Tattoos: A Mark of Distinction or a Sign of Stigma? David Dimbleby Has One, Rhod Gilbert's Got One and Richard Hibbard Has Many. Robin Turner Examines the Rise and Possible Fall of the Tattoo

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), November 13, 2013 | Go to article overview

Tattoos: A Mark of Distinction or a Sign of Stigma? David Dimbleby Has One, Rhod Gilbert's Got One and Richard Hibbard Has Many. Robin Turner Examines the Rise and Possible Fall of the Tattoo


PHOTOGRAPHS of veteran Question Time presenter David Dimbleby having a black scorpion inked onto his shoulder raised a few eyebrows when they were widely shown yesterday.

But the TV host having his first tattoo at the age of 75 is far from alone, according to Jeff Lang of the State of Art tattoo parlour in Swansea's city centre.

He said yesterday: "We are getting people aged from 18 to 80 in here, with a lot of people in their 60s, 70s and even 80s who say 'they always wanted one'.

"I recently finished a design for a woman aged 62 having her first tattoo.

The older ladies tend to go for something good to look at like floral designs. The older men have things that mean something to them like the names of their grandchildren and some of the men have old tattoos, often old navy or army designs that have faded, replaced with new, bigger ones.

"I just had a man in who is approaching 60 who had the names of marathons he had run for a cancer charity tattooed on him."

Dimbleby got the tattoo while making the maritime series, Britain and the Sea, to be shown on BBC One on Sunday.

He said: "You're only old once. I've wanted a tattoo. I thought I might as well have it done now. It's a dream come true for me."

The broadcaster was given the chance to have a tattoo while looking into how body art was re-introduced to the UK as a result of Captain Cook's South Sea adventures.

When Cook returned in 1771 from his first voyage to Tahiti and New Zealand, many of his sailors sported what was termed in the South Seas a "tattaw".

The tradition would soon be associated with men of the sea. A major revival of tattoo art began in the 1970s and it's now estimated one in five of the adult population of the UK has at least one design.

When Welsh forward Richard Hibbard repeatedly smashed into the South African pack on Saturday, his flowing blond hair and bulging muscles making him look like a "Welsh Thor", what was also noticeable was his string of tattoos.

The ex-Glan Afan Comprehensive School pupil, from Port Talbot, said: "I've got the four roses. There's the one rose that is me, the rose with my heart is my wife and there's my two little buds, my two daughters.

"The angel is my mam, who passed three years ago. And see the four stars? That's the brothers, I'm one of four.

"The T with the crown is one of my daughters, Tiella, and the sun is my other daughter, Summer. Everything on there means something to me."

On the eve of a World Cup qualifier in Germany, Wales captain Craig Bellamy unveiled a new piece of body art, paying tribute to medieval Welsh nationalist Owain Glyndwr. Bellamy's tattoo depicts the 1402 Battle of Pilleth, won by Glyndwr, which snakes around his arm and incorporates the name of his son, Cameron.

Former Welsh winger Gareth 'Alfie' Thomas has made no secret of his tattoos, being photographed showing off an American indian on his arm, a latin motto on his chest above a pair of praying hands and what looks like a sea creature on his shoulder. …

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Tattoos: A Mark of Distinction or a Sign of Stigma? David Dimbleby Has One, Rhod Gilbert's Got One and Richard Hibbard Has Many. Robin Turner Examines the Rise and Possible Fall of the Tattoo
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