Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Just how will granny explain that tattoo in 40 years' time?

Navel gazing: Tat’s all folks!
Navel gazing: Tat’s all folks!

We're evolving into a different species. Casting for its new drama, The Village, set in the early 20th century, the BBC had to reject the vast majority of locals who turned up to be cast as extras because ... erm ... they didn't look right.

Dyed hair, 'orange' suntans, strange piercings, plucked eyebrows and an abundance of tattoos disqualified those looking for a brief taste of stardom.

I must admit I worry about this kind of thing. What really freaks me out is all the tattoos. In the old days it was only sailors, circus strongmen and felons who made their bodies into works of dubious art.

Now its almost compulsory – and across all walks of life. Genteel English roses turn up looking like they got some kind of hideous skin disease creeping up their leg ... until you realise it's a tat.

Presentable George Clooney types have Chinese script inked onto the side of their neck. Worse, they tell you what it means? (Actually, we all know what it means – they're gullible morons.)

Do they ever worry about when they're older and the ... er ... canvas becomes less taut? Sixty years from now as Grandma Katz lies in her coffin baffled children are going to be peering intently at the wrinkly corpse, deciphering her legacy. "What does that say? Unstoppable ... sex ... machine. Mummy! Was granny an unstoppable sex machine?"

"No dear. She was a member of the Women's Institute."

Much of the other stuff is relatively innocuous if still disconcerting, like grey-haired men in their fifties, their skin a rich mahogany colour, their bodies pumped up on steroids. Or having coffee served by somebody with a tap washer in their ear – and through the hole in their lobe you can see customers on the other side of the cafe staring back at you, aghast.

Perhaps, we're going too far in all this identikit individualism. What's the reckoning that pretty soon looking like your own grandad is going to be the new "in".

And who knows you may even get a bit part in a period drama.

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