Fangs for the Memory

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Feb 13th, 2011
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This is a story all about ink. Well, sort of.

It occupies a special place in my personal memory palace. And that’s really what my personal ink is all about, places in my memory palace. They may mean something different to others, I like that. I like the sense of duality, of double bluff… of things being not quite what they appear to be.

Starting out with the outline

It’s more of a journey, along the way explaining a bit about me, via Saturday matinee movies on the TV with my dad, my weird sense of humour and some incredibly talented people.

When I was a child (note, I do not say little–I don’t think that I was ever little in any sense), I used to sit on the arm of my dad’s favourite easy chair and together we would watch movies. My mother was rather keen on religious movies, and my dad used to accommodate this strange fascination…. Anyway, we would be sitting there, watching the film, and my dad would mutter: “The only miracle about this is how they managed have Handel’s Water Music in the first century AD.”

My own sense of humour is of the off-the-wall, slightly odd kind. Entirely courtesy of my dad; ta ever-so, Dad!

So when my friend Raven brought out her book, The Unwise Woman of Fuggis Mire, it immediately tickled my funny bone. The book leaps on every fantasy cliché and leaves no stone unturned in its pursuit of laughs.

Taking a breather

Of course, for me there was one character that just cried out for immortality in more ways than one. Nutsferatu, the Vampire Squirrel, who lives in the Wood that Looks Enchanted, But is Actually Quite Mundane, is a total gift.

As Raven said: “In conversation with Rob Bishop, author and film-maker who invented a place called The Enchanted Forest which is actually Rather Mundane …populated by many bizarre creatures. Nuts was a mutually favourite character, I mentioned vampire squirrels and Rob came up with the name. Rob also kindly gave me permission to use him in The Unwise Woman of Fuggis Mire. However, the fiendish squirrel’s best Undead friend Vlad the Impala is all mine. For a rather minor character, Nutsferatu is very popular including featuring on the book’s cover. In fact at last year’s British Fantasy Society Convention, a lady saw the big banner with the cover at the Endaxi Press stall, rushed up and said, ‘I must buy that book….anything with a vampire squirrel in it must be worth reading.’”

And Nuts is just one of those characters. The moment I made my side ache over his antics in the forest, I knew I wanted a Nutsferatu tattoo. So I had a picture, which I handed over to my tattooist, Stevie.

Adding shading

Well, that was a couple of months ago, so come Wednesday’s appointment, of course I forgot to take the picture, and Stevie had filed it somewhere for safe-keeping.

My tattooist is a great artist. I explained that I wanted a vampire squirrel, so Stevie sat down and drew me a humdinger of a vampire squirrel in about fifteen minutes.

Nearly there: adding highlight accents

Then drew up the stencil, having sized it to fit in the desired placement, and away we went.

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