This is the diary of a heavily tattooed trans woman as she makes progress towards a bodysuit. Why the tattooed toff? Because I am not as people think I should be. They assume from the way I speak and the clothes I wear that I am "normal" and are shocked when I show them my ink. I am a retired Chartered Accountant and retired BBC journalist too Now I have just started my transition this makes me more unusual.
Building a new body
Here is someone who has built a completely new body for himself. When he started body building he would have been unrecognisable from the image here. But I don't have any photograph of him as a 10 stone weakling! Which is a shame. And he hasn't stopped with the building of huge muscles for he has also covered himself with tattoos.
I wonder why he did this? But I don't wonder very hard. I have fantasised about body building at various times in my life. But the idea of the vast amounts of work in the gym plus stuffing my body full of steroids and other substances meant it remained just a dream. Looking completely different gives me a strong frisson of excitement and that's why I do it with my tattoos.
Someone who has very visibly changed herself in the full gaze of the cameras and media.is Jodie Marsh.
Here she is with a tattoo sleeve. Jodie is one of that newish breed who is mostly famous for being famous. I am not sure what she does other than make news and she had mostly passed me by until she completed her latest transformation.
She is now a body builder and in a remarkably short period of time has completely changed her appearance. It's hard not to admire the sheer dedication that must have been involved. Not all her previous admirers will like her new look but she has obviously done it for herself, whilst no doubt being aware it would attract yet more publicity.
My mind is focussed on just one kind of extreme body modification - heavy tattooing. My body appearance has changed drastically in the past five years.
But what are other people's body modifications of choice? One is a practice known as "tight lacing", in which the users of corsets embark on reducing their waist sizes to as small at 17 or 18 inches, if they can.
It's not something that grabs me but Lacie here (www.staylace.com) has dedicated herself to the practice. There are others like her who take it very seriously. It's a fetish and not necessarily permanent. If you give up regularly wearing this special kind of corset then you will eventually revert to normal.
I have no plans to embark on this myself, but before I pass any judgement must reflect that what I am doing to myself is even more extreme. The images here are truly eye catching. I have never knowingly met anyone who is into tight lacing yet there is a big community out there who do it.
The work in my groin and pubic area has been completed. Years ago Louis Molloy did the central figure in this picture but avoided going all the way. Now Ben has tattooed a circle of clouds all around the image that goes as far as it can without inking my genitalia. This completes the work on my torso.
Added to that Ben has worked some hair detail on a much older art nouveau image originally tattooed in the nineties. Months ago Ben covered the black hair with brown. Today he gave the hair some texture.
To mark the end of this phase Ben took some pictures of my whole body.
I went to the Newport, South Wales convention yesterday. Before getting there, I spent two and half hours with a face painter who gave me fake face and neck tattoos. It was painstaking but very pleasant and enjoyable. Sam Fisher, the face painter from Longwell in Bristol, did a wonderful job and the reaction I got at Newport was quite electric. All tattooists spotted the fakery immediately and most heavily tattooed people didn't take long either. But many were unsure. One way or another I caught the eye and it led to many conversations with those attending the convention.
It was an opportunity to talk about face tattoos and how far people were willing to go. I was struck that a significant proportion of those there with some face tattoos were women. I'm not sure, but maybe more than half. One young woman I photographed, but unfortunately can't name check, has at her tender age advanced very far on neck and face.
She said she may well take it further. But others…