Although body art has become increasingly popular in Britain since the 1990s, this unique form of self expression dates back to the 1800s, when the Prince of Wales, after a visit to the Holy Land, had the Jerusalem Cross tattooed on his arm.
Tattoos are no longer the preserve of Hells Angel bikers, navy servicemen or rebels without a cause. The wife of a politician can grab her bit of ‘street cred’ by inking skin.
The first known professional tattoo shop was opened in north London by D W Purdy in 1870.
Many tattoo enthusiasts say they know the do’s and don'ts to consider before putting needle to skin. Not so, according to Needleworks, a tattoo studio in Dumfries, Scotland. Exasperated by the lack of parlour etiquette exhibited by clients, they provide, in a typically pugnacious Celtic style, their own code of conduct. On their website they tell us:
“Some people have forgotten that a Tattoo Studio is a place of business like any other business, and should be treated as such. If you go beating on the door of your local supermarket at 6am, do you really expect them to open up just for you? Then why should we? I hope you can see where this is leading. So please read the following list on shop etiquette, or otherwise known as just plain manners, and your tattoo experience may just be a little more enjoyable. The last thing you want to do is PISS OFF the establishment, whether it be in this shop, or any other.”
PLEASE do not bring children! Who will be watching them when you are getting tattooed? We are NOT a day-care centre! We have other customers to attend to and we cannot be chasing your children around. Besides, a Tattoo Studio is for over 18s only.
PLEASE do not bring 10 friends with you when you are getting tattooed. The artist doesn’t need the distraction of several people hanging around him/her while they work. Limit yourself to just one or two friends for moral support.
PLEASE keep your stuff at home. A VCR doesn’t pay our bills, cash does. Do you think any other place of business would take a TV or VCR for trade for merchandise? Visit your local pawn shop first, then pay us a visit.
PLEASE do not even think of smoking in the studio. That is entirely against the health code. Do you light up at your doctor's or dentist's surgery? We have to follow the same strict guidelines for cleanliness as a doctor/dentist would. Besides, a tattoo is a minor surgical procedure. Treat it as such.
PLEASE do not come in drunk or stoned! We will not tolerate it and you will be shown the door. Besides, it's illegal for us to tattoo anyone who doesn’t have a full grip of exactly what he/she is about to do to their body.