101 Tattoo Facts 261-280—Stray Cats, a Jamaican Prince and a Tattooed Mummy
By Paul Sayce
261. The “Millers Antiques Price Guide” (professional handbook) had in their 1996 edition on page 391 what they described as a tattooist clockwork needle with leather case–numbered 471–priced at £300-£500 pounds. The machine was from Newton Wilson And Treinen Co (read fact 78) a top sewing machine factory in England in the 1880s. The firm did sell a tattooing tool, but only as an afterthought and only in small quantities.
262. In the book entitled “Portrait Of A Killer,” from the Japanese “Crying Freeman” series, had on its cover a tattooed man and woman, with the main character, in the book(s) and later a feature film, sporting a large dragon tattoo that covers nearly the whole of his body.
263. In 1996, Arena magazine of the U.K. did a photography shoot in the famous Regent Café. down the Edgware Road in London. The café that has a ’50s theme and is very popular with people from all walks of life. The models used were from Diamond Jacks Tattoo Studio, of Soho, London. Ian Kaye (the owner of Diamond Jacks, back then) was also in the fashion shoot feature that appeared in the March 1996 edition of the magazine.
264. Ian Kaye who once owned Diamond Jacks also appeared in the black music magazine True, in the late 1990s, with tattooing being the subject article of the mag.
265. Penguin Books once had a cartoon strip book entitled “Great Pop Things,” about a rock fan’s dream, poking fun at their heroes, complete with a small amount of tattooing.
266. Dennis Cockell (1948-) owned probably one of the most famous tattoo studios in London, and tattooed many famous people in his 265-A Finchley Road studio for nearly ten years, before moving on to what is now Diamond Jacks at 5 Walkers Court in Soho, London. Dennis started his tattooing career in Worcester, England (the place of his birth), but it was in the Finchley road where Dennis made his name tattooing the likes of Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols, Stray Cats, 999, Paula Yates, The Fabulous Thunderbirds and Bananarama, plus many others (to many to mention here). It is safe to say that anyone who was anyone in the music business seemed to have had their tattoos done by Dennis at one time or other.
267. Over the years a very large number of Egyptian mummies have been uncovered and found to have had tattoo marks. One woman, believed to be the priestess of the goddess Hathor, had dots and small lines tattooed on her stomach, arms and thighs. It is believed her name was Amunet. Discovered in 1891 she is one of the oldest tattooed females ever found.
268. The oldest mummified human ever found (in 1991) was a man, who was frozen, in the Otztaler Alps. The Iceman, as he has become known, had fifty-seven (some say fifty-nine) tattoos, consisting of small lines on his back and on the backs of his knees. The Iceman was clothed and carried tools and weapons, as well as having the remains of his last meal in his stomach. He was 5,300 years old. Austria and Italy have argued about who owns him.
269. In the 1950s and early ’60s, in Blackpool, England, Jamaican tattoo artist Prince Eugene (Lawrence) liked only to tattoo swallows on his clients—and only in black or red. He also had a novel way of getting more money out of his clients, when he tattooed them, by quoting the price of the tattoo and, when he was halfway through the outline, would ask if they wanted the bird colored. If they did, it would cost another five (bob) shillings for each of the colors he put in it (hence black outline ink and red). Of course, nearly everyone getting tattooed by him would end up paying the extra to have it colored in, which was twice as much as other tattooists were charging, at the time, in Blackpool (five shillings being about the price of a small tattoo back then). But it is said that Prince Eugene could do a swallow (bird) in black and red in about sixty seconds. It’s also been said that Prince Eugene made a very good living by doing this and was often seen driving along Blackpool’s seafront in his big, old zodiac car. Some said he spent more time driving then he did tattooing.
270. In the 1950s, in Liverpool, England, Sailor Bill Donnolly so hated tattooing sailing ships on people that he priced them at over five times the odds, compared to other tattoos in his (first) studio in Lime Street (before moving to his Hemans Street shop), which is funny really, when you consider that he (Bill) called himself “Sailor Bill.”
271. George Burchett, tattoo artist to royalty, the famous and the well-heeled, of the late 19th and early 20th century, was once quoted in the popular press as saying, “Tattooing was the most ancient of all beauty treatments.”
272. 1980 saw the very funny film from RCA/Columbia entitled Stir Crazy, starring Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder , about two luckless misfits travelling to California to start a new life, when they are wrongly accused, arrested and sentenced to 125 years in prison for bank robbery. Luckily, a small girl saves the day by remembering that one of the real robbers had a tattooed love heart on the top of his left hand.
273. The RSPCA, in 1987, called for new legislation for all dogs to be tattooed with their owner’s name and address, because, in Britain in 1987, 900,000 stay dogs were picked up on British Streets. And in Manchester, England, of the same year, the organization Animals in Distress tattooed nearly 300 dogs, as well as cats, in the hope that it might find owners of lost animals much quicker.
274. Tattoo artist Pascal, who at one time tattooed at”Bugs Tattoo, Camden Town, London, England, drew the cover of the band Skinhead Screwdrivers’ LP (long playing record), which was entitled “Blood and Honour.”
275. George Davis a heavily tattooed fan, who attended many of the England’s first international tattooing shows and conventions, won the tattoo Fan of the Year award at the Tattoo Club Of Great Britain’s 1985 Kenilworth convention and also the 1986 Mr Tattoo award, at the first Tattoo Expo, in Hammersmith, London, England, At the age of twelve, George won the breast stroke (swimming) championship of Great Britain, and throughout his working life he owned a delicatessen and didn’t start getting tattooed until after he retired at the age of sixty-two, because he didn’t think it was right to be tattooed while working with food stuffs. The only parts of George’s body not tattooed were his hands and face. He has (had) a complete bodysuit tattoo, which was done by Tilbury tattoo artist Harry Potter (no, not the boy wizard).
276. The men who did the tattooing on the South Sea Islands of Tonga were called tufunga ta tatau – tohunga ta moko, in New Zealand, ta’unga ta tatau, on the Cook Islands, tahu’a ta tatau, in Tahiti, and tuhuna patu tiki in the Marquesas.
277. British television talk show host Jonathan Ross was lost for words on his Friday night, live TV show of the 3rd of June, 2005, when a young lady jumped up and pulled her top up to reveal her naked boobs to Mr. Ross’s guests, the heavily tattooed rockers Tommy Lee and Vince Neil. The young women had a rather nice panther tattoo on her left breast, and all poor old Jonathan could say was, “Unbelievable.”
278. According to the British tabloid newspaper the “News Of The World” of Sunday 28th, November 2004, the tattooed wild boy of British pop music Robbie Williams spent the evening trying to sweet-talk the beautiful blond Argentine twenty-three-year-old model Amalia Granata. Now, of course, the paper went into great detail of how our Robbie got on, which we won’t go into here, but we do know is that the delightful Miss Granata sports a very nice spider tattoo on the top of her right arm.
279. Again, in the News Of The World tabloid Sunday newspaper of the 22nd of May, 2005, we saw tattooing being mentioned once again, and, this time, it was Ulrika Johnson, who, in her weekly column, had a go at the Liverpool footballer Dijbril Cisse. His crime: he has had his newborn daughter’s name tattooed on his neck. Miss Johnson went on to say that, “If blokes must go in for these tacky tattoos, maybe they should have loved ones’ birthdays inscribed on their skin instead of just names, then they would be all out of excuses.
280. A tattoo is what the great comedian and film star Billy Connolly (1942-) once had done to appease his wife Pamela (1949-). It seems that the great man forgot the lovely lady’s birthday in the year 2000 and, when he realized what he did, he popped into his local tattoo studio and had a swallow and love heart with two scrolls inked. In one scroll he had Pamela’s name and in the other her December 4th birth date (so he would never forget again). This was revealed to ta moko (tattoo artist) Inia Taylor, when Billy was getting his large, traditional Maori tattoo, which Inia tattooed on the top of the Big Yin’s left arm. This all happened at Inia’s tattoo studio in Auckland, while filming his hit television show “World Tour Of New Zealand,” in 2004.