Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Sometimes You Have to do Something Just a Little bit Silly

We are all well aware of my love of tattoos. Amongst them all, big and small, is one most people don't realise I have. No, it's not in a dodgy place where I can cover it easily, it's on my forearm in plain sight. I don't cover it at all.

The reason people don't realise I have it is because it's so small - it's the size of a full stop.

This is not a tattoo of a full stop however. It's a tattoo of Nikki Sixx, bass player and founder of Motley Crue, 'as seen from space'. Last year I met Slash, former guitarist of Guns n Roses, and fullfilled my dream of getting his autograph tattooed as a sign that if you want something bad enough, you can have it. I had been talking about doing this for a really long time and a friend of mine had said that if I got a tattoo of Slash's autograph, the equivalent for him would be one of Nikki Sixx.

His only catch was that instead of the palm-sized scrawl I have, the only way he would actually get this tattoo would be if he got it very very small. As if you were looking at him from space. This became a bit of a personal joke for us and a pact was made that we would both get this tattoo of Nikki. I got him at the same time as I got Frankie, about 4 or 5 inches higher up my right forearm than Frankie's position on my wrist.

Most of the time, I forget he's there - Nikki that is - but every now and then, I notice a freckle that's more black than brown and I scratch at it to brush it away. I realise that it's actually Nikki Sixx, and it makes me happy. Because it's a silly thing, chattered between friends with a mutual love of a musician who changes lives with his talent. It's something that should never have been followed through with - 'Hey, let's get matching tattoos!' - but it's a constant reminder that sometimes we take life too seriously and sometimes we need to let go a bit. Just enough to realise that a full stop is not a tattoo you can regret, and that somewhere out there, someone famous that I've never met, has no idea that I have a full stop on my arm, dedicated to him. He has no idea that while his friend Slash got a palm-sized canvas on my skin, he himself was only worth a dot. I hope he would laugh at that idea, because I do. It's not size that matters!

It helps that Nikki Sixx really is an inspiration to me, and his first album with his band Sixx AM, Heroin Diaries is one of my favourites of all time, one of those incredible soul-changing albums that cuts deep and heals equally so. Nikki Sixx's subject matters of writing and photography are heavy - drug abuse, social exclusion, physical handicaps, judgement and acceptance. He has a large presence in the media at the moment as he releases his second Sixx AM album This is Gonna Hurt and his photography book of the same name. All day he has people worshipping his every word, crying as they meet him... he's saving lives, through no exaggerration.

So I kind of like that through all of the heavy and important messages he illustrates and the amazing work he does to turn the world around, one person at a time - someone out there has a picture of the top of his black rocker-mullet, seen only as it would be if they were out satellite surfing with a huge zoom lense. It might not be as serious as the effect he is having on people all around the world who suffer from depression and abuse, but it makes me happy, and my kids will know what it means, and it will always remind me of him and the messages he spreads. And that sometimes everything is just too serious.

What was the last thing you did that was just a little bit silly?