Aged Ink

Time to Shoot

So it was time to head out into the city and try to find these tattoo bearing dons who’s style I like so much.

I was unsure to say the least. Unsure of if i’d find anyone with their tattoos visible in the harsh Mancunion weather. Unsure of whether once found, they’d take kindly to a 20 year old university student inturupting their day and waving a camera in their direction. But unsureties realised, it was time to get out and get looking.

I had a few failures, looking too much like one of those Oxfam “you look like a nice guy! Can I have a second of your time?” charity workers may have been partly to blame, but nothing too bad. One man in Leeds Bus Station with a swallow tattooed on one cheek and a Newcastle football badge on the other told me he’d knock me out if I didn’t get that camera out of his face, (and i’d just offered him 20p for the toilet turnstyle he’d unsuccesfully tried to get in without paying!) but other than that no hard as nails, tattoo covered old men tried to fight me as i’d worried.

I saw Newcastle’s No.1 Fan a day later at the bus station in a full Santa outfit and almost asked him again in case, as it would seem, he’d got into the christmas spirit, but I thought I’d better not tempt fate.

Eventually,  I got my first one:

Jim- 67


“you’re stupid, son”

I saw Jim near the Arndale coming out of Northern Soul Grilled Cheese (you should try it out), got his attention, asked him if I could snap a few pics and pressed the button on my earphones to start recording in voice notes that I had (suprisingly cleverly) opened in anticipation.

As I took them I asked him a few questions;

Whats your name?

“Jim, 16 i was when I had these done lad, im 67 now”


You’ve answered a few of my questions there, erm why did you get them?

“ah I just liked the look of them so I did, thats all the reason you need at that age I suppose ain’t it”


Well thats about all, thanks mate. Any final words of wisdom you’d like to add?

“erm.. well I see you’ve got tattoos on your hand there too. You’re stupid, son.”

and with that he was gone. Not sure how that was a final word of wisdom, but i’ll take it. Cheers, Jim.


On the way home after walking around Manchester taking photos, some that came out pretty cool but sadly no more of tattooed people I noticed a builder doing the roadworks on Oxford road.

I walked along the building site fence trying to get his attention and having to practically shout to finally get it over the sounds of the site. When he heard me he jumped over a small hole that had been dug in the street, wiped some of the dirt off his hands and presented them to me through the fence proudly, with a grin on his face.



“Quick.. I’m on’t Job”


“it’ll have to be quick mate i’m ont job”

Ok, thanks for this. Whats you’re name? and how old were you when you got them done?

“Baz, and I don’t know about 17/18 I think.”


Tattoos across hand say “triumph” with a union jack on the left hand pinkie.

Ok, I wont keep you then. Thank you, any last words of wisdom you’d like to leave me with?

“Keep at this university thing lad and you wont have to be on a building site like me at my age”

A  bit more useful than old Jim’s advice.

It was a shame he was working and had to be quick i’d of liked to find out the meaning and reason behind the “triumph” tattoo on his hands. By his age i’m guessing he could’ve been 17 or 18 at the time of the 1966 world cup (when we won for those who, disgracefully, might not know) but it’d be cool to know the real reason for the tattoo.

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