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.
I was in The Beehive pub in Horfield, after spending a couple of hours delivering political leaflets on behalf of the independent candidate George Ferguson (www.bristol1st.com) the other evening when I spotted a couple of tattooed folk across the room. One was Gemma (see below) who works as a criminal lawyer for the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service). Her photo is rather overexposed, so you can't really see her quite prominent lip piercing.
On her arm she has an usual design. She chose it because of her obsession with the writings of Gonzo journalist Hunter S Thompson. The image is taken from the famous cartoonist's image of bats in perhaps Thompson's best known novel, "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" and the quote is from the book.
I asked Gemma if she wears her piercing at work. She says she does at the office but when in court she has to remove it. It does show how gradually tattoos and piercings are becoming more and more accepted in the workplace when a lawyer has so little inhibition about the work on her body. Her work was done by Stu Lucas at Holey Skin in Bristol. http://holeyskin.com/
With her was Chris who works in I.T. His sleeve was very much in evidence. On close examination the images are all Marvel comic superheroes. His tattooist is Ben Boston, who has done most of work.
The work was spread over three years from 2004 to 2007. When he's at the office he wears a long sleeved shirt.
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.
These photos were taken by Susanna Ahvalo from Finland and were shot in Vilnius. Susanna is a professional photographer and there is nothing pornographic about her work.
I am always happy to have some professional photos taken of my tattooed body. Had they been taken later this month you would have seen my left leg with its new tattoos. Ah well, I can't have everything.
There are all so many sports stars now with lots of ink. I sometimes wonder when they get it all done given their rigorous training schedules and the need to be at the peak of fitness. Natasha above has a great many tattoos for a young woman whose main engagement is being one of the very best footballers in the world. She was a member of the USA's world champion team.
Much more common are tattooed footballer players, best known being David Beckham but there are many others you see with full sleeves, for example.
When Djibril Cisse (above) moved to QPR a few weeks ago his tattoos were very much in evidence. These young men, with so much money to spare, spend a lot of cash on being highly fashionable. Some impressive work on show here.