Category: Travel

Interview with Iris Lys

30-year-old travelling tattoo artist Iris Lys is based in Liège Belgium, where she guets at a friend’s shop every month. We chat to Iris about her love for cats, how her tattoos have progressed since she began tattooing and how she wants to create larger pieces… 

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How long have you been tattooing? I started tattooing in 2005 and I made my first tattoo ever in 2003, when I was just 17. That was in an awful shop in France, so I don’t count it, I started a real apprenticeship in Helsinki Finland at the end of 2004.

How did you start? What did you do before? I have always loved body modifications and I have always drawn and somehow I just knew it was my thing. I moved to Finland (where my mum is from) a year after I finished school, with the goal of finding a place to start my tattoo apprenticeship. I remember I arrived in Helsinki and found this shop where I got tattooed and I had all of my drawings in my bag hoping I would get the balls to ask for an apprenticeship. I showed them my drawings and they took me on!

My drawings had nothing to do with tattoos when I began, I think my drawings were pretty bad, but I was young and nobody makes perfect drawings from a young age! I had a difficult apprenticeship, as I was a very shy girl who couldn’t speak Finnish very well. So sometimes the language barriers got a bit problematic! I consider myself to be self made, no one really showed me things or helped me understand things and how to get better that’s why I learnt very slowly.

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Do you have a background in art? Both my parents are artists, they always took us to exhibitions and made us draw or do anything artistic. My father was an art teacher for years until he stopped to have more time for his own art, he was a sculptor and amazing painter. My mom also paints, draws and makes traditional Finnish wall tapestry, they both made me love art. I went to an art school in Helsinki for a year too but I wasn’t really into it as I wanted to learn tattooing  and I thought learning how to paint wasn’t really my thing which I now regret since I  would have learn so much.

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Describe your style, has it changed? I guess I can call my style traditional with a girly/kitty touch.  I use a lot of traditional images as inspiration that I try to adapt in cat style like rock of ages “rock of kitties”, pharaoh’s horses “pharaoh’s kitties”, handshake “paw shake”, I like to add funny words to the drawings. I also like to create funny and naughty designs with asses and cats involved!

My style has changed in a way and so has my tattooing ability. I am only now after 11 years of tattooing kind of happy with what I do since I have been travelling so much, living in different countries, working in a lot of shops and learning things from others. I am so much happier and confident now, I always knew I wanted to tattoo and I want to until I am unable to keep a machine in a my hand.

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What do you like to tattoo and draw? I love to draw and tattoo flowers, hands, lady faces and of course cats!  I’m always happy to have people contacting me about their cat projects, especially when they have very funny ideas! I like doing other stuff too,  I don’t want people to think I’m not able to do anything else than cats or to think I only make palm size tattoos which isn’t right! I like bigger project too and when they have cats in it I am even happier.

What is it about cats that you love so much? I come from a tiny village in south of France where we always had cats and even more cats were coming to our garden, wild ones, I remember trying to catch them very silently to pet them, I have just always loved cats! I started tattooing my first cats a few years back and while I was in Montreal. I started to draw more and more and since people seem to like it I thought this is perfect, now I can make this my thing!

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What inspires you? My big inspiration is my own cat at the moment, I am completely crazy about her, she is my baby! Also sometimes I see funny cat pictures on my news feed that I use as reference.

What would you love to tattoo? I’d love to find someone who would get a full sleeve in a cat theme or a back piece, I want to make bigger pieces. I like doing palm size tattoos but sometimes I miss making bigger pieces, I feel like people think am not into that!

Do you have any guest spot or conventions planned? I’ll be the last week of July at Salon Serpent, few days at Jolie Rouge London in August and will come back to London in November for a week but haven’t figured it out yet.  As for conventions, I’ll be at Tox Cit Ink Liège (Belgium), Montreux tattoo convention (Switzerland) both in September, at Nantes tattoo convention in October and should be at Lisbon tattoo convention in December.

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Can you tell us about your own tattoos? My own tattoos are pretty much all about cats, I have many cat tattoos on myself. A few years back I said that the only thing I would get would be cat related and it has been like that since then, but as I have been running out of space this is header to do. I started getting tattooed when I was younger and some of then have been covered, blasted over and lasered, but some still remain unfortunately. The best tattoos I have are all hidden since I don’t show my legs that much anymore!

Careers: Tattooed Operations Manager

We chat to Lauren who works as the Operations Manager of Twisted Burger Co in Sheffield about a day in the life managing a developing food franchise and her growing collection of beautiful tattoos… 

How old were you when you got your first tattoo?

I got my first tattoo when I was 18 so it’s not like I’ve got this underage story of a shit tattoo, even though it is a bit. I don’t think I’ll ever get it covered because I like that it’s my first tattoo, I like the back story. It was done in some dodgy tattoo shop in Rotherham and I got it because I wanted to know what a tattoo felt like. It’s just below my ankle and it’s ever so tiny, just a little daisy with some really shitty swirly stuff around it and I think it cost a tenner. I was bit worried that my foot was going to drop off but at the time I thought that it was the shit, like the bees knees, that I was so cool and took loads of pictures to put on the internet like ‘look at my new tattoo’ but I do still love it.

What drew you to tattoos, did anyone influence you?

Richard Lazenby from Crooked Claw Tattoo who is doing my right arm sleeve. His stye is very traditional, thick lines and bright colours that’s the kind of style that I like. There’s also someone I like called Filip Henningsson who works at Red Dragon tattoo in Sweden who I religiously follow – he is incredible. One day I want to go to Sweden just to get tattooed by him, he does really cool flash as well as a lot of necks and hands because obviously he is that good. And then my friend Alexandra Bawn her tattooing is incredible it is so intricate but she’s really versatile and changes. She also just got engaged to Matt Webb who is also a tattooist and I love his style and insanely bright colours. I usually just wear black so I kinda like my bright tattoos.

By Richard Lazenby at Crooked Claw Tattoo

Can you tell us about some your tattoos?

I have these three party dots on my hands, which I have matching with Anthony Allen from Skull & Bones Boys Club. We actually tattooed each other at 3am when we were absolutely hammered in my kitchen. We decided whilst drunk that we were ready for our party dots. So we bleached down the kitchen, got a sewing needle and some biro ink and put these black dots on each others hands. It was very silly but they’ve sort of grown as our friendship group has now got them too.

Then I’ve got ‘CFTHY’ which stands for Cult For The Haggard Youth which is an album by Dead Harts. I think there are now 14 or 15 people with this now in different places which is incredible. Next to that I have my brotat with Dom from Dead Harts as it was Friday the thirteenth and Niall Shannon was doing £13 flash so we got matching ones.

By Niall Shannon at Forgiven Tattoo

My baby is this one on my forearm, which is my late grandad. He passed away in February 2014, and I’ve got his nickname Sonny and my late grandma’s name Joan as well. I gave the task to Richard Lazenby and said here’s a picture of him do it in your traditional style. He did this beautiful traditional portrait of him but it’s not realistic but still a likeness of him in Richard’s style. I was originally going to get him on my leg but I changed my mind once I saw the design and I had him on my forearm, so it is definitely my all time favourite. Then I have a butterfly for one sister, a horse shoe for my other sister and some of my sleeve was paid for by family members. I’m building up bits and bobs like that and I’m getting some for my mum and dad further up my arm.

How did you get into your current role?

I actually started working for The Harley (flagship Twisted Burger Co venue) in October 2013 as the assistant manager of The Harley not Twisted Burger Company and within the space of a couple of months I moved up to being general manager, running the building, the club nights, managing all the staff and everything like that. From that my boss, Dave Healy saw something a little bit more in me, saw my ambition, saw my passion for food and my work ethic. I have always worked really hard all my life and he said right I don’t want you to be general manager anymore I want you to be the operations manager of Twisted Burger Company they need someone and I think you are the right person. I’d never been an operations manager before, I had no clue what I was doing and he said not to worry he’d teach me. So as well as the operations manager my role also entails being the area manager, the brand manager and I do all the marketing.

Did you have to get qualifications or did you work your way up?

I’ve been in the hospitality industry since I was 14, waitressing and working my way up. I also did some other management jobs before I was at The Harley but at the same time I went to university and got a degree in media studies and got a couple of NVQ’s in hospitality and catering so I got my qualifications as well. I originally wanted to go into radio but my career in hospitality just took over and I kept getting promoted. I’ve never had a company that has pushed me to be so creative and it’s definitely brought out the best in me.

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What is a typical day like?

I’ll just describe what has been happening in March and that may just show you how crazy my career actually is! We’d planned to release our sauce range with Drop Dead, a new menu and a unit at the Moor Market in Sheffield City Centre. But originally these were all spaced out in our business plan for the year. Various things happened and it all ended up dropping into March. So in the space of like five weeks we launched the unit at the market, we launched a sauce range and we launched a brand new menu across all our franchises. So it has just been a really crazy past few weeks. But obviously everything that we’ve done with the sauces, from designing the labels with Tom J Newell, to coming up with the right recipes to the names on the new menu has just been mad.

It is just myself and Alex Malins who do all the day to day working for Twisted Burger Company, he is the executive chef but he has a lot more involvement than just the cooking- we do a lot together. It’s a very fun job, hard work but very rewarding.

Sweet Potato Fries from Twisted Burger Co

How do you dress for work? Do you show off your tattoos?

We dress however we want, most offices have a dress down Friday but usually I do dress up Fridays but just on my own because I do like to wear smart clothes and dress up a bit! If I’ve got meetings with future franchieses and I’m doing a sales pitch I will always dress up a little bit.

Do you find in hospitality people react more to your tattoos? 

I actually worked for Wetherspoons before I worked here and as soon as I got my first visible tattoo my boss sort of said  ‘you’re covering that up’ and they wouldn’t let me have my nose ring in either. Here there is a lot more freedom and it took me quite a while to get used to it after having to dress so smart all of the time. So coming to Twisted Burger Co and letting myself go was a bit of a weight off of my shoulders in a strange kind of way. But when I was working behind the bar, customer facing you do get a lot of comments or people touching you are grabbing where your tattoos are. But you just kind of get on with it.

The new Twisted Burger Menu

Do you have any advice to other people considering their careers when getting tattooed?

In the day we are in now I don’t think it matters as much as it used to but obviously with things like face or hand tattoos you’ve got to be quite discreet unless you know for the rest of your working life that you are going to be in a company that doesn’t mind you having those. But even with that sometimes when I have business meetings with future Twisted Burger franchisees I do cover up just to look a bit more professional rather than risk that judgement.

Even as a tattooed person I have that opinion that to look smarter you should cover your tattoos up – it depends entirely on who you are with and what you are doing. I don’t want to risk a bad decision for this business but then sometimes that is the quirk of Twisted Burger Company in that we can dress and look how we want. A few of us are tattooed and Alex Mallins my colleague has his eyebrow pierced so he is a bit of a goth as well. So if we turn up to a business meeting I bet sometimes people think God what have we let ourselves in for and then we sell our product and they think it’s a great product and a great brand. We’re so proud of TBC so its really easy to say great things about it because we love it as well.

We just want to grow in Yorkshire and keep getting bigger. It’s a lot of work to do but I love working here and I love my job!

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After we spoke to Lauren we then had the pleasure of checking out Twisted Burger Co’s new menu.  

From the ‘Return of The Mac’ burger with a pesto and mac and cheese combo to the incredible ‘Bury me in Smoked Sausage’ their new menu did not disappoint. If you’re into your chicken burgers but fancy something a bit different it’s well worth it for the creole mayo and smoked sausage topping.

Return of the Mac Burger

Bury me in Smoked Sausage Burger

But it was the ‘Drop Dead Twisted Barbecue Burger’ that really raised the stakes with a double vegan ‘meat’ patty, vegan ‘cheese’ slice and bbq jackfruit in the new Dead Twisted sauce which made this carnivore think twice before she orders another TBC burger.

Drop Dead Twisted Barbecue Burger

But if you aren’t in the mood for burgers Twisted’s ‘Jalapeño Business Fries’ hit the mark along side more amazing new sides to the menu. The incredible ‘Highway to Falaf-hell’ with coconut and coriander drip and ‘Hang up the chick habit’ consisting of a basket of confit chicken wings has an unbelievable blue cheese dip and will fill you up as much as any burger!


Pig Pimpin’ Fries

Crack ‘n’ Cheese

Highway to Falaf-hell

Jalapeño Business Fries

Next time be sure to check Twisted Burger Co at one of their venues across the North.

A Chocwork Orange Beer Launch

Last weekend our music writer Amber Carnegie had the pleasure of heading to BrewDog Sheffield to try their latest beer collaboration. Here’s what she got up to… 

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‘A Chocwork Orange’ has been created by BrewDog in Sheffield, and independents Abbeydale Brewery and Skull And Bones Boys Club. A chocolatey pale malt brewed with a focus on citrus fruits and orange peel. The result-  a rich beer with a lasting flavour that left you wanting another pint.


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‘A Chocwork Orange’ have nailed it with a chocolate focused beer with none of the artifical taste that you sometimes associate with chocolatey beers. The chocolate notes coming from real cacao nibs and chocolate malts for a moreish flavour that certainly paid off with the first cask selling out in under two hours.

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The launch also gave us a taste of the latest Skull And Bones Boys Club collection with baby pinks, pastel blues and intriguing washes framing the bar. As their brand evolves so do their pioneering collections, with already iconic products such as chopping boards and straight razors who knows what SABBC will be adding to their portfolio next.

Find out where you can try ‘A Chocwork Orange’ here.

Samantha Fielding: Performer

Samantha Fielding is a 42-year-old photographer and creator of the Performer portrait project, a book celebrating the creative minds and secret worlds of night performers. We chat to Samantha about her upcoming book… 

Performer is a homage to the night performer the strong and creative minds that make you forget about the everyday world we wonder in. Night is a time for reinvention. No one understands this better than the underground performer. Bursting free from the limitations of routine and shedding the skin of an every day identity, they become someone else. Someone braver. Someone wilder. Someone truer.For the night time performer especially, there is a certain isolation that comes with putting their vision and endeavour out there. The irony is that they find exhilaration and purpose in their respective acts or identities, and yet they are often judged and mocked as oddballs, outcasts, or freaks.

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As both a photographer and interviewer, I shone my light back stage and focussed on the characters behind the parade of masks, eager to capture both the practised pose and the unguarded moments. The result is a series of portraits that capture the beating hearts of a world I feel fortunate to have been able to document. I will say that not only is this book an homage to the featured artists, it also challenges the judgements and preconceptions that we make of others.  Either way, I hope my lens conveys a sharper understanding of this misunderstood world. And I hope this work fosters a new communion between the audience and the performer.

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I grew up in the south of Spain where my mother owned night clubs. From a young age I was curious of the glitz and glam of the drag queens that had a night club next door. Stunning and tall they always let me sit and watch them put their make up on. I feel at home in this world. I am not a performer but maybe a closet performer. I go to Burningman every year. I actually met my husband there 10 years ago. I have always loved dressing up and have a garage filled with feather head dresses and costumes for all styles and occasions.

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I want this book to cover all walks of performance artist’s from burlesque to drag, fire eaters to contortionists. I have given myself three years to travels to London, Berlin, Paris, New York, Las Vegas,  Los Angeles and San Francisco. I hope this book brings an understanding to the every day person that you should never judge a book by it’s cover. Through my journey I have met some of the smartest, happiest, well travelled and well versed artists. These performers choose life.

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Watch Samantha’s video below to find out more about the performer project: 

Gypsy East Desert Erotica Photo Shoot

In the depths of the Rajasthani desert, the Gypsies created magic… 

Check out the Gypsy East ASOS for your own magical treasure that the gypsies discovered on their travels 

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Art direction & styling – The Gypsy East Collective
Model – Emily-Louise McGuinness
Photographer – Alexandre Fantie-James
Shoot assistant – Harry Newbould

 

Tattoos in the Desert

Alexandra Langston is a creative copywriter, editor, and part-time blogger, living and working in Qatar. In this post Alex talks about being a tattooed Caucasian woman in a predominately Muslim country… 

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There are some parts of the Middle East that are almost indistinguishable from Europe. A huge Western ex-pat community, and the shops, bars, hotels, and events built to accommodate them, plus a booming tourism industry in many places, are a major reasons for this – with Dubai in particular fully embracing Western culture.
Qatar, however, is like Dubai’s little brother: playing catch-up with the economic, architectural, and cultural changes.
When my husband and I moved to Qatar one and a half years ago, we did it completely blind. After plans for a move to Asia fell through, and only a cursory Google of Middle Eastern countries, we applied for a few jobs and Qatar came up trumps. Neither of us had ever visited the region, and we had barely even heard of the tiny thumb-shaped peninsular that is Qatar. So we took a leap of faith, and just two weeks after getting married we had packed our bags, and were on our way to a new life in the desert.

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I was terrified. An outspoken, tattooed woman, with a penchant for short skirts and sinking a drink or two; I strongly doubted I would be a good fit for this conservatively Muslim country. Of course I fully intended to respect their laws, religious and otherwise, but I worried about inadvertently offending someone or causing myself problems.
From the very beginning, there was a large amount of pretty uninhibited staring, which I initially put down to being blonde, Caucasian, and female. I quickly realised though that there is a large, mostly male, Indian ex-pat community here too, and that staring is a quite harmless part of their culture.
As it turned out, I really didn’t need to worry about having tattoos at all.
I found that curiosity, above all else, abounds here. It is completely fine to have them, and there is no need to conceal them beyond the expected standard levels of decency, but because tattooing is illegal, and there are no tattoo shops in the entire country, knowledge of tattoos is quite limited.
The most frequent reaction I get is one of surprise, followed quickly by the question: ‘is that permanent…forever?!’ I still get the usual questions about it hurting, even long after healing is complete, and I once had a lengthy discussion about ink entering the bloodstream, but I get the impression that these queries come from genuine interest, rather than judgement – and I have even been asked to model my tats for an amateur photographer!

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I’m not sure if it’s the relative rarity of a woman with tattoos, the ever increasing Western influence on the country, or the prerequisite need to cover arms above the elbow and legs above the knee, but so far the consequences of being a tattooed woman in Qatar have been surprisingly minimal.
With more tattoos already planned, I can live with the questions, and I don’t even mind the staring…most of the time.

Luke Oakman Guests with Daryl Watson

Things&Ink contributor Maisie Manning and her boyfriend tattooist Luke Oakman travelled to Rock ‘n’ Roll Tattoo in Dundee recently, where Luke tattooed alongside Daryl Watson. Maisie documented their travels and chatted to Daryl about all things tattoo

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Luke tattooing Daryl

Nestled in a sleepy part of the country that founded BrewDog craft beer is Rock’n’Roll Tattoo and Piercing, – part of a chain that was founded in 2006 in Edinburgh, and has since expanded to have shops in Glasgow and Dundee, the latter being where tattoo artist Luke Oakman and I were, where Luke was guest artist for a busy few days. The guest spot came about when I messaged Daryl about getting a tattoo, to which he replied that he really loves Luke’s work, would like to do a tattoo trade and could sort out a few days of work for Luke. We managed to get everything arranged and it all came together nicely, leaving us ready for a few days in Scotland. Outside may have been rainy and dull, but inside is anything but, with resident artists Daryl Watson, Piotr Gie, Raf and Bart Janus focusing solely on custom work in a range of styles to suit a range of tattoo needs. Whilst staying in Dundee and spending a few days at the shop, I took the opportunity to ask Daryl a few questions.

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Daryl tattooing Luke

At just 22, Daryl Watson has an impressive tattoo collection, including his face (which he is intending to add to), and goes against every stereotype that could be thrown at him. Spending a few days with him, and through conversations, I discovered him to be a sweet, considerate guy, with a lot of ambition and high aspirations.

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Tattoo by Daryl

Originally from Teesside, neo traditional artist Daryl Watson, who recently exhibited a Kewpie in Miniature Ink II at the Atomica Gallery, found himself living in Dundee, after completing his apprenticeship in the Glasgow branch of Rock’n’Roll. From a young age, he was constantly drawing – encouragement from his artist dad, lead him to GCSE art and ultimately into a fine art degree. Daryl found that, for him, university wasn’t a place to evolve his style like he wanted, and felt too pressured to decide on a future career path. He had known from around the age of 13 that the art of tattooing interested him; this was around the time that his older brother started getting tattooed, which lead Daryl to start looking into tattoo artists. So after the first year of university, upon speaking to various people it was decided that he should embark on the journey to become a tattoo artist. He spent the next year building up his portfolio, before looking for an apprenticeship. Speaking of the first sleeve tattoo he completed, Daryl describes it as being his weirdest creation to date – he was given a lot of freedom, but also a lot of suggestions, which suited him fine. The whole sleeve consists of animals in costumes with accessories, including a monkey with a shirt, bowtie, braces in RayBan sunglasses.

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Tattoo by Daryl

Daryl’s love of antiques, animals and flowers permeates his work, and his love of antique shopping and visiting museums with his girlfriend, Roisin, is clear through both his unique sketches and tattoos. Taking inspiration from his favourite artists, who happen to be predominantly tattoo artists (although Daryl admits that a few illustrators interest him), including Eckel, Sneaky Mitch, Matt Adamson, Håkan Hävermark, Joe Frost and the artist he has always had a connection with artistically – Uncle A. Decorative frames, bejeweled animals and brightly coloured flowers are amongst his favourite things to draw – although he expressed a desire to tattoo more of a dark style, including crows, candles and death, along the same lines as the work of Eckel, as he doesn’t really get to do much – he gets given predominantly fairly ‘girly’ design ideas to work with, which although he enjoys, would like to branch out.

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Tattoo by Daryl

Our time at Rock’N’Roll tattoo was over too soon – everyone part of the R’N’R family was so accommodating and friendly, well worth a visit!

Fashion Pearls of Wisdom: Ink on the beach

Our guest blogger is Natalie McCreesh aka Pearl, a fashion lecturer, freelance writer and creator of Fashion Pearls of Wisdom. In this post she talks about the reactions she received from people while sunning herself on a beach…

This was to be my first beach holiday in years, I’d packed some vintage style bikinis and not much else envisioning long days spent in the sunshine. What I hadn’t foreseen was that with the bikinis would come the stares. I’m used to getting funny looks back home for my tattoos but I guess this was a lot closer to naked than I was used to being in public. I live in Sheffield which I’d say is a fairly tattooed city, seeing tattooed people isn’t all that unusual. On this two mile stretch of Spanish beach not so much. Sure there was the odd little tattoo but in the five days we spent there I only spotted two other heavily tattooed people. In a sea of exposed flesh mine stood out, together with my boyfriend we stood out even more.

It really made me stop and think, just seeing all that ink free skin how few of us actually choose to be tattooed. When you have tattooed friends, follow tattoo related Instagram accounts and so on it becomes the norm, you get used to seeing tattooed people. The beach line up was a bit of a reality check I guess. The stark realisation at how different you have decided to become. There is sexism in the stigma too, I could watch my boyfriend walk around with the odd glance but nothing compared to the reaction I got. Is it more acceptable, more normal to see tattooed men?

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One day after some holiday cocktails we found a stack of business cards for a local artist and took them to hand out to the gawkers – what can I say we find ourselves hilarious after a few piña coladas. A bonus is that parents with screaming kids would take one look at us, decide we were likely criminals and move further down the beach, win! Away from the beach at a restaurant (not wearing the bikini just to clarify) we were asked to move to a table furthest away from the crowd, the waiters plea that it was reserved didn’t wash as we promptly left for the place opposite and watched said table sit empty for over an hour. I caused quite a stir at the hotel for breakfast too in a backless dress- tattoos not ok, stealing the entire platter of chocolate croissants totally acceptable apparently.

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All I can summarise is that the behaviour of people is strange, Things&Ink’s Rosie wrote about her tattooed holiday experience in Vietnam and had various reactions. In some cultures staring isn’t considered rude and I don’t mind at all people looking at my tattoos, I just wish they could give a little smile to show its in a friendly way every now and again. That said it won’t stop me wearing a bikini on the beach!

Hevy Festival Diary 2015

Regarded as one of the best small festivals in the UK, Hevy Fest has come back better than ever from its 2013 cancellation. After a smaller but incredible affair in 2014 check out what happened when our music writer Amber Carnegie descended on Port Lympne for the diverse line up they whipped up for 2015. 

Thursday 14th of August

Shortly after arriving at Hevy, we soon realised that not only had we brought the wrong tent but that Camp Things & Ink was held together with worn out bamboo, wasn’t entirely waterproof and wouldn’t be around for long.

A fact we learned pretty quickly as the weekend started with some expected thunder and lightening. Lucky for us our lovely neighbours let us throw our belongings into their tents while we helped other drenched campers set up. We then escaped into the larger tents for a good wringing out.

Once we began to resemble ourselves again we headed into the arena to catch the rest of the acoustic stage. Sam Duckworth and Dave McPherson both incited sing-alongs to those who had survived the rain but it was the acoustic set from Jamie Lenman that nearly had us in tears. Reminiscent Reuben tracks like ‘Moving To Blackwater’ and ‘Let’s Stop Hanging Out’ really hit the tone for all of those brought to Hevy this year. Dave McPherson also came back out to join Lenman for ‘I Ain’t Your Boy’ that brought together the camaraderie that you cannot miss at Hevy.

Friday 15th of August

Luke keeping up the caffeine at Hevy

After we assessed Thursday’s damage and sought out breakfast we ventured into the Port Lympne Wild Animal Park. A portion of each ticket sold for Hevy goes towards The Aspinall Foundation, to help protect endangered species, and where possible return them back to the wild. With little else to do before the bands start in the afternoon it’s amazing that you are able to wonder around the park free of charge. You can also pick up an actual meal or even some Kentish Cider if you fancy it.

If that didn’t wake you up, Continents had the task of kicking off the festival from the Main Stage. Despite pretty much baking in the arena the sounds of their upcoming album got people moving and early tracks like ‘Pegasus Pegasus’ began decimating the grass in front of the stage.  There is always a place at Hevy for instrumental, post rock bands and Chon certainly proved why. Chon bring movements between the stages to a stand still with riffs that mirror vocal chords in incredible succession. Closing with ‘Perfect Pillow’ with a guitar sequence that will be riddled in your brain for weeks. We highly recommend you check them out.

Even if you’re not into it, Hacktivist certainly got the Hevy party going. If they didn’t have you with ‘Djent In Paris’ then they had us in crowd peer pressure of waving hands to ‘False Idols’. We didn’t know the words but we soon picked them up before we headed to the Third Stage where Heck were destined to make us double check we all still had our limbs. What we were not expecting is the band formally known as Baby Godzilla to induce a stage wide floorshow with the audience as props. Tracks we’d never heard before had the crowd in a frenzy and if you didn’t feel the need to sing along, you’re probably broken inside.

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Heck At Hevy

We headed back to the Main Stage for Touché Amore for a completely different feel, the band brought this closer environment as the crowd reached over desperate to shout lyrics. This amazing wave of post-hardcore has this insane ability to unify emotions that were once overlooked or hidden. To have witnessed this at Hevy within a crowd all clearly in touch with every word was striking and completely epitomises Hevy and the love and respect everyone has for the music and its abilities there.

Once we’d all pulled ourselves back together and the iconic intro to ‘Bloodmeat’ kicked in we knew we were in the midst of Protest The Hero. Wilding riffs and lungs you will never quite believe from Rody Walker. With his renowned anecdotes dropping momentum it allowed us a chance to breathe before winding back up into techy sequences and guitars that lick through ‘Clarity’ to see the blur in front of the stage give it one last go.

The Dillinger Escape Plan then called out the sunset with the most unnatural spasms their bodies could muster with ‘Prancer’ opening up the set and the ground. ‘Milk Lizard’s grooving rhythms had us more inclined to dance than to thrash about as the band seemed more and more determined fracture themselves. Although we’ve come to expect this self inflected battering while remaining indefinably tight it’s exceptional to witness every time.

The Dillinger Escape Plan @ Hevy

The Dillinger Escape Plan At Hevy

The iconic opening riff to ‘43% Burnt’ ensued madness immediately and carried through to ‘Panasonic Youth’. The crowd completely lost their shit when vocalist Greg Puciato dove into the crowd for ‘Farewell Mona Lisa’ only to immerse back on stage as bodies flung for ‘When I Lost My Bet’. With no time we legged it over to catch the end of Fightstar’s delayed set, seven strings and all. With a feral tent that proved that Fightstar could have headlined a bigger stage they tore out their new track ‘Animal’ with a new synth sound before nailing out titans tracks like ‘Deathcar’ and their first single ‘Palahniuk’s Laughter’. As we held each other up in the swarming stage it was so reminiscent of our swinging emo fringe days that we couldn’t thank Hevy enough for putting something so awesome together.

Coheed And Cambria closed Friday’s live music by playing ‘In Keeping Secrets Of Silent Earth: 3’ in its entirety. Coheed are incomparable, the album a spectacle in itself and it didn’t stop with the album. The encore saw their latest track ‘You’ve Got Spirit Kid’ carry away the audience as the eminent ‘Welcome Home’ took over Port Lympne to show that Hevy is well and truly back.

Saturday 15th of August

Despite some technical hitches the crowd spurred Milk Teeth in some of the freshest sounds that hit Hevy. Their grunge punk rock is something not to be missed and we can’t wait to see them live again. We were then allured into a doomy tent where Hang The Bastard had incited the slugging, aching head-bangs through layers of smoke. And then as if our eyes were deceiving us (they weren’t) a fluorescent pink two piece with a triangle found its way around the Second Stage for HORSE The Band.

HORSE The Band @ Hevy

HORSE The Band at Hevy

If you had never had the pleasuring of witnessing these guys before Hevy you were certainly in for a treat. Their sweet set of insanity blew Saturday up only to be followed by The Fall Of Troy on Main Stage. They were the second band of the weekend to play an album in full so when ‘Doppelganger’ kicked off we knew were in for unchartered territory. Within the first track they were a band we regretted never getting into. Impeccable guitar work with catchy rhythms had  us all dancing. For an album played on its ten year anniversary The Fall Of Troy not only kept everything so incredibly tight but probably gained a lot of fans who wished they tuned in a long time ago.

The Get Up Kids then followed in full album suit, and although it was now getting slightly tiring it is amazing to see so many albums still have the ability to pull in such crowds. ‘Something To Write Home About’ saw people singing word for word with ‘I’ll Catch You’ holding a quiet moment over the main stage as the album closed.

Thrice At Hevy

Thrice at Hevy

Headliners Thrice come together like they have never been away. Every track fell into the next and just the intro to ‘Of Dust And Nations’ sparked frenzy. With a varied set list that saw ‘The Artist In The Ambulance’ and ‘Deadbolt’ take off as if it was the early 00’s again the entire campsite was gathered around the Main Stage.

As they closed on 2011’s ‘Anthology’ we couldn’t quite believe that it was over for another year. Hevy have brought us bands in their revival that we could have never expected, what’s for 2016 Hevy?

Did you go to Hevy Fest? What did you think?

Festival Tips

Our music writer Amber Carnegie gives you her top tips for surviving festival season… alongside photos from her own festivalling experiences… 

So when it comes to festival essentials, you’ve probably already got the tent down – and hopefully your ticket – but what about those added extras that could stop you making those fatal festival virgin errors? Read on, so you don’t end up stranded, hungover and soaking this summer…

 

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Groezrock at sunset

Keep Those Toes Dry (and safe)

If you’re festivalling in the UK, you should never expect sun for the entire festival. You can wear wellies to keep those toes dry, but to keep them warm and safe when in a mosh pit you should really invest in a pair of Dr Martens. When you’re jumping around a field and everyone else is basically wearing  rubber socks, your toes will be toasty… you’ll have made every single penny spent on those DMs back.

Keep Connected (that doesn’t always mean an Insta selfie)

If you still have your good old brick phone, I suggest taking that with you to use – it shouldn’t need charging the whole time you’re there (remember the days of phones lasting three days on one charge?!). But if you’re uber-trendy and like to use social media to organise your whereabouts, invest in a portable charger. Although most festivals have power banks to charge up, this is a quicker cheaper version that you can carry in your handbag… You can pick them up online for under a fiver and they let you cling on to every last per cent of that extra charge.

Carb Up (and keep up)

You are entering a world of overpriced food, so it’s better to be prepared and carb up for those all-day drinking sessions, rather than spend all of your money on chips that add up to more than the cost of your ticket. Cereal bars, crisps and my all-time favourite brioche aren’t going to leak or spill anywhere and will keep you going while you pound your liver.

 

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ArcTanGent

Keep Clean (you don’t always need to shower)

In a field with sweaty bodies and portable loos, hand sanitizer is going to be your best friend – do not let it leave your side. We know you’re roughing it, but no one wants to get poorly mid festival! Having your own loo roll is always a bonus and a wet wipe shower will never go a miss. And if that isn’t enough, don’t forget that typically aerosols are not allowed into the campsites so roll-on deodorant is a must. If dry shampoo is on the no list, pack a little bottle of talc to perk up your sopping mop.

Ear Plugs (your ears will thank us)

Ear plugs will not hinder the music and you will thank us when you can still hear those same tones decades from now. Getting a decent set of molded ear plugs could make all the difference.

Torch (this is a must-pack item)

Weaving through tents in the dark may make you feel like a naff spy navigating a laser maze, but the second you trip on a rope and fall into a tent you won’t be making any festival friends. A torch will help you locate your tent and may even help you find the right end of your sleeping bag.

 

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Hevy Fest

Safety First (always)

Aside from the one person in every group who has the whole first aid kit with them, you probably want to make sure you’ve got your own supply of pain killers, plasters and even a few Berocca to help that hangover taste a bit better. You also don’t want to wake up to find a stranger spooning you and feel that instant pang of fear. Pack a few condoms and don’t let yourself get caught out.

And if the sun does come out… remember to protect those tattoos, which you’ve spent your life collecting, with some decent sun cream. And never let yourself get dehydrated. Sunstroke is not fun, so do not forget to drink water. You can push through a hangover but paying to miss bands is never fun.

Duct Tape

Because you never know when duct tape might just save the day… you’ll just have to trust us on this one…

What festivals are you going to? And will you be taking any of Amber’s essentials?