Sleeve tattoos, the Yamaha Fizzy and The New Conformity.

Written by Jonathan Pagden

April 6, 2023

I’ve just read a comment that now more people have tattoos than don’t – I don’t know whether that’s true but certainly it’s less of a sharp-intake-of-breath to see an entire arm covered in some intricate design.

You want to express yourself? Go for it.
You want to be trendy and like people you admire? Think very carefully.

People of a certain age may remember the era of the Yamaha FS1E sports moped and the like: a sixteen year old’s first taste of powered freedom on the road. A ‘proper’ motorcycle of just 50cc, with strange residual pedals to qualify as a moped under some short lived nonsensical law.
If you were a sixteen year old boy (and it was almost entirely boys) your teenage rebellion revolved around tearing round town on your ‘Fizzy’. And that’s the point – nearly everybody had a Yamaha, most of them yellow. How rebellious is it if everybody else is doing the same?

That’s the connection in my mind to tattoos – yes, express yourself, be individual, but for pity’s sake do it in your own way and not like everybody else?

The good news for those of us who don’t have the slightest inclination to wear a tattoo is that the more people who do, the more individual it becomes not to.

I didn’t have a Fizzy in the 70s. I rode a Kermit-green Honda which was regarded as sensible, slow, dull – but there weren’t many others about. So who’s being more individual?