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Tuesday, 4 February 2003

Richard Cooper's 2003 Hoban Adventure 6/8


Fulham Tattoo Centre

(The Bat Tattoo)

From Eustace Road I doubled-back on myself, passing St John’s and carrying on up Fulham Road. I had the address of the tattooist’s where Roswell Clark has his Chinese bat inscribed onto his arm, but Fulham Road is a long one and I had no idea how far down it might be. In the event it was only a short walk. It was still quite early and the shop itself was closed, the display shuttered from top to bottom. I took a picture across the stationery traffic and crossed over to get a closer look. The windows were crammed with tattoo designs, which started at around £40. A sign said, KEEP ALL CHILDREN AWAY FROM THIS STUDIO. Also featured was a display case of available piercings, including an accurate model pudenda in discreet black plastic with rings through various parts. As I studied the display two young lads with anoraks and shaven heads came past, peered in the window and made approving noises. Thinking of Roswell's description of having his tattoo done, I wondered how far Russ had taken his research.

As for dropping the quote, again the most obvious place was the Tattoo Centre itself, but as I prepared to slide it underneath the security shutters the thought struck me that this might be missing the point; the chances were that the owners already knew Russ had written about it in the novel, so they wouldn’t need the passage themselves, and anyway it was very likely they knew perfectly well that tattooage and body piercing had been practised by Christianity for centuries. It made more sense at the time to drop the quote where someone wasn’t expecting it, maybe to refamiliarise them with the amenities in the area they lived in. I walked up a bit and toyed with the idea of sellotaping the quote to the notice board of a development of flats, but the regular passing of the local residents changed my mind. Besides, they would already know about the shop, and by the look of it some of them were probably regular customers. I decided to keep an eye out for somewhere appropriate, and moved on.

Fulham Tattoo Centre website (note: some content may not be safe for work or under-18s)

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