It all started five days ago.

I was sitting in my office, aka, a local cafe, where a man walked in and sat beside me.  I live in a pretty … trendy? area, so it’s not uncommon to see some whacky people come by.  But this guy wasn’t your ordinary weirdo; he had quite evidently taken it a step or five further than that.

And I say this because he was completely covered in tattoos.  Face and all.


Meet Joe.  Joe Munroe.

Naturally, when I see someone who walks around saying, fuck you society, I’m going to make myself totally unemployable, I think that this person is either a) a complete and utter loony tune (not for the indirect way of sticking it to the man – I quite respect that – but just because, well, they’re covered in tattoos).  Or, b) beyond words for awesome.

Whatever was to be the case, I had to say hello!

After a few minutes of musing on which category I thought he’d fall into, you know, to determine the best method of approach – sometimes you’ve got to be a bit more sensitive with the genuine crazies – my mind was put to ease when he pulled out a MacBook Air and was observably extra delightful while chatting to the barista’s.

All things were pointing to category (b).

But then the question became, how am I going to open a dialogue?

Just kidding.  I talk to complete strangers all the time.  This would be easy.

Here’s (roughly) how it went:

“Hey, dude.  How long did all those tatts take?”

“Hey man.  Oh, an ongoing seven years or so.” He laughed.

“They look awesome, man.”

“Thanks.  You got any yourself?”

“No, none actually.”  

“How come?”

“Well, I’m afraid of commitment.” (I’m so funny, hey?)  “ And, I’m a student; they’re expensive.  So, yeah.”

“Yeah man, me too,” he laughed.  “This is how I think about tatts, man.  You know how your self is always changing, like, physically and mentally?” He asked.  I nodded.

“Yeah, well, you decided to get that specific tatt, at that specific time.  So it represents how you were feeling then.  It’s just the ink that’s permanent.  The meaning’s always going to change … that’s why you just get more tatts.” 

As soon as he said this, I knew we’d get along like a house on fire … (what the hell does that expression mean?)

Anyway, we started chit chatting about life and general stuff for a little while.  Then he, Joe, told me that he’d be in Melbourne until November, and that if I wanted to take a dive into permanently inky waters, to be in touch.

Now, the other week I was actively looking for a place to stain my skin, but something simply didn’t feel right.  I can’t explain why, really.  There was just something that felt off.  Actually, I know what it was.  The whole process felt kind of contrived.  There’s something about tattoo parlous that reeks of haughty gin; almost like the polar opposite of an investment banker’s office.

To the contrary, here was an incredibly sincere guy who loved what he did and who shared many of my core,  nitty gritty (and rather outlandish) beliefs.  I figured this was the sign I was waiting for pause for effect that I should just roll with it and not question myself.  That I should sieze the day, take a leap of faith and say yes, YES, and yes pause for crickets?

So I did.

Without taking another second hostage, I sent him a text to see if he was free the following Monday.

He was.

We set up a time to meet, and then before I could say humbug-jam-thank-you-mam-alakabam, lo and behold, I was inked.

Here’s a photo.

Taken this Monday.  Still puffed up.

I know that you (potential reader person) may be wondering what the significance is, if there is any at all.  Well …

In the words of Stephen Fry, I’m an upy, downy, mood swingy kinda guy.  I wanted something to remind me that, while my heart is beating, my life will always be filled with utterly transcendent ups and earth shatteringly low downs: it’s a genetic thing.

And I put it on my left arm because sometimes, you’ve just got to suck it up and face the highs and the lows like an awkward chicken.  Also, the gap in the middle isn’t there just because that’s how heart rate monitors look, it’s there because I’m not exactly sure what’ll come after this conscious experience I’m having here on planet Albatron, aka, earth.  It’s there to remind me that I’ve only got one chance at this life thing.  And, well, to keep me in line and make sure I don’t do anything obscenely stupid to cut it short.

Anyway, that’s the story of my first tattoo.

Oh, and also, if you want to check his work out, visit:

He really is an ultra friendly slash approachable slash generally incredible guy.  And he travels a lot.  So who knows, maybe you’ll one day cross paths and make your own non-transient memories?

No, he’s not a nazi. Do your research.

Humans-permanently-paint-themselves.  And that’s weird.  But fucking cool.

Join the conversation! 33 Comments

  1. humans have permanently painted themselves for eons. I would not get a tat, but only because I’m a big baby. He has obviously a lot of stories to tell with his tattoos and thats just awesome.

  2. It’s addicting, is it not? I love your tattoo and that you thought about it. And I love what the guy said about their meaning always changing.

    Ironically enough, I’ve been working on a post of my two most favorite tattoos and the stories behind them that make them incredible. I’m saving up money for cover ups of my less stellar tattoo choices…

    Did you enjoy the experience?

    • Thanks! If there’s anything I know I can do, it’s think about things.

      And yeah, like me fingertips said, he’s a real delightful guy. So it was kind of just like having a coffee (we had coffee) with a new friend. Oh, and, well, with a bit of extra pain. haha. Not too much though.

  3. So permanent. An inescapable way to document the highs and lows.

  4. I genuinely like that tattoo. Cool placement, cooler story. I can’t commit to a tattoo but if I did I would see your friend Joe 🙂 I like the idea that the significance can change.

    • Hello again, alive one. We are almost having a conversation. Splendid!

      And thanks again, I’m indeed very happy with it. And yes, I do recommend that if you do decide to take the plunge, to be in touch wit him, just in case he’s around your area. You won’t at all regret it. Bah! Have no regrets. Generally. They’re unnecessary.

  5. He’s the most approachable looking tattoed guy I’ve ever seen even if he’s covered o_o!

  6. That is so awesome. He seems to be really cool and what-not. I love how he was able to join all those tats to make it look like a coherent whole. Also loved yours; It was very daring of you, human.

  7. Thanks cat. It’s funny, cause it didn’t feel like a big deal at all. I was expecting that it would. Whadayaknow!

  8. I have known joe for many years now and am pleased for you to have stumbled across this creation of man, hes one of my most thought provoking friends i know and constantly has me thinking of what can be.

    I always refer to him on topics of outlandish behaviours of people i know, and often have to quote ” but dont let the tatts put you off” .

    I had the pleasure of knowing joe from our jollyboys outing to boxing events to some of my first tatts he is an ever changing bieng and knowledgable beyond my trail of thought.
    His journeys across the world have ensured he constantly grows as a person and leaves a trail of “actually that guy covered in tattoos is alright” and more often than not are left with permanant gifts of their encounters of this decorated man.

  9. And the inked and meek shall inherit the earth! Loved this post. Please take a look at my blogs: and

  10. Nice one! It’s like your heart’s beating for all to see. Sort of reminds me of that movie (forgot the title) starring Justin Timberlake in which every human wears the amount of time they’re left on this earth. If only that tattoo’s neon green & under the skin and fluctuates accordingly…tat’d be too cool! Haha!

  11. I can totally 100% confirm what has been said on this blog, not only is joe a ulta friendlly dude, he is also a great role model and one clued up human being if you ever want a debate or just to be enlightened then you should have a chat with him; the detail and the angles he expresses for most subjects will blow your mind (he’s a pretty awsome brother too)

  12. yep he can hold a deep and meaningful conversation hes an awsome talented guy and I am totally proud of the way he looks hes unique hes my son

  13. I want to meet Joe! Send him to scotland! I have one tattoo, which I love, and have always thought about getting more but can’t think of anything with the significance of the first. I’ve seen some terrible ones, and I’m pretty cautious generally, so I may never go ahead with a second. But I love hearing the stories behind other people’s.

    • Well, Suzie, he’s British, so he’ll eventually end up somewhere pretty close to you. (Scotland’s near England, right?) You could make it a day trip? Ergh, my general geography is less accurate than a virgin. Hmm, I question what I write sometimes. But dislike using the delete button unless it’s to clear up grammatical shitsniffs.

      • Theres a guy called cammy stewart in scotland who is another awsome tattooest add him on facebook suzie and talk to him he is very good friends of joe and there styles simular

  14. So awesome! Have you ever heard that once you get a tattoo you can’t just have one?
    Everyone I’ve ever met that has a tattoo has never had just one. I got my first one at 18, a black peace sign with black flames around teh circle back on my neck… I’m 33 now and have never regretted it. I knew I would get a second one just didn’t know what or where…until my past birthday, I got PEACE on my right wrist. I love them both and would def get more.
    Would you get another one?

    • I’ve heard this before, and I get it. Kind of like eating a bag of chips (not at all), you eat one, and then you end up funnelling down the whole packet.

      But yeah, unfortunately/fortunately (unfortunately, I don’t have, will never have a real job. fortunately, well, obvious reasons), I’ve wanted a few for a lil while. An om symbol is what I originally wanted. A ying-yang written in Chinese hieroglyphics … so yeah. There’s a couple on the list.

      You should get more. Just because I’m a random stranger who likes bossing people around.

      • Ergh, clarification. Unfortunately will never have a real job = tattoos are expensive and I gots little moneys. Fortunately = well, tattoos are cool and I know what I like and have met someone adept who I respect as a person. win win win win.

        Sorry, I’m an a grade pedant.

  15. Awesome Blog! Great Tats!! Cheers

  16. Way to seize the moment! I think if your tattoo has such meaning to you, then you won’t regret it. And I’d have to say yours is pretty original which is always nice in the world of plenty o’ tatts.

    • Yeah, I typically don’t regret things anymore. No time for it / it would drive me to the loony asylum (quite literally). And thanks, everyone’s seemed positive about it. And truthfully, I don’t even care; it’s still nice though.


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