It’s a really nice feeling going to a tattoo convention that’s in your hometown.
If you’re like me, the usual tattoo show ritual involves getting up at the crack of dawn, sweating in relentless motorway traffic and spending the day drooling over other people’s cold beers that I can’t enjoy due to the looming long drive home. That’s why… I was absolutely buzzing about this Sunday.
I planned to wake at 11am and amble 200 years to Leamington Spa’s Assembly to experience (for the first time), the 5th Annual Female Tattoo Show.
My schedule ran smoothly…
Whilst the concept of a tattoo show that only women can work at, is a potential contentious discussion point… for me, I was looking forward to seeing some of my favourite artists all under one roof.
The art deco interior of The Assembly makes for an interesting and unusual space for an event like this – most artists occupied the first floor ballroom space, tattooing beneath the thundering sound of burlesque, cabaret and singing… the perfect mix of entertainment for a stylish area that 90 years ago would have been filled with elegant couples dancing the Foxtrot.
The convention is sprinkled with a nostalgic style that sits comfortably alongside the feel of the town itself. Streets upon streets of vintage shops and cafes housed within Royal Leamington Spa’s strong Edwardian architecture – even as a resident myself, the show made me appreciate why visiting here for the day would be a nice thing to do on a sunny Sunday in September.
This is the first year experiencing Leamington Spa at Autumn, my favourite time of the year, and this week had been my seasonal turning point… I’ve boxed-up my flip flops, bought a new winter coat and even (I can’t believe I’m admitting this) started investing serious excitement into Halloween (yes, already).
I love everything about Autumn. Growing up with a Pagan mum who worships it, and holding on to vivid memories of a grandma who loved taking us on long Autumnal walks… this quarter of the year evokes a very particular and familiar sensation in my body – breathing the crisp air, carving sticky pumpkins, collecting colourful leaves, painting wet conkers.
It was only during getting this tattoo that I suddenly remembered that when I was little, my mum and dad used to call me ‘Pumpkin’. Is it weird to realise the importance of a particular tattoo, halfway through getting it? I hope not!
With all my tattoo experiences (including the conventions I visit), I always manage to take away a certain feeling, realisation or memory – a mark in time when I recognise what has passed, and what is to come. Any convention that places itself at this time of year must attract bodies of people who are, like me, in that period of seasonal transition. As the night’s get longer and dead leaves fall from the trees outside, we get ready for another cycle of change.
I don’t think there can be a more suited time in the calendar year to get a tattoo.