Leaving on the 8am boat from Fishbourne, we hit Portsmouth before heading east for an hour towards gay old Brighton. Old – literally. Gay – definitely.
The reason we’re hitting the Brighton Con this year is twofold: 1/because we enjoy going to tattoo conventions, and 2/ because I’m getting inked by one of the best and most famous tattooists in the world – Dan Gold.
@thedangold (his twitter name) rose to fame during his spell on the UK’s take on Miami Ink – London Ink – and his angry outbursts and brilliance with the needles made him an instant favourite all over the country. He’s since appeared in every tattoo magazine going and has been working conventions since 1993. Dan also now runs 13 Ink in Liverpool when he’s not touring the world and tattooing the likes of Britney Spears and Kate Moss. He also showed me the ‘Only Kate Moss Tattoo In The World’ on his wrist. I think she needs a little more practice…
I arrived at 11am prompt and we entered early due to our online booking of the tickets, but Dan Gold wasn’t at his booth. I had a stroll round and found him half and hour later, much, much worse for wear.
He’d been on the whiskey the previous night, and a short, innocent ride in an elevator left him rolling in at the early hours of that morning. That’s all I can say on that subject… I can’t tell you guys everything!
So, Mr Gold asked me to get him a cup of tea so he could get his head together. Now, there’s no food or drink allowed in the Grandstand Hall, so I used the line: “But it’s for Dan Gold” and after much um-ing and ah-ing the lady on the door let me through. Then told me she would bollock him in a bit.
Now fuelled with the healing power of Earl Gray (or the cheaper Tescos equivalent), Dan Gold began drawing outlines on my hand. This is a job that was continually interrupted by people wanting to say ‘hi’ to Dan, take his photo, talk business with him, or just chat to him in general.
Once the outline was finally finished he told me to go look in a mirror to see what i thought
of it. I did so, but already knew just by looking at it upside down that it was going to be pretty spectacular.
And so, over the next four hours (we’d agreed he could take his time, such was his tender state) I got inked by the One and Only Dan Gold. The man himself tattooed my little boys’ name on my hand and – as we were pretty much the first tattoo booth in the main hall – it seemed like everyone stopped to look, comment, or take photos. During the tattoo Dan and I spoke to event organisers, other tattooists, random guys from the Isle of Wight who I’d also seen at a DJ Format gig two nights previous, strippers, girls in their underwear, lesbians, other tattooists and many more people. I’ve been inked at cons before (most notably by Mr Halbstark and Andy Custom Ink) but never had so many people watch me! Obviously they were there to watch Dan Gold, but it was MY hand, dammit! 🙂
Once finished and tentatively arranged a follow-up booking at the upcoming Portsmouth Tattoo Extravaganza in April this year. Now I just have to figure out what I want to get done! The new Pompey Con is looking good and it’s £20 for a full weekend ticket. Hannah Aitchison from LA Ink is set to appear, as is Dan Gold, and a host of top talent from all over the UK. Hit their website and look at the ‘artists’ section for a sample of all their work.
There will also be body modifiers, body piercers, traditional tattooists, live bands and much more. It should be a great weekend and I know Copey and I will be bringing a few of the gang with us.
Now, it may seem that I know more of the Portsmouth Con then I do of the Brighton Con, but that’s because after four hours of ink I only had an hour to take a look around at the actual convention I was in!
But, like last year – and every tattoo con I’ve attended – the clientèle are always friendly and willing to have photos taken of their tattoos. At one stage I pointed out to Copey, Jo and Leanne (our other travellers) that they were now the outcasts as they didn’t have one tattoo between them!
We stayed in the beer hall for a short while and ate and drank before I left them to it to take a wander around by myself. It’s always fascinating watching other people (in pain) getting inked, and some of the sights are truly wonderous; the tattoos can be magnificent, the girls look immaculate in their burlesque dresses and make-up, and there are usually some hot chicks strolling around in their underwear.
My walk finished, and with my camera crammed with photos it was time to leave and head back for the boat – thankfully my hand was in no pain (and still isn’t now, two days later!).
All that remained was to show Bam my… handywork.