Tagged: Zoe Tattoo Essex

Alex and Zoe Binnie – the tattooed love story

Ever wondered how one tattoo artist proposes to another?
Read on to find out. Here is the love story of Alex and Zoe Binnie… 

Zoe and Alex Binnie
Zoe and Alex Binnie

How did you meet?

Zoe: He was tattooing Mo Coppoletta and I came into the shop to bring something in for Mo on my way to work – I worked in a bar at the time. And we just sat down and had a little chat while he was working.
Alex: And I really fancied her and this was, what, 12 years ago. I thought there was something about her I really like, a lot, so…a couple of years later, I found her number and called her – I didn’t ask her out on a date, I offered her a job. I thought that was the best way of getting her in my life. I said we needed someone to be our glamorous new receptionist and desk girl.
Zoe: And he said under no circumstances is this an apprenticeship, so don’t even think about it.
Alex: Is that what I said?
Zoe: Yep, don’t even think about it. So I was like, fine OK and I accepted the offer and came to work for him.
Alex: (looks at Zoe) And actually you learned to tattoo in the shop a few years later…you terrible girl!
Both: And then…
Zoe: I left the shop.
Alex: with Miles – she ended up having a relationship with one of my guys, Miles. Which was fine, I was in a relationship myself and I had two young kids.  It was cool, I always loved her, but I didn’t need it to be consummated in that way – I was happy just having her around.
Zoe: Then I was away in Australia for about five or six years. Then I came back…
Alex: And we’d always kept in touch – as friends, of course.
Zoe: When I came back Miles and I had split up. And that was about a year and a half or two years ago now…and Alex and I went out for a few dinners, like we always used to, as friends…
Alex: Well, we went out for one dinner as friends and then it got a bit “not friendly”…
Zoe: it was weird…
Alex: We think the scales were lifted from our eyes at exactly the same time…
Zoe: He liked my new fringe…
Alex: It was a different fringe from this one. Obviously I like this fringe, too… Then, we were together and here we are. We’ve been together as a couple for a little over a year.

It was like the scales had been lifted from our eyes
It was like the scales had been lifted from our eyes

So when did you propose?

Zoe: Valentine’s day.
Alex: Yep I proposed on Valentine’s day.
Zoe: It’s a very romantic story.
Alex: Go on, you tell it then.
Zoe: I was working and Alex was in Brighton – doing what I’m not sure…
Alex: I was busy.
Zoe: He told me he couldn’t come to see me and he was like “You don’t care about Valentine’s day anyway, do you?” and I was like “No, of course not…it’s fine, it doesn’t matter”. He got flowers sent to the shop during the day, saying really sorry he couldn’t be with me. I was like “awww that’s nice”. Then I went home and I was making dinner with my flat mate and I got a phone call from Into You London (Alex’s shop) and it was Alex. I said, “What are you doing in London?” and he said “Babes, you didn’t think I’d really miss Valentine’s day, did you?” He’d booked a table to ‘our’ restaurant – the one where the scales had been lifted from our eyes. He said he would be there at nine, so I only had half an hour to quickly get dressed and get there. I got there and went to sit down and his hat was on the chair. I lifted the hat up and there was a big, sort of diamond and Alex said it was a taste of things to come. I was just like fine, whatever, thanks and I sat down.
Alex: And then I told her she had to come outside, as I had something to show her.
Zoe: And he was checking his nails every five minutes and looking nervous…and as he lead me outside I saw he had a little box in his hand. I was like oh my god, oh my god – I think I know what’s going to happen. Then when we were outside he got down on two knees – he has a dodgy knee – and he lifted up his shirt and he had ‘marry me’ tattooed on his chest. He said “Darling, will you marry me?” And I said “of course, yes”. Then, he said he didn’t have a ring yet, but he had picked a diamond.
Alex: I did have the diamond with me.

Marry me?

Zoe: And then we went back inside, so I could have a look at the diamond. And of course the next day, I went and got the ‘yes’ tattooed on me… then in two months’ time I will be (scary voice) Mrs Binnie.
Alex: (in scary voice) Yes Mrs Biiiinnnie…


 So do you two ever tattoo each other?

Alex: Yeah we have.
Zoe: (Looks at Alex) I am supposed to be tattooing you at some point soon.
Alex: I have to admit, I find it a bit difficult to tattoo her now, as I don’t want to hurt her.  (Looks at Zoe) I don’t want to hurt you babe.
Zoe: And then you’d have to stare at it every night.
Alex: It’s tricky, there’s too much stuff going on, as the great Hanky Panky (Henk Shiffmacher) said you should probably never tattoo your other half. It can be weird, but who knows I might tattoo her again one day.

Sealed with a kiss - how romantic

So there it goes, the tale of two love-struck tattoo artists – how they found love and how he proposed to her. 

This interview took place at the London Tattoo Convention in September 2011 and the couple wed at the end of that year, massive congratulations to you both. Check out my tattoo film series, filmed with Papercut Pictures for Zeitgeist, with lots of other artists (including the infamous Mr Binnie) talking about their craft at the convention. The London Tattoo Convention film series.

Visit Alex’s website alexbinnie.com
Zoe now works at Cult Classic Tattoo