Should’ve done this when I hit twenty-five

typed for your pleasure on 23 November 2022, at 2.51 am

Sdtrk: ‘Incubation’ by Joy division

This is the sort of nonsense you get up to when you turn fifty:

Behold: baby’s first tattoo

As of the 14th of this month, I have spent fifty years on this blighted earth, this wretched demesne, this cursèd vale. It’s not really an unending torrent of horrors, though; there’s Synthetiks, and cats, and there are a few places with really good wifi. About three or so years ago, knowing that my half-century mark was rapidly approaching, I’d decided that I was going to get my first tattoo. You’d think someone such as myself with a flair for ostentatious decoration that I’d have more on my person, but I have an understandable aversion to physical pain. Well, pain of any kind, really. But I said to myself that getting a tattoo was something I not only wanted, but needed, to do, so I’d do my best to endure the process.

Now I do enjoy good minimalist design; some of my visual favourites would be the logos and trademarks created by various graphic designers and artists, particularly throught the late Fifties up to the mid-Eighties. Top tier designers in my book would be Saul Bass,

Paul Rand,

with my hands-down graphic design god being Peter Saville. Peter, in case you’re unfamiliar with his work, was responsible for the visual aesthetic of Factory records, his heyday arguably being during the late Seventies to the early Nineties.

I’d been listening to New wave and alternative bands, mostly from the UK, during the Eighties, but I hadn’t heard New order until maybe 1986, when my best friend Sean dubbed a copy of their 1983 cassette release of Power, corruption & lies for me, and not only was I enthralled by the music, but the minimal artwork really gripped me. Granted, the US Qwest records version ruined it by putting the name of both the group and the album on the front, but the concept of a band who simply had art and design studies for their covers and were averse to using photos of themselves on any of their releases — up until 1985’s Low-life, of course — and were making synthesised electronic dance music that seemed generally divorced from humanity struck several chords in me. They were struck quite strongly, as they’re still resonating nearly 40 years later. That’s almost as old as I am!

Looking into Peter Saville back then, I discovered he was the art director and graphic designer for Factory records, a record label located in Manchester, the North of England, and New order were arguably the biggest group on the label in the Eighties (I regrettably have yet to hear more than a couple of songs by the Durutti Column; I’ll get that sorted one day). Over time, I learned that New order were formed in the aftermath of the dissolution of a previous band, Joy division, none of their material I’d heard until their 1988 compilation, Substance. Coincidentally enough, the lass I had a thing for back in highschool bought me a cassette copy for my 16th birthday! And that, dear reader, is when I fell in love… in love with Joy division.

Without getting into tremendous detail, I’m a bit of a Joy division fan, so — bringing us back to the present — it only seemed natural to me to get a tattoo related to them. Joy division is one of those groups where everything they’d released in their lifetime, which would be two studio albums, two Peel sessions, and the first of many compilations, are damn near flawless, and since they’re no longer recording (see link above), there’s never a chance of them making any releases that edge towards the Not Good end of the spectrum. Y’know, like Laibach, who I still have a great fondness for, but anything they made after 1994 simply isn’t as good as their older stuff. Or, y’know, like New order post-Technique, for that matter.

In April, I’d asked MontiLee where she had her pieces done, and she recommended Ed DeLoney of Royal oak tattoo, so I’d made a consultation with him one day after work in early October, bringing a couple of examples of the design I wanted on my phone, to be done in blackwork, two inches in diameter. It’d be on the inside of my left forearm, which, due to the way I dress, is one of the few places where you can actually see my uncovered flesh. Ed said that wouldn’t be an issue, and we arranged an appointment for November. Now, ideally, I’d wanted to get my tattoo on the actual day of my birthday, but this year, it fell on a Monday, and that would’ve been dire. Who celebrates a birthday on a Monday?? Instead of the 14th, I’d enquired about the 18th, which he pencilled me in for.
With the exception of my oft-mentioned friend Amber Hawk Swanson, I didn’t really tell anyone that I was slated to get all inked up… I’d mentioned it a couple of times over the past year or two in reference to my fiftieth birthday, but I didn’t go on about it recently. Generally speaking, I’m the sort of bloke who doesn’t like to reveal major plans unless I’m 98% sure they’ll come to pass; that way if they don’t come to pass, I don’t look like some kind of idiot for talking about this or that that I want to do, and it ends up not occurring.

On 18 November (a Friday), I’d taken the day off. Half due to the tattooing sesh, and half due to that being the first day of this year’s Love and Sex with Robots conference. Which was utterly fantastic, by the way; each year, they’ve been getting exponentially better. But I’d gotten round to Royal oak tattoo for my appointment at 4pm in due course. Apart from Ed, I was the only one there. Ed’s an affable bloke in his eighties whose thick and lengthy white beard, the bottom third of which was braided into a thin plait, makes him resemble an alt-rock Father Christmas. The studio featured, among other things, various actual swords on the walls, a shelf full of Star wars ephemera, a dentist chair from the Fifties, and a fish tank with no visible fish. I told him I was a bit nervous, as I was a tattoo virgin, so he put my mind at ease by discussing various subjects. We ended up talking at length about film photography: whereas I learned ages ago how to develop black and white film during a photography course at Wayne state university, he was taking photos of wildlife in northern Michigan. Loves Canon cameras, isn’t too keen on Hasselblad. Admittedly, with a Hasselblad, you’re paying for the name.

What did I think of the physical sensation of having a tattoo, you ask? I wouldn’t say it was painful, but it definitely wasn’t pleasant. ‘Getting repeatedly jabbed by a needle’ doesn’t really convey the feeling… I’d say it was more akin to someone Dremeling me. Rather like a sandpaper sensation. Sandpaper Sensation — that’s not a bad band name! Kinda Sixtiesy.
‘Don’t hold your breath,’ Ed advised me, noticing that I was in some discomfort. ‘Not breathing causes your nervous system to tighten up’. To be honest, I think that’s what he’d said, as I was too focussed on nice thoughts to be able to concentrate on putting the buzzing from my mind. I’ve had worse experiences, like when my painkillers wore off after a root canal back in 2007, but let’s just say that one of the reasons I went with a small design was less flesh scraping.
Overall, though, Ed did a professional and fast job of it — I was out of there after 90min — and was amusing and helped put me at ease through the process. I’d highly recommend him, but if you want him to work on you, you’ll have to be quick, as he’s retiring at the end of this year!

Speaking of design, Davecat, you ask, exasperated by this point in the narrative, what the hell does your tattoo mean?? It’s related to Joy division, yes, but unlike most people who have Joy division tattoos, I wanted something that wasn’t the famous CP1919 pulsar diagram, aka the design from the cover of Unknown pleasures. If you type ‘joy division tattoo’ into Google, you’ll see what I mean. Plus, that would be an AWFUL lot of linework.
Factory records had a publishing arm called Fractured Music that only released music from the latter half of Joy division’s catalogue, as well as New order’s first single, and that was their logo. It also references the f-holes you find in the bodies of violins, cellos, and guitars, and in musical terminology, 𝆑 means ‘forte’, or ‘play loud’. Still was a compilation of various otherwise-unreleased songs by the band, posthumously released after lead vocalist Ian Curtis took his own life, and the Fractured Music logo is one of the only two elements on the cover.
It’s common knowledge that I tend towards the obscure; I love instances where 98% of people seeing or hearing a reference I make are like ‘lolwut’, but the other 2% are like ‘AW JEAH I SEE WHAT U DID THAR’, those 2% are my people.

So there you have it! I love my tattoo, as it’s pretty fucking amazing.

One thing Ed mentioned is that it’d be odds on that, like many of his customers, I’d be back to have another piece done. He told me that he’d had a lass in a while ago who was convinced that she only wanted one, and that’d be the end of it. Shortly after, he said, she returned for four more tattoos in as many days; she’d be there waiting for the crew to open the studio.
*admires tattoo again*
I’ll give it some thought, Ed

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MY BUNNY HOLIDAY: a Play in Seven Acts on March 28th, 2005

18 May 1980 on May 18th, 2005

18 May 1980

typed for your pleasure on 18 May 2018, at 12.25 am

People like you find it easy
Naked to see
Walking on air
Hunting by the rivers, through the streets, every corner
Abandoned too soon
Set down with due care
Don’t walk away in silence
Don’t walk away

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18 May 1980

typed for your pleasure on 18 May 2017, at 12.03 am

It’s getting faster, moving faster now, it’s getting out of hand,
On the tenth floor, down the back stairs, it’s a no man’s land,
Lights are flashing, cars are crashing, getting frequent now,
I’ve got the spirit, lose the feeling, let it out somehow

18 May 1980

typed for your pleasure on 18 May 2016, at 1.30 pm

Those with habits of waste,
Their sense of style and good taste,
Of making sure you were right,
Hey don’t you know you were right?
I’m not afraid anymore,
I keep my eyes on the door,
But I remember…

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‘Gee, my life’s a funny thing / Am I still too young?’

typed for your pleasure on 11 January 2016, at 9.03 pm

David Bowie, the iconic rock star whose career spanned more than half a century and whose influence transcended music, fashion and sexuality, has died aged 69.

Admittedly, the first Bowie album I ever owned, bought in the mid-Eighties, was ‘Changesonebowie’ on vinyl, and as that’s a compilation release, it doesn’t officially count. There was a reference to that exact same thing in an episode of The Venture bros, which isn’t surprising, as creators Doc Hammer and Christopher McCulloch are Bowie fans, like any sensible person would be. But apart from the varied range of music he created over five decades — including the dodgy pop phase he was in between 1983 and the mid-Nineties — and the unique sartorial sense that was equally his hallmark, I think the greatest takeaway that I got from Bowie is that his non-stop inventiveness made it okay to be unusual and left of centre, and if for some reason the world doesn’t catch up with you, then you can still stand apart and be your own person.
Clichéd as it is to say, but there will never be anyone like David Bowie. Everyone else will always be in his shadow

‘Do you remember a guy who’s been
In such an early song
I heard a rumour from Ground control
Oh no, don’t say it’s true’

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18 May 1980

typed for your pleasure on 18 May 2014, at 3.22 pm

Well I could call out when the going gets tough
The things that we’ve learnt are no longer enough
No language, just sound, that’s all we need know,
to synchronise love to the beat of the show
And we could dance

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typed for your pleasure on 26 November 2013, at 7.07 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Negative volumes’ by Black to comm

I suppose this would be the equivalent of !!BREAKING NEWS!! round here, but the GAGADOLL site that I’d mentioned in the previous post has been updated. Undoubtedly I should’ve waited until more photos become available, but hey. We do have this to stare longingly at, though!

Japan’s latest and finest technologies were put into the creation of the “GAGADOLL”. It’s the world’s first life-size human-shaped listening station that closely resembles Lady Gaga. The bone conduction system enables one to listen to her songs and message.

The “GAGADOLL” was inspired by the concept of “ARTPOP” and this masterpiece made by Japan’s master craftsmen has been highly-praised by Lady Gaga herself.
taken from the site

The Doll making company in question is apparently Orient industry — as they’ve been doing the dutch wife-making lark since the late Seventies, they know their onions — and what they and Lady Ga² have created would be a cross between a personal sound system, and a dakimakura, which would be one of those ridiculous ‘love-love pillows’ you’ve doubtless seen various places. Thankfully, Gagadoll makes it a much sexier combination. As I’d stated before, I’m not keen on her music, but as far as I’m concerned, she just gained like 200 Cool Points with me.

Those awful shoes have to go, as they comprise a third of Gagadoll’s body weight. Another third? Her hair

Depending on the availability/affordability of Gagadoll — no, I’ve not seen anything on either of those fronts yet, but I’m keeping an eye out — perhaps this could herald a trend of celebrities having Synthetik likenesses made of themselves to sell to fans? I mean, actors are commodities as it is; having silicone replicas made would simply take it a step further. Which would obviously be a fantastic thing on multiple levels, but it’s yet another example of there being nothing new under the sun. There’s a section in one of my oft-mentioned favourite books, David Levy’s ‘Love and Sex with Robots‘, wherein the author recounts another author, René Schwaeblé, who describes artists creating affictitious duplicates of popular invididuals of the time, in an article entitled ‘Les Détraqués de Paris’. I’d like to point out here that René had written this during 19th-century France:

From René Schwaeblé’s description of these fornicatory dolls, sold by a “Dr. P” for around three thousand francs, it would appear that they were extremely convincing replicas of the female form. The doctor explained to Schwaeblé:

Every one of them takes at least three months of my work! There’s the inner framework which is carefully articulated, there’s the hair on the head, the body hair, the teeth, the nails! There’s the skin, which has to be given a certain tint, certain expression, there’s the tongue, and I don’t know what else. You won’t find a waxwork or a statue, not even the ones created by the greatest masters, that can be compared to my products. The only thing these haven’t got is the power of speech!…
Unfortunately I can’t advertise openly. The police keep interfering in my business, and I have to keep some weird rubber animals around the place, so that I can say I’m a maker of inflatable figures for funfairs!

Doctor P occasionally had customers who wanted a doll made in the likeness of someone they desired.
It quite often happens that one of those “mad women” falls for a man in the public eye—a politician, a jockey, some hammy actor, or whatever. As she doesn’t dare to become his mistress, or can’t, she applies to me and asks me to create a doll modelled on her idol.

Levy, David. Love and Sex with Robots, pages 179-180.

Lady Ga², I’m starting to get the impression that you’ve done a bit of homework on this sort of thing. There you go; you get another five Cool Points

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