A Word In Your Ear with Jon Rhodes - June 9, 2011

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YOU see some strange sights on the high street these days.

And perhaps one of the most bizarre I’ve clocked of late happened the other weekend. The streets were thronging with shoppers, and not your sports casual lot either, this was Saturday so an excuse for the womenfolk of town to get dolled up.

Why you need a stylish twin set and pearls to peruse the pasty and ice-ringed doughnut collection in Sayers I’ve no idea, but I respect those who make an effort – even if none was really needed.

Anyhow, there was one woman particularly well turned out, but it was not her natty dress sense which turned my head, it was that of her husband.

While she would not have looked out of place going to the theatre, he on the otherhand had a rather striking T-shirt.

Picture the Adidas sports logo, transformed into a cannabis leaf and the tag line ‘adihash’ written underneath.

I’ve no idea if this guy – who must has been 70 if he was a day – was a chemical test pilot casualty of the 1960s and was making a bold argument for the decriminalisation of cannabis or his cataracts had played up to such an extent in the shop he thought he had bought a genuine Adidas T-shirt.

Whatever it was, it took my attention away from his arms, which were so covered in tattoos he could leave them to the Tate Modern when he dies.

And these were not your old-style tattoos, you know the anchor or skull and crossbones which have spread and faded over the course of time. These were pristine new ones with all manner of mythical creatures and Celtic symbols of virility.

He clearly had hit 65 and thought, ‘To hell with it, I’ve worked all my life (a presumption on my part) and I’m going to dress how I like and get as many tattoos as my skin will take’.

He’s not alone, of course. It seems you can’t go anywhere these sunny days and not see a whole array of tattoos. My favourites include a woman who had a compass on her lower back (a sort of living, breathing SatNav) or the guy who had the face of Vince Clarke (keyboard king from camp electro pop tarts Erasure) on his upper arm.

I’ll be honest I did almost jump in and get branded when I was 18, but bottled it. To be honest I’m glad I did. For two reasons really. I don’t like needles, and given what I chose to wear in 1989 (the paisley shirt and red New Balance rave boots instantly spring to mind) I can only imagine what nonsense I would now be trying to get lasered off my arm.

Ozzy Osborne once remarked to his daughter Kelly: “If you want to be different, don’t get a tattoo.”

But fair play to Mr Adihash, you go for it.

Never has a sausage roll been ordered with such style.