Hit & Run: Tattoos - so in they're out

There are moments in the evolution of all forms of art when the rulebook gets shredded. At such times, style and subtlety get subsumed in the rush to conform. Taking part is all that counts.

Something similar is happening just now to tattoos: far from being the preserve of veteran seamen, yakuza bosses and an assortment of insecure amateurs (why else would Samantha Cameron have a dolphin on her ankle?), colourful body art is suddenly afflicted with that terrible curse, ubiquity.

At the weekend Peaches Geldof, rock offspring and magazine editor, was photographed on the beach showing off an array of "inks" across her young body. An emerald daisy chain climbs from above her left knee to just below her left breast. The words "Ex Valentine" adorn her left shoulder; four lines from Nick Cave's song Into My Arms dress the lower ridge of her back; a peace dove dives into her lower stomach; and the name of her magazine, Disappear Here, is etched into her arm.

Some might say her tattoos have all the aesthetic sophistication of doodles in the margin of a schoolgirl's exercise book, but Peaches doesn't care. She describes them as "my new addiction", and has something close to 20 designs.

Other celebrities are also suffering from the same compulsion. The men tend to use them to compensate for receding musculature. The basketball player Dennis Rodman is painted with stars, crosses, horse heads and much else; Sylvester Stallone's right biceps and shoulder are adorned with a female face in all the colours of the rainbow.

Most troubling is the tendency to use skin as a blank page for literary quotations or the promotion of inter-cultural dialogue. The sex symbol and occasional actress Megan Fox has engraved across the back of her right shoulder, "We will all laugh at gilded butterflies", which sounds like a pre-pubescent Coleridge on his first hit of opium (in fact it's King Lear). Mike Tyson's face advertises a Maori warrior symbol. Angelina Jolie has the latitude and longitude of her children's births on her left arm. One wonders what will happen when she has more children than skin cells – an impending reality. Amy Winehouse, meanwhile, has pictures of naked ladies, and her soon-to-be ex husband's name.

According to the experts, it's not so much the design you choose but where on your body it's placed that really counts. By drawing all over her stomach and legs, Peaches is trying to prove she's fully committed to the rebellious spirit of a rock offspring.

But Tiffany Goodman, of the tattoo parlour Evil From the Needle in Camden, north London (where Simon Pegg has been inked), says that most clients are satisfied with a more diminutive design. "Cheryl Cole's got a tribal tattoo on the side of her hand, and we're getting requests for that. It's annoying because that's a bad place to get tattooed, and the design comes off and looks awful."

Goodman reports that Arabic is the foreign script du jour and that girls currently want clusters of stars, which are "very Posh Spice and Jordan". Other popular requests include "names of boyfriends or girlfriends on the inside of the wrist".

Is the only choice between soppy slogans and scratchy-looking flowers? We've helpfully airbrushed out Peaches' tattoos in one picture so you can sketch in your own ideas. Let your imagination run wild! Amol Rajan

How to warm up for Wintour

Wanted: two assistants to attend to an editor's every whim. Must be smart, well educated, and willing to withstand, in fact enjoy, rhinoceros-strength abuse every minute of the day. GSOH not necessary, but they must be thin and gorgeous.

This isn't the official job description for the role of flunkey to the American Vogue editor, Anna Wintour, who is on the hunt for not one but two new assistants, but, if we are to believe the bestselling book and film The Devil Wears Prada, penned by a former Wintour PA, these qualities are not far from the truth.

In 2005 I worked at American Vogue for several months and I'd like to offer prospective applicants some tips.

Heels On the Vogue floor, it's a felony to wear a heel of less than four inches and the ability to sprint around the office (and indeed Manhattan, even in a minus-11 blizzard) while wearing said shoes should be one of your core skills.

Outfit Be prepared to be eyeballed at every turn by absolutely everybody. Even the mailman. Be ready to recite the names of each and every designer that you're wearing. If it's vintage, make sure you know which year.

Working hours More elastic than a Herve Leger bandage dress. Be prepared to get a call at any time of the day or night, and if you are summoned to office or private residence make sure you apply the outfit rules as above.

Company cars An ability to leave your conscience at the door helps when you're asked to arrange for a limousine to drive turkey sausages from one end of the city to the other.

Discretion Never reveal all in a blockbuster roman à clef.

And finally... Interns are routinely warned not to make eye contact with Ms Wintour, which seems like the weirdest thing ever. But then you meet her and (whisper it), she's not really scary at all. Amy Oliver

Extraterrestrial Oscars

Is the new Oscars trailer meant to be funny? We assume not, since the Academy tried funny last year, when it hired Daily Show maestro Jon Stewart as host, and then watched viewing figures plummet. This year, it's advertising with a straight face, and Boyz N' the Hood director John Singleton has produced a 30-second spot of such jokeless gravitas that it's hard not to laugh anyway.

"When anything is possible," booms the voiceover (oh, how we rue the passing of Don LaFontaine, gravel-larynxed king of the trailer voiceover, last September), "we can all dare to dream. From country to country, cast to coast, in an event so big you can even see it from space: celebrate the movies that celebrate the times. The Oscars!" Tim Walker

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Project Manager (HR)- Bristol - Upto £400 p/day

£350 - £400 per annum + competitive: Orgtel: Project Manager (specializing in ...

HR Business Partner (Maternity Cover 12 Months)

£30000 - £34000 Per Annum 25 days holiday, Private healthcare: Clearwater Peop...

Project Manager (Procurement & Human Resources)

Unpaid: Cancer Research UK: If you’re a professional in project management, lo...

Geography Teacher

£85 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: We require a teacher of Geogr...

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices