I have never had a matching tattoo before. Every piece of art that I have collected so far has been personal and meaningful to me, and me only. That was about to change…
This weekend was going to be an epic one. My and one of my closest friends in the whole world, Binky, had tickets to see Foo Fighters at Wembley Stadium – an event that we’d been looking forward to for the last 4 years.
The last time Foo Fighters did a large UK gig (excluding the odd festival appearance) was in July 2011. The last concert, at Milton Keynes Bowl, had been one of the best days of our lives and we’d waited 1,446 days to do it all over again.
Like so many others out there, Binky and I reward ourselves with the title of “the biggest Foo Fighters fans ever”. We first discovered the band’s music together in school and they had been a big part of our lives for the 12 years that followed.
You know those pathetic people at concerts that make everyone else cringe? The ones who have clearly spent the night on the gravel outside? The ones who have insisted on covering their body in eyeliner logos despite being in their late 20s? The ones who spend 99% of the evening crying?
We’re those guys.
So, the day had nearly arrived. We’d booked our trains. We’d sorted a beer-filled packed lunch. We had discussed the wheres and whens of the stressful complexity that is daytime-concert-queueing.
We’d also made the decision to have a small Foo Fighters “F” tattoo the night before the gig. It was something we’d talked about for years and would be something to mark the day we’d been anticipating for so long.
We’d paid a deposit with tattoo artist Dave Condon who worked in Shoreditch, London. We wanted one F each that together would make up the band logo. I felt like a teenage girl again booking the appointment for something so small and un-artistic. Sometimes the small tattoos are just important as the large ones.
Late Monday night I got a text message from Binky: “Nope. I have changed my mind. I don’t want the F as much as I want this…”
Attached was a scribbled picture done by a 15 year old girl…
When we’d first become friends over 12 years ago, we’d been brought together by various factors – our love of Foo Fighters, our interest in reading and writing, and our general discontent for the atmosphere at our high school. It may sound clichéd but some of you may familiarise – bitchy girls, hypocritical systems, bullying, confusion, insecurities… you get the picture. I mean, did anyone, anywhere, actually, really, honestly, like their time at school? Who are these people?!
Way back when, we’d spent many a weekend sitting on Blackpool beach with our notebooks and cheap paper cups of coffee. We would write, read, talk, moan about the rest of the world (sometimes in Spanish) and listen to Foos. Constantly feeling like we were in our own little world most of the time meant that we nicknamed ourselves “Las Chicas Burbujas” (“The Bubble Girls” in Spanish). We’d draw a beautiful artistic representation of this (as seen above) on our letters and notebooks.
“This is what we need to get tattooed,” said Binky. “YES YES YES,” I replied. “Let’s do both.”
The countdown to Saturday begun. Until, later on that week, it was announced…
“Due to injuries sustained in Dave Grohl’s fall from the stage during Foo Fighters’ 12th June show in Gothenburg, Sweden, doctors have required the cancellation of the band’s dates at London’s Wembley Stadium. After undergoing surgery on Monday, Dave’s full recuperation time is still to be determined.”
Tears, yes. Anger, yes.
But despite our cancellation grievances, we surprisingly didn’t feel too disheartened. We now had a full day to re-live those adolescent beach-moments, to get our new ‘bubble’ tattoos and spend a Saturday talking, listening to music and doing nothing. I hadn’t had a day like that for a while, and we hadn’t had a day like that together for over a decade.
We arrived at the studio and met artist Dave Condon who was staying late into the night for us. We’d both been in many tattoo studios over the years but instantly agreed that this was one of the most welcoming we’d experienced.
Dave is an extremely relaxed, down-to-earth artist who has pleasing his clients at the top of his list. He had unbelievable patience with us while we fussed about with size, placement and colour.
After warning Dave and the rest of the guys at Shall Adore that we were in need of serious Foos depression therapy, they whacked our music on full blast through the studio’s stereo system. We had the perfect background soundtrack for the next two hours.
There’s something quite cool about getting a tattoo of a scribble that you created before you were even old enough to step foot in a tattoo studio. I’m sure if we went back and told those two little girls that they’d one day be marking that symbol on their body forever, they’d reply “FUCK YEAH!”
Being with such a friendly tattooist makes all the difference when you’re getting a tattoo that holds meaning for you. We’d loved this symbol growing up as it represented fun and escape in what was a judgemental and hypocritical schooling-environment. This tattoo experience upheld our bubble philosophy – in one of the most trendy and often pretentious hipster areas, sat a completely humble, laid-back artist setting himself apart from many of the tattoo artists we’d encountered in London before. We were back in our bubble again.
Dave’s ethos isn’t to maximise on money, time, reputation or anything else – it’s to make sure you enjoy your tattoo experience free from ego, judgement or constraints. I don’t think we could have chosen to go anywhere more fitting.
The rest of our gig-less weekend consisted of walks in the sunshine, prosecco and ending the evening at 3am, back in our bubble, hand in hand, screaming Foo Fighters lyrics into the East London midsummer air.
Simultaneously, Dave Grohl was sitting thousands of miles with his broken leg in the air, probably quite sad that they’d let their UK fans down. I knew that if he could see us, jumping up and down on the bed, our tattoos bleeding, stereo speakers bursting and faces grinning… it would definitely have cheered him up.
When we had first arrived at the studio, the guy on reception had joked, “awww, FF doesn’t stand for Foo Fighters, it stands for Friends Forever, doesn’t it?!”
In actual fact, days before the concert had been cancelled, we’d already switched our tattoo plans and decided that our bubble image held more importance than a band logo. We’d already concluded that a musical experience with 90,000 other people would never be as good as one with just two of you. We had been right.
“It’s times like these you learn to live again, it’s times like these you give and give again, it’s times like these you learn to love again, it’s times like these… time and time again.”
Foo Fighters, Times Like These
Words: Beccy Rimmer
Photos: Foo Fighters, Las Chicas Burbujas
Categories: Tattoo Thoughts