symbol, word or words. For no apparent reason other than my disdain for politicians and a healthy stock of vinyl on the Crass/ Agit Prop/Corpus Christi/ Mortarhate/ Outer Himalayan record labels, i decide to plump for a black star, just above my heart.
‘Cos i mean it, maaaan.
After the gig, i make arrangements with Robert to go with Val over to his house later that week.
The day comes.
Liz, the 7YB’s bass player picks me up and we head to her house first for some pre- match, full on gravity bongs, on account of my mentioning severe nerves about the whole thing.
Val joins us and i’m so baked my eyes are stinging, while my entire body is tingling in a way that would suggest nothing less than a heroic intake of THC.
Laughing hysterically, we pull up outside Roberts house. He lets us in and we head upstairs, where he has all the works
laid out, is cleaning this and that, all to the soundtrack of Napalm Death’s “Peel Sessions” album blaring blaring blaring.
“have you got your design with you?”
“it’s a star, right? did you not bring a copy or drawing of what you want?”
“huh. how big is it going to be then? and where do you want it?”
“er…dunno? don’t you have a star anywhere that we can draw around?”
we look the room up and down. nothing.
“how about you draw one? take off your shirt.”
“i’m crap at drawing. oh wait a minute….”
My Converse hi tops. used to wear them all the time.
Robert traces around the star on my inner ankle.
We’re in business.
Leaning back on the chair while Robert goes to work.
My chest area is usually pretty sensitive. the devil weed has increased the tenderness by immeasurable increments, the needle feels like a red hot sabre gouging its way through my pectorals and i want to scream.
Writhing and saying “fuck fuck fuck fuck” through gritted teeth, i glance over at Val and she is clearly trying not to laugh.
Everything slows down, Lee Dorrian growls some more and i have to call a time out.
I look down and only one side of the outline of the star is done. Fucking joking.
No going back now, unless i want a single, thin black line on my chest.
Endure. The pain. Oh, the fucking pain.
The next half hour that feels like three hours, passes and we’re all done.
I feel liberated.
Not just because the needle finally quit.
I start thinking about where my next one is going to be.
Weird that, as needles freak me out and i’m not a fan of pain.
I decided not to have any more.
bloody thing looks pissed.**