I never - ever - wanted a tattoo in my life . I just hated seeing them
lizards and dragons . I mean sometimes they're done brilliantly that you
really admire them , but I thought ' I don't want a dragon ' I wanted something
that people would say. ' Yeah , that's great ! ' and sort of add to the
tattoo world .
I had this book all about these Russian art students in the sixties and they had created this cartoon character -- this Amazon Brigitte Bardot , Mata Hari spy type person who vanquishes the foes of Oktobriana ( The October Revolution ) , you know , the foes of real communism . Well , in the end all these students got put in psycho hospitals , except for one guy who got out and brought the cartoon to London and printed it.
I think Bowie must have seen it , thats why he wore that disc on his forehead , because Oktobriana , has a star on her forehead. Well , I really liked this book and I'd been out of my mind at the time . So I just marched down to Cliff Ravens's studio on Sunset Strip with this book in my hand and went ' oof, I want that on me arm ' to the guy behind the counter .
Lucky enough , he was brilliant . His name's Kevin Brady , and he has this very thin style , almost dot -print- like . I was asking him to draw a cartoon , basically , and someone who's used to the traditional Chinese things wouldn't be able to do it . But he had exactly the right style to draw a cartoon on my arm ,
so much so that people think it is a transfer.
( Click on Billy to see close up of Tattoo ) I was really mad out of my mind , Los Angeles makes me like that , really , and I was at the 7-11 every morning buying tequila and trying to finish my solo album. I was staying at the Chateau Marmont , right around the time that John Belushi died . As matter of a fact , the same night he died I 'd just smashed up my room and the police were there for me as well. So I hadn't really slept the night before and while he was doing my tattoo I kept falling asleep all the time and waking up and saying ' Not so Mongolian.'
The bit that hurt the most was when he wrote his name in Chinese characters , he really went Mmmmmmggggrrrrmmmmm . It cost me 75 bucks . I cut him down from
$ 150 , but , you know , I think maybe I 'll go back there and give him the other $ 75.
When people heard about it back in New York and England they were appalled . I mean they always assume that you've just had some huge spider web printed on half of your body . It was nice , though , because what I was looking forward to -- just like anybody else who has a tattoo , I s'pose -- is an element of beauty stuffed on your body , not something that detracts from you . "
This un edited Article
is from Star Hits - December 1984
For more information about The Octobriana Book check out Octobriana : Icon or Myth
Page Formatted by: Ruth Balansche
June 29. 1998
All Rights Reserved
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