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Doing a tattoo can’t be that hard, can it? Our mystery writer is on the look out for volunteers.

Tattoos are big business, apparently. After recently meeting a few friends at the Exmouth Arms for lunch, I took a stroll along Exmouth Market and happened upon a crowded tattoo parlour named The Family Business. Ever the inquisitive, I took a peek through the window half-expecting to see a few Russian gangsters or the Islington chapter of the Hells Angels in the process of receiving their latest ‘ink’. To my surprise, rather than undesirables and dock workers, there were two guys in suits, a few student types and a lady who looked to be in her late 50s.

Tattooing it seems is de rigeur, with David Dimbleby famously sporting a scorpion on his shoulder and David Cameron’s wife, Samantha, adorned with a dolphin playfully swimming up her ankle. Even Felicity Kendal has got in on the act, decorated with a star, moon and feathers on her leg and foot. And, if it’s good enough for ‘cutie’ Kendal, famous recipient of Rear of the Year 1981 – who got her first tattoo aged 63 and another the following year – then it is certainly good enough for my dear friends at the Drovers Centre.

Always on the look out for new and exciting Get Togethers, I thought it would be a great idea to set up a tattoo class where we could come together and learn the ancient art of drawing on each other with needles and indelible ink. Tea, biscuits and a tattoo. What could go possibly wrong?

Apparently, according to the Drovers Centre manger, quite a lot.

Undeterred, I thought I would try my idea out on my other half. She has acres of flesh, so giving me a little of it to practise upon shouldn’t be a problem. And herein lies the problem. Two in fact. The first being the consistency of my wife’s arms – think blancmange in a sausage skin – which seemed to swallow the bic pen I was using to practise my design, turning my attempt at a rose with a banner into a wolf with the majority of its teeth missing.

The second being the subject matter. What do you tattoo on an older person? Mo Coppoletta, the proprietor of The Family Business has a waiting list of over two years for his artistic genius, with people flying in from all over the world to receive Japanese Gods, Virgin Marys and colourful Koi Carp. However, I couldn’t see my friends popping down to Waitrose graced with a full ‘sleeve’ of angry gods marauding against a stormy background. This would need some thought.

It would also need to take into account that I am terrible at drawing. So, something practical perhaps, that required little or no artistic ability. And then I had it. A “To Do List” on the inner forearm, so the wearer can never forget an important Get Together again. Simply write the day’s activities on the lines provided and mark the indelible tick box when the to do has been done. Genius. And much better than my previous idea of ‘MILK’ and ‘SUGAR’  knuckle tattoos to aid with speedier ordering at National Trust cafés. Especially given the fact that there aren’t enough knuckles for the sweet side of things, so it would have to be ‘SUGA’, and I’m a stickler for spelling things correctly.

So, to prove the worth of this idea, I’m on the look out for volunteers. The only criteria being the ability to withstand intense pain, an obvioius sense of forgiveness and the ability to shed your skin. Any takers?


Joking aside, at Age UK Islington, we’re always on the look out for new and exciting Get Togethers. If you have an idea you would like to share with us we’d love to hear from you. You can talk to the staff at an existing Get Together, or call us on 020 7281 6018. Just no tattooing, please.

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