I survived January, my unluckiest month of the year. Now I can start Tattooing Hertfordshire in earnest. Thats not to say that I didn’t put January to good use, I did some cool tattoos and developed the website that you are now reading. So it wasn’t all bad, that said I am pleased to be putting my “tin hat” away for another year.
Friday 1st Feb 2019
I will start February by congratulating myself. That may sound slightly narcissistic but I have managed to update the blog, as promised, weekly since inception. OK maybe I missed one week and deleted a week when plans changed drastically. So with the exception of two weeks it has been clockwork. Well done me!
The toughest part about the news page is generating new interesting content. I could ramble on about how great my tattoos are and why you should come to my studio ( my tattoos are great and you really should ) but I figure that is going to get boring pretty quickly. Besides a picture paints a thousand words.
Should I do a tattoo with an interesting story or achievement behind it then I will attempt to build a post around it. I have one in mind,I am just waiting for that healed shot. In the meantime the galleries are filling up slowly and I will add the previous weeks tattoos to the blog. Don’t worry if your tattoo doesn’t “pop up” straight away, it will in time. With three cameras on the go and several memory cards between them, a few pictures may appear out of sync.
So now the adventures begin! Actually no, no they do not. I do of course have adventures in the pipeline. I have meetings and more hard work ahead of me for now. Although I am now a firm believer that the best plan is no plan at all, I have a plan. Should everything go to said plan then my first adventure will be the 2019 Isle of Man TT Races. On the Isle of Man…… obviously…….. in May 2019.
It sounds exciting right? And it is. It Is a dream of mine, to have an excuse to go to the Isle of Man TT every year. But wait it could get better, what if? I had an excuse to be there for the TT and the classic TT later in the year? Thats twice a year.
Picture me on the 1st of June 2019 parked up on the mountain course in the Tattoo Race Truck. Casually free-handing a sleeve with the backdoors open whilst Connor Cummins wheelies out of the gooseneck, I may even have one of Connor’s coffees in my hand. Maybe you can see the logo of the Steam Packet Company on the side of the truck? A thank you for transporting the Tattoo Race Truck to the Island.
COMPLETELY SCRUB THAT VISUAL IMAGE FROM YOUR MINDS EYE, THE REAL WORLD DOES NOT WORK LIKE THAT FOR ME.
The reality check is this: On TT week, the Tattoo Race Truck would cost me a small fortune to get across the Irish sea. Before I could even contemplate buying a ferry ticket I would need to satisfy a lot of legal and logistical issues, not least of which is environmental health legislation and of course a license to tattoo. It is complex, but it is possible and something that I am prepared to pursue.
I will be seeking sponsorship, marketing and promotional opportunities. With a new venture I am not sure how successful I will be but it’s worth a shot. Cash-Flow will be tight, the ferry costs a fortune, but then so do guest houses and hotel accommodation on TT week. That is of course if you can get a room, the island gets booked up a year in advance.
So it’s time to reveal my secret weapon, the van that does everything that the Tattoo Race Truck cannot. Ladies and Gentleman, allow me to introduce “Dirty Arry” a 1.3 Suzuki Carry van and integral part of the On The Road “fleet”. You can laugh if you want to. I have seen some of you laugh when I have been driving around locally. I don’t care, do you know why? It’s because “Dirty Arry” has secrets…..
“Dirty Arry” is a stealth micro camper. I bet you didn’t see that coming did you?
When the main truck went away for the conversion, I needed a “run around” or “smoker” as they are known in the motor trade. Something cheap, reliable and possibly fun. After a bit of digging I figured that the Suzuki carry 1.3 van would be good sport. I found “Arry” in Essex, it was love at first sight.
It did not take long to dawn on me that I had picked up a good little van, not only that: it is great fun to drive. It needed some seats so I picked up a leather interior out of a ford ka convertible and put it to good use. Along the way I also found a complete set of coil over track day suspension and an electronic box to help it “breath”. I also added some decent wheels and tyres. The interior has been insulted and lined, the headlining has been painted and thanks to Impulse in Watford it has tunes and bells.
With special thanks to my mate Rob* from Axi-dent and his jig-saw, it also has an interior that will fold and convert to a bed. *if you want a dent removed then click on the link, Rob is one of the best at what he does.
“Dirty Arry” still has a long way to go to be ready for the Isle of Man TT in May, for this is the reality of my first TT trip as On The Road Tattoo: Camping in a fifteen year old Japanese micro van. It is going to be great and once the leisure battery is fitted and I have electricity. It will be warm. Showers will be courtesy of a gym I have previously used on a couple of trips, its also a great place to train
But the best thing about this little Suzuki van is that it is light. Light enough to be easily towed behind the Tattoo Race Truck when needed. Now that is exciting.
When the Tattoo Race truck is going to be set up for a weekend event or in a Tattoo convention, I simply tow the “master bedroom” local transport and extra storage “Dirty Arry” behind me on it’s own two back wheels. How cool is that?
Monday 4th Feb 2019
Everything has gone pear shaped. The blog is three days late. O2 have managed to disconnect my main phone number. It’s February, so can I realistically still get a ferry crossing for the Isle of Man TT in May at this late stage? What happened?
A very full weekends tattooing happened. Along with a sudden urge to get an Apple watch to replace carrying a phone. My airtime carrier O2 do not support the Apple watch so I wanted to take my number to Vodafone, O2 deleted the number instead, you know, by “mistake”. Whilst tattooing and finishing the blog in my head, it dawned on me exactly how much work I have to do just to get “Dirty Arry” across the water and fulfil my dream of living in a very small van for a week.
I have decided to finish the blog before finding out the ferries were fully booked months ago, I could be wrong of course but you will have to wait until next week to find out, this aint Netflix.
“Arry” will need servicing and an MOT, I have a feeling something will need replacing thanks to an encounter with a vicious speed bump. That is the least of my problems. Leisure batteries need fitting as do inverters and a 24 volt hook up. I will need to finish the cooking facility, work out how to heat the van and try to make it comfortable. Roof Racks and carrying boxes will be required for smart clothes, the plan is to have meetings whilst on the island while trying not to look like I am living in a van.
By now your’e possibly thinking why would a man of my age do this to himself? I know I am. Well I haven’t had a holiday in years, I am not exactly “flush” at the moment and more’s the point I like to test myself when I go away. Relaxing on a beach with a Pina Colada, sun cream and a fat sandwich is not my “thing”. Walking into a jiu-jitsu gym in a Rio favela unannounced to train for two weeks is.
Given that it has been a few years since I have walked into any form of combat gym I would get folded in half (again) if I tried that now. Besides this is a reconnansance mission , I am ex forces and I have been watching far too much of Ant Middleton and “Double O” in the TV series SAS “who dares wins”.
I will be in the hands of the Gods, if the Island is bathed in sun then there is nowhere I would rather be, however, when the weather turns, it turns really nasty. I could end up in a b&b in days….. if I can find one.
So should you read off my demise from hyperthermia, found huddled in the back of a Suzuki van on the side of an island mountain: not only can you say that you knew that guy, but you can also tell the listener that it was Darwins theory at work…. a perfect example in fact.
I have a couple of important meetings this week, I really do hope to bring some exciting news next week please do keep your fingers crossed, it could be a game changer.
The diary is well and truly open for February. I have good availibility.
Tattooing in the truck is nothing short of awesome, everything is to hand and the light and natural light from above has, I believe, added a few more years to my tattoo career. Everything is so much more relaxed, I still have to keep to a schedule but it is nice to have a life back. After two solid days tattooing this weekend, I have to wonder how I managed seven years at I Aint no Saint working six days a week? Five years of which was without a break.
I am feeling relaxed, happy and fit. My new workload allows me to train well and eat well, I am still a vegan, something that more and more of my clients are interested in, so stay tuned for recipes as I like to cook. The business is going as expected, it’s not an easy transition as the truck is a radical idea compared to my previous studio. I cannot get the truck to translate well in photographs which does not help my cause. Every customer so far has said the same thing “The pictures do not do it justice”.
Whilst on the subject of van conversions: this is possibly a good time to mention that the Tattoo Race Truck is not finished. I have plans for a “shop front” behind the back doors. So if your reading this and work with perspex or possibly windows please get in touch as I need your help! There will at some point be a giant awning added to the truck, there is already a pull out awning attached but my plan is for something that incorporates both side and back doors. I don’t need to ask a price at this stage in order to know that this will be an expensive custom item.
This weeks tattoos were fun, as is usual in the winter months there are lots of ongoing custom hours, as a result little to show in pictures. I did get to finish a couple of bits and I hope you like them. I promise to get a grip of the Go-Pro’s and create some more interesting visual media going forward. In the meantime one would hope that a satisfactory visual image of impending nonsense has been created. It goes without saying that none of this is possible without my customers continued support so thank you.