Living in America isn’t as painful as England

I’ve already posted about medication in the US, and I’m sure I’ll post again about it in the future, but here’s an easy to swallow entry (cue pervert smile).

Take a look at this.


Do you see how many there are in this container?  Yes, that’s right; FIVE hundred tablets.  That’s enough for 250 headaches!

And this wasn’t the largest; they also come in 1000s!

This is awesome!

Now, to my American friends and family this may seem normal, but in the UK the largest quantity of Ibuprofen you can get is 24.

Yes, twenty four.

pills uk

This ISN’T awesome.  If anything, it’s Awe-less.  It’s lacking awe in every possible way.

Most UK brands will max out at 16 tablets per pack, but there are a couple of chemists (or ‘pharmacies’ as they call them over here) that stock them in packs of 24 if you’re lucky enough to find them.

In fact, most shops, supermarkets and chemists will limit your purchase to two packs in one transaction.  I assume this is so you don’t have the means readily available to top yourself if the shitty weather (or T.O.W.I.E.*) gets too much for you.

Wow,you REALLY have to mean it in England.

In fact, to successfully overdose in England you’d have to buy over 20 packets, via multiple transactions, across several different establishments whilst adopting various disguises and questionable accents.

That is a serious commitment to the cause.

Alternatively you can just ask a friend to help buy them.

Mind you, if a friend is willing to help you AND you’ve had to undergo all that pissing about getting the tablets, you will probably want to end it all anyway.

At least you’ll have a valid reason.

At least in America you have the opportunity to be spontaneous.  You can be all dramatic and end it all if they give you soy milk in your Starbucks venti, half-whole milk, one quarter 1%, one quarter non-fat, extra hot, split quad shots (1 1/2 shots decaf, 2 1/2 shots regular), no foam latte, with whip, 2 packets of splenda, 1 sugar in the raw, a touch of vanilla syrup and 3 short sprinkles of cinnamon.

Phew, just reading that gives me a headache.

249 remaining.

jesus headache

* ‘The Only Way Is Essex’ – a TV show about useless ‘dumb-as-a-bag-of-rocks’ fuckwits doing nothing and yet somehow becoming role models for the younger generation; a lot like ‘Jersey Shore’ in the US, only twice as stupid.

Getting under my skin

Following a tattoo session earlier in the week I’ve been wearing Bepanthen (nappy rash cream) and cling film on my arm for the last few days.

Not the most comfortable of attire.

Well, today is Friday which means the dress code policy at work is relaxed, so I’m in a t-shirt.

cling film arm

As a result, people have noticed my arm is trussed up in cling film. This has led to an exercise in stating the bleeding obvious.

“Your arm is in cling film.”

“You’ve had another tattoo.”

No shit.

But in all honesty, I’m not being fair.  Of course I’m aware my arm resembles a beef joint in the fridge; it’s just a typical way for them to start a conversation about it; one I can’t wait to have, over and over again.

The conversation always starts with:

“What have you had done?  Can I see it?”

Sure, no problem.  Let me cut away the strategically placed tape and peel off all the cling film that took ages to put on this morning with one arm so you can see it and say “Oh, right. Cool”.

Maybe I should reply with “You’re wearing make-up.  Can I see what you look like underneath?”

Maybe not.

I attempt to show them through the layers of cling film which looks like a black and grey Jackson Pollock and I still get the “Oh, right. Cool”, so that’s good.  Then the conversation moves on to include one or more of the following:

“What does it / they mean?”

Unfortunately this is unavoidable.  After all, I have two full sleeves on display.  To me, tattoos are not about how they look or because it’s ‘cool’, they’re very personal and they all have meanings no matter how small.  I choose my tattoos carefully because I’m going to have them for a very long time.

So am I going to disclose everything to just anyone?  No.  I have my life on my sleeve, not my heart.

If it’s a close friend or a family member, I’ll talk them through every line and every detail, but to everyone else I tend to glaze over the question with “Oh all sorts of things”.

This is because I know that, deep down, they’re keen to move onto the next question.

“Did it hurt?”

No, it was like being licked by kittens.

This question is not to be confused with “Do they hurt?”, which is a dead giveaway of a person who doesn’t have tattoos.  These ink virgins then follow up with:

“I don’t like needles.”, and/or “I couldn’t have a tattoo.”.

Well, I don’t like needles either.  It’s not the same thing.  Having a tattoo feels similar to a hot scratch across the skin whereas a needle feels like you’re being punctured right to your very soul.

hate needles tattoo


And, why couldn’t you have a tattoo?  Of course you can.  Just sit in a chair and get one.

I believe you meant to say you WOULDN’T have a tattoo, which is different.  I’m assuming this is because you fear the pain, or is it because you simply don’t like or agree with them?  For your sake I hope it’s the former because, as you may have noticed, I have a few tattoos and you’ll likely offend me (despite the fact I look like I bite the heads off kittens to you).

Then comes the classic “What about when you’re 70 years old?”

What about it?  When I’m 70 years old I’m going to:

  • Be awesome
  • Not give a shit about how I look.
  • Be surrounded by a generation of other 70 year olds also covered in tattoos.

Don’t base your judgement on the elder generation of today with their tweed jackets and flat caps.  When I’m 70 I will be part of a generation of old farts covered in tattoos and all sorts of piercings, punctures, modifications and randomly positioned flesh holes.  If anything it’ll be YOU who will stand out.

“Look dad, that old man over there is a funny pink colour!”

“That’s called skin, son”

old tattoo dudes

Having said all this, a majority of the time I get drawn into a conversation about the tattoo(s) they’re planning to have.

With women it’s usually a flower, or writing, or a butterfly, or their name located either on the wrist, hip, lower back (*cough* tramp stamp *cough*), foot or behind their shoulder.

Oh, and stars.  There’s always room for stars.

With guys it’s ALWAYS the upper arm and usually over the shoulder.  They demonstrate what they mean by running their hand along their upper arm and over their shoulder as they describe it to me, just in case I don’t understand what the upper arm and over the shoulder means, despite BOTH of my sleeves covering my entire arm and going over my shoulder.

On top of this it’s usually tribal, or a dragon, or stars (again), or a Koi fish with Japanese waves, lotus flowers, cherry blossom and clouds.  Fucking clouds.  Fucking mashed potato clouds.

I once saw a guy on the tube with a whole sleeve made up of stars and fucking clouds.


Why?  Was he a meteorologist?

I doubt it.

Even if he was, at least choose something a little more imaginative like rain and meteors and comets and hurricanes and tidal waves.

That would be awesome!

Nope, “clouds and stars please”.

The famous tattooist Kat Von D has this quote on the sleeve of her first book:

“I am a canvas of my experiences, my story is etched in lines and shading, and you can read it on my arms, my legs, my shoulders, and my stomach.”

Or, if you’re just eager to get a sleeve to look cool, have clouds and stars.

What a waste of your body’s real estate.

In addition to all this, I sometimes get asked advice on designs and ideas.  I’m happy to do this, but I usually find that as soon I start showing them where to look online for great ideas and inspiration, they suddenly know better and disagree with and/or reject everything I suggest.

Not enough stars maybe?

Sometimes they insist on showing me the online portfolio of the tattooist they’ve chosen.

Sometimes these tattooists look like they use an Etch-A-Sketch.

But they seem excited, so I play along.  I then show them the portfolio of my tattooist in the hope they’ll see the difference between them.  They don’t.

In fact, they often suggest I try their tattooist instead; a tattooist they haven’t even used themselves rather than the amazing artist I’ve been going to for 10 years.

Yeah, that’ll happen.

After all said and done, tattoos aren’t for everyone.

The one thing that some people (especially tattoo virgins) can’t comprehend is how much it costs to get a tattoo.  These are the people that will have no problem buying an expensive LED 1080p 3D Smart TV which may last them 5 years or so.  My tattoos will be with me forever.

THAT’S value for money.

And when I’m asked “Don’t you ever regret having them?”, I look the person in the eye and say:

“When you die you can’t take your money, your house, your TV, your car or any of your things with you; someone else gets all of that.  My tattoos are mine.  I’m taking those and my memories with me.”


“Fuck off”

Depends on my mood.

No feign, no gain….apparently.

Watching the world cup games, I’ve noticed something…

Whenever a football player goes down, they’re always clutching their face.

Hurt leg? Clutch face.
Pushed over? Clutch face.
Pulled shirt? Clutch face.

I’ll give you a reason to clutch your face, you overpaid prancing pricks.


Phuk Mi

Today I got to experience my first Thai massage during a short stay in sunny Los Angeles, and the word ‘experience’ is definitely a word to describe it.

My Fiancée and I walked into the massage parlour and the smell of incense, coupled with the generic plinky plonky music playing in the background went some way towards relaxing us and making us feel welcome.

This is going to be great!

The friendly little old Thai guy behind the counter asked us if we wanted a Swedish massage in addition to our deep tissue massage.

Nah. We were just looking forward to our relaxing massage that had come with the hotel package we’d booked.

He smiled and showed us to our individual dimly lit rooms which were side by side. I say ‘rooms’, but they were more like huge cubicles without a ceiling and a curtain where the door should be. I was asked to strip down to my boxers and lie on the big comfy massage bed, face down.

No problem. This is going to be great!

I promptly stripped down and laid on my front, with my face resting in the hole designed for faces to rest in. It resembled a paper vagina. I’m not lying.

It was at this point I heard the friendly Thai gentleman say to my Fiancée in the next ‘room’ that I was a “big man” and asked if I was strong too. She said I was very strong. I must admit I felt a little smug and butch hearing this.

After a couple of minutes I heard the curtains swoosh open and a soft voice greet me. It was my masseuse; a small little Thai girl no older than about 23. She told me to relax as she turned up the volume of the plinky plonky music, swooshed the curtains closed and placed her small delicate hands on my right calf.

This is going to be….ow! What the fuck?? OW!!

Holy shit!!
What is happening?
Why is she hurting me??
HOW is she hurting me???
She’s tiny!!!!

It was a pain I can’t convey in words alone, but let me say it was like having my muscles put through a pasta machine on the thinnest setting whilst being stamped on by an elephant wearing stiletto heels. At least I think that’s what it felt like; I may have passed out.

But I didn’t dare whimper or complain because this was a birthday gift from my American beloved and I didn’t want to be the soft Brit who couldn’t handle a simple Thai massage. This was clearly something that was common place in California, like dentistry without anaesthetic or being shot in the head.

So I laid there whilst this young girl gave me a deep tissue massage that actually bordered on domestic abuse, holding my breath and dribbling. At least I now know why the flooring was laminate.

After about 10 minutes of abuse on my calves and back muscles (that I didn’t know I had), my killer, er, I mean my masseuse told me to “rerax”.

Relax? Are you shitting me? That’s like telling an angry woman to calm down. Not happening.

She asked me if I was ok, to which I replied through dribble and tears, “My god you are freakishly strong!”

She giggled like a small child. There’s no way this petite little thing was responsible for the pain and suffering my legs and back had taken. I swear that when she moved out of my line of sight she traded places with a massive Thai wrestler with massive Thai wrestler hands. It was the only explanation.

It was at this point I heard laughter from my fiancée’s room and the room the other side of me. It seemed my comment had hit a chord with the other torture victims.

After a few seconds of ‘reraxing’ she started again, only this time she stood on me. I’d seen this in movies and thought it would feel nice; I was wrong. I thought her hands were strong but they were nothing compared to her feet. Oh how soothing her heels felt with her entire weight behind them.

Wait; is that blood on the floor? I thought I was simply weeping tears. Clearly I was wrong.

Why does this girl hate me so much?

I was desperately trying not to make any noises that would indicate my suffering, like crying or asking for my mum, when I heard a faint whimpering and the occasional “ow!” from the next ‘room’. It seemed my fiancée was suffering too.


Honestly, it has to be one of the most slowly painful experiences of my life, and I’ve endured hours under the tattoo needle! She prodded, poked and stretched me to within an inch of my life, using her hands, feet, elbows and knees. The worst moments were when I realised, after having completely destroyed an arm or leg, that she was about to do the same to its counterpart.

She made me wish I had fewer limbs.

At the end of the hour long ordeal she sat me up and asked how I was feeling. I looked her in the eye and said “I feel like I’ve been beaten up in slow motion”.

She laughed and left.

My fiancée and I walked out of there in utter disbelief, laughing at the fact we just allowed ourselves to have the shit gently kicked out of us.

Well, I say ‘walked’….