When Lady Gaga posted a picture of her her new armpit tattoo on Twitter while on tour in Manchester recently, two thoughts immediately came to mind.
- Clever placement. If she later regrets it she can just grow out her underarm hair, thus avoiding the need for painful laser removal procedures, while simultaneously boosting her popularity in Germany.
- When did body art become such a fashion statement?
There was a time when “getting inked” was something you did on impulse. My uncle for example, had his first tattoo on a drunken weekend in Blackpool with his mates. His decision to have the word “Mum” on his forearm was not the result of long contemplation but rather the vain hope that this crudely rendered tribute to my formidable nan would save him a tongue-lashing when he returned home.
For celebrities it seems, the days of having a simple anchor or pair of swallows indelibly scratched on their bodies are gone. Tattoos are the ultimate statement and, as such, require you to make a splash with your ink. Here are some of the strangest choices.
The former England captain resembles a human Etch-A-Sketch nowadays. The design on his side may look like a test pad for a magic marker, but is actually a Chinese proverb that reads: “Death and life have pre-determined appointments; riches and honour are from heaven.”
Not being able to speak Chinese, I can only take David’s word for this. Part of me hopes this is actually a brilliant practical joke and that the inscription is actually the Mandarin translation of the lyrics to Out Of Your Mind, Victoria’s single with Dane Bowers and the Truesteppers from 2000.
Transformers star Fox has taken a similarly high-brow approach, choosing to have Shakespeare’s line “We shall all laugh at gilded butterflies” from King Lear on her shoulder, which looks great but doesn’t make any sense… much like Transformers.
Not all celebrities go for ancient proverbs and classical literature quotes. Ex-X Factor judge Tulisa had ‘Lucky You’ inked just above her bikini line. Classy. And now she’s been axed from Simon Cowell’s all conquering talent show she can’t even ask him for a pair of his high-waisted trousers to cover it up.
Boybands are often keen to shed the teeny-pop image and appear more rock and roll, and what’s more rock and roll than getting inked up? Almost anything if, like Harry, you opt to have lyrics from George Michael’s weepie pop classic Careless Whisper inscribed on your ankle.
Almost as odd a choice was mother-of-two Nicole’s decision to have the word “Virgin” etched on her wrist. If accurate, this will be cause for a major rethink of my religious beliefs.
All the previous examples can at least be easily hidden, but Cara’s tattoo of a lion’s face on her hand, which resembles a permanent fingerbob, is a little trickier. Less obvious is the “Made In England” slogan on the sole of her foot, which marks the model out as one of Britain’s few successful exports.
Then again, why hide a badly chosen piece of body art? Pirates Of The Caribbean star Depp took a more creative approach after splitting with Winona Ryder, having the legend “Winona Forever” altered to “Wino Forever”.
The eccentric singer has an impressive number of tattoos, including one of a cat on the inside of her bottom lip and a tribute to a dead pet on her side. The most eye-catching one is a detailed portrait of her grandmother on her forearm. While it’s a touching tribute to a much-loved family member, a picture in a locket would have been less painful.
The ear-chewing former world champion decided his face wasn’t scary enough and so added this intimidating tribal design to his terrifying fizzog. The tattoo artist was laughing all the way to the bank when he sued the makers of The Hangover Part 2 for using his copyrighted design in the movie.
Cheryl’s rosy backside caused quite a stir when the singer and X Factor judge revealed an elaborate floral piece that covered her entire bum and lower back.