Saturday, 7 September 2013

Sunday Sample - Tattoo You?

Karen Dash is a gangster's wife on the run in fear of her life. She holes up in the holiday resort of Kavos on the island of Corfu, where she spends the days befriending anyone who will listen to her stories in return for free drinks. Here she is at a beach bar regaling her audience with her views on tattoos and piercings.

"Scuse us, make way please. Elders and venerables coming through. That’s better, some clear sand. Ow, ow! You’re all right, you’ve got fetching open toed sandals on. Answer me this if you can. When the sun heats up the sand, to such a level of discomfort you can barely walk on it, why doesn’t it do the same to the metal insertions in people’s bodies out here? That would really give them something to cavort around for. And do tattoos absorb or diffuse ultra-violet light? Wouldn't it function like matt paint? I can’t find anything about it in the books. I only ask, since I’m troubled by the ins and outs of whether they apply sun cream to their cuticular respray jobs. Doesn’t seem right somehow. Right in the sense of fitting. They should further immolate for their art. Of course, if the ink provides its own sun screen, then the quandary doesn't arise. There again, it might be rather hard to spot a melanoma against a tattoo overlay. Like pentimento. But if you think about it, and every day out here on the beach such is the ubiquity of the body pictorialism on pallid flesh, I cannot but help chew on the subject, has not the cell machinery already been stirred into mutinous action? To heal the subcutaneous breech of rapier needles? Endlessly knocking its head against a metallic partition. I know how it feels.

Oh go on. Let me have a look then? Oh, cheeky! No danger of any sunburn there then. She is a handsome little devil! And everyday you get to sit on her face! Only an elect few get to witness it there I’m sure. No, no, not at all. Far from it. In theory I welcome the urge to own your body, shaping it to your own design. To draw upon your skin as a canvas. To render your self-portrait. But tattoos on girls just doesn’t sit right with me. Call me old fashioned, call them ladettes. (Actually, call them pneumatic hermaphrodites, so comprehensive is their adoption of all other male tropes). But there again, it isn’t even just the blemishing of feminine flesh that rankles. To my mind, all of them male and female alike, exhibit such a paucity of inspiration and verve. Is that really how this generation envision themselves? How they elect to self-daub? Take the overabundance of Celtic symbols. Alright, some may be genuinely extracted from Caledonian, Irish and Welsh stock and thereby wish to underscore some notional heritage. But the bulk are Anglo-Saxon, basking in constipated extirpation of these selfsame stirps. Therefore I’m convinced no matter where they hail from, all sail in brackish witlessness as to the origins of these geometric interweaves.

No let me ask you. Do you honestly think they identify themselves with those heroic tribal resistors of the Roman Legions? Or maybe it’s with the later anchorite Christian scribes? Smart money’s gotta be on the tribal illiterates over the illuminati. Symbols too knotty to pierce. Yet how ironic, that an artform dripping in twining interdependence, should be adopted by a complexion of youth so comprehensively alienated from meaning altogether. Here they are hankering after the uniqueness of their personal branding, yet en masse they contrive a monolithic classification palette. Rubber stamped, so whither individuality? A lost panoply of ancient tribes, paid tribute by a modern tribe that does not wish to be bound together at all. Craving after personal virtuosity. To have a secret, special meaning reserved solely for their mind. A cribsheet written on their skin. Unfortunately, all the pat answers have flowed into one another and become a tangled mess. Leaving them without an inkling.

Spirals that seemingly have no beginning and no end. (Depending on the proficiency of the tattooist at concealing them, oh yes I’ve traced this artform long through many a night). As representing connection to the cosmos and recycle of life. Yet don’t these non-believers renounce the afterlife totally? Whirling sigils and heraldic beasts, guardian family spirits, when they have pretty much repudiated family also. And what of the warrior caste they notionally align themselves with? I don’t see them undertaking too many heroic quests. Though in fairness, they are often to be seen bearing a fallen comrade from the drink-sodden field of battle. If the ink were green hued rather than black, then they would be solemnising their skin with the exalted vine. Which at least would be more legible.

So yes, I’ll opt for their regressive association with the primitive, rather than scholars and holy men. Superstition over abstruse thought. (To them an everlasting light is a refillable lighter, while most are blessed with the creative spark of wet matches). Each fibril of knotwork, another anodised briar of reinforcement. A decorative razor wire they have welted to their skins. Serving as a ‘keep out’ to any warm-blooded trespass beyond the surface and to caulk any seepage of character from within their own plated prison. Amulets against self. But all of that fades to a most bruised black, compared with the porcupine hide of piercings! Don’t tell me you’ve got some of them as well? No? Because you have responsibilities in the real world that’s why. Business suits and first impressions and all that. Am I wrong?

Granted one can accept the sight of antic flesh on a beach. In fact you expect it as the local Olympian pursuit round these parts. Sprinting into or out of the sea; discusing with a plastic frisbee; beach volleyball or playing paddle-bat tennis; Greco-Roman wrestling between lovers on sun beds. These are legitimate wobbling ogling opportunities. 5.9 for artistic impression and all that. I’m here myself, with more than half an eye on a gold medal, slow-dance partner for tonight. But then it’s anything but a knockout, as your attention is snagged by the detail of a ring or chain, performing its own whipping and pinched version of the dance of exuberance. Hells Bells! A case in point! Look at the state of that, emerging from the sea like it’s been salvaged. She’s going to have her own eye out if she hits top speed across the burning sand. For on those unfortunate occasions, when due to concupiscence, drunkenness or extreme flashback, I am forced into a canter, well let’s just say it’s no bad happenstance that I still sport my sunglasses. But she’s got metal extensions that swing like a flail. You see those bolts in her brow there? Not quite Frankenstein’s Monster, but so long as her mate has some jump leads handy, he should be able to get her out of bed and started of an afternoon. Once she’s flown back home to her life of graphic underemployment. In my day, office workers just used to starve themselves and paint their nails of a lunch hour. Now these fatted calves seemingly go and hand over good money to be skewered.

You’re not buying this are you? Maybe it’s not so pronounced at home. I mean given the climate, flesh is necessarily always trussed up behind fabric. Out here it’s all on show and I’m telling you, it’s absolutely rife. A particular one night only, stand-up comedian of my brief acquaintance, regaled me with an anatomical sketch of his previous night’s mooring. To what end I couldn’t fathom, but I did listen with a certain appalled raptness. Unsure as to which of the two protagonists was more despicable. She with her cloven skin predilections, or he for telling intimate tales out of school. Was I to be relayed in turn, to schmooze the following night’s selected audience member of participation? As what, someone more soft and yielding than last night’s human pin cushion? Soft and yielding? Uh-uh, he was going to be a mite disappointed on that front. Nevertheless, circumspection was clearly called for, as to what I broached with this loose-lipped lad. Couldn't be making a clean breast of things, as had my antecedent. If that’s not a contradiction in terms, seeing as according to him, her breast was disfigured by all manner of metal probes.

The estrogen egghunt didn’t end at the mammaries. Apparently, she also was the proud possessor of twin labial piercings. Tied off in tiny, white balls as might affix corkboard pins. Memo to herself. Signpost landing strip navigation lights, for any intrepid night pilots. Gliders rather than dive bombers one might hope. ‘Nacreous or ivory?’ I innocently inquired, for if I have to put up with an imposition of taste, then I insist on going with a full flavoured flow. In preference to a gobbety drip feed. But of course, my deadeye witness couldn’t enlighten me further. His insipid sapidity unable to register any new sensation, despite presumably not having orally partaken of either material before. Rather, he informed me his tongue delightedly played with them for a seeming eternity. A ‘wicked’ sensation of licking a woman’s ‘balls’, no matter how shrunken. Freud would have had an orgasm. The target buoys bobbed up and down, among the roiling waves of her sex, entailing contact kept being lost. She seemed pleased enough with his fingertip searches for them anyway, so perhaps there was some design to her self-stapling. I queried whether it wasn’t like having a pair of tiny eyes scrutinising him, or worse, just the whites of lifeless orbs? Even more accursed than that, he conceded. Once it had gradually dawned on him that in fact, they rather resembled two beads of, well ejaculate. That somehow he was embarked on somebody else’s sloppy seconds, which crash landed him immediately. And yet the sexual metallurgists will protest till they’re blue in the face, that it only heightens sexual pleasure. More like vagina dentura if you ask me!

Behold another one, with wireless bra and wired breast. There with the tray of food buttressed against her pierced abdomen. Oh double bubble and squeak! For I spy a tattoo rippling beneath her costume, where she might cradle a feeding babe. If an infant wants to watch an animated cartoon with its supper, stick it in front of the TV like any normal Mum. This way, he’ll likely get indigestion, motion sickness and a squint all in one. Surprised she needs to utilise her hands. Surely she could just run a chain through her evidently pierced nipples and secure the tray across her sternum? More than likely, the overpriced lunch will be the most precious issue to emerge from there. No, no I’ve found her! She’s the clincher! That one fellating an ice cream cone yonder.

You can see it quite clearly. There at her site of honeyed suckling, is only to be found the bitter aftertaste of mummy’s noxious metal ringlet. Think about it, how the fleshy areola must have been sent packing. For a permanent mineral tenant. So the only lability can’t possibly be the hormonal brewing of milk. Rather the tarnishing of cheap gold. Verdigris. And don’t you wonder what all this says about their own mothers? That umbilical tie clamped and snipped at birth, cutting them adrift of their life-giver. How they now spike and padlock their own navels to return the deed with ruinous interest. Voting with their sharded mammaries to ostracise the maternal. Oh for a giant magnet to hoover them all up and drop them down in say Cephalonia. Or Lesbos even."

"A,B&E" available on Amazon Kindle

No comments: