Hello again dear reader. Take a seat for the final time and let me tell you the last ever tale from The Naughty Step.
Last ever? Yes, sadly, last ever. But before I tell you why it’s ended, let me tell you about how it started…
A few years ago I bumped into Perry at the Brighton tattoo convention. I’d just had quite a public falling out with another magazine over some of their business practices that I didn’t agree with and he wanted to ask me more about it.
I told him jokingly that I’d been put on The Naughty Step until further notice and that news of my fallout had obviously spread as someone had written a gaffa tape sign for me that said ‘The Naughty Step’ and stuck it to the back of my chair in my booth! After we stopped laughing about the comedy genius of the unknown culprit, conversation eventually turned to whether I would be interested in writing a column for Total based around my will to shine a light in the dark corners of tattooing and call out people for behaving like badly.Like any magazine total has to remain – editorially – neutral but wanted to allow someone to express the opinions that a lot of tattooists feel. With a view to starting dialogues and maybe bringing about a few much need changes.
Obviously the name of the column was easy and The naughty Step was born.
Now you may think that writing the column just involves me spewing a load of bile onto a page and thats that. But, over the last two years I’ve actually spent a lot of time researching the stuff that I wanted to say to make sure that its at least factually accurate.
During that time I’ve realised that unfortunately nothing has really changed at all and that most of the problems in tattooing have existed forever. I’ve read the editorial from 20 year old magazines talking about the problems of tattooing then and they could be talking about tattooing today. It’s simply a cycle that repeats over and over and your opinion of ‘the state of the world of tattooing’ is really only based on whereabouts the merry-go-round was when you got on. You see, It’s always been this way, you just don’t realise it until you ‘buy the ticket and take the ride’.
So slowly, as I researched the column for the last two years, I realised that nothing I was saying was new and that it would probably make no difference whatsoever. I was saying stuff that had been said a hundred times before by writers far better than me and that all I was doing – by only looking for the negatives – was making myself more and more negative about the world I love and make a living from.
I started to feel like I was just biting the hand that feeds me and that it wasn’t a good thing.
The final decision came when I had to lie in bed for a few weeks recovering from the first operation I ever had that wasn’t caused by falling off a motorbike. I’ve been very lucky that during my life I have maintained generally good health and have never had any major problems. So – as you can probably imagine – this very sudden illness and operation pretty much scared the shit out of me and got me thinking about life the universe and everything. Melodramatic I know but – as you know by now – ‘I am one of those, melodramatic fools, Neurotic to the bone, no doubt about it’…
It turned out that my focus had simply changed and I decided that in order to say something different I need to say it differently… visually. So the Naughty Step will live via my blog and my new monthly Naughty Step show on both Facebook and Youtube. I think that if i can SHOW you what I’m talking about as well as tell you then maybe the message will be more entertaining that just reading the ramblings of a Brummy gobshite every month.
So I told Perry that number 24 would be last one and even though he was sad to see the column go he understood that – for me – it was time to move on. Now as I’ve said before my heart is in print so it certainly won’t be the last thing I’ll write for total. I love the mag and the guys and I’ll continue to support them in any way I can because I think it’s the only mag in the UK that is trying to do the same thing as me and show how amazing the world of tattooing can be.
So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you Perry, thank you Lizzy, thank you James and thankYOU for reading my ramblings. No matter whether Ive entertained or annoyed you thank you for reading and allowing me the opportunity to be a part of an amazing publication. Long may Total reign as the UK’s best tattoo mag.
And, with that, all that’s left for me to do is drop the mic and leave the stage…