Torbay Tattoo Tales

One Man in Brixham

  • Brixham
  • dragon
  • women
  • Clockwork Orange
  • Ganesh
  • Miro

My father was in the Royal Navy and he hated tattoos - I didn’t get any on my face, neck, hands or wrists until he died.  My mother wasn’t so fussed but still, I only got them on my body until she’d also passed away.

My first tattoo was a small heart with my name written in it - self-love!  I’ve believed in self-love all my life.  I also had Brixham Devon written under the heart but that’s kind of faded now.  I had it done in Exeter in the 1970’s and from that moment on, I had the bug.  I am an addictive character, to this day I’m still hooked on various things including tattoos.  Some of the designs are there to remind me not to do certain things - like the skulls on my arms.  On one side there’s an eye and on the other there’s a tooth where I used to inject - I had the skulls there to say ‘no more - death is around the corner’ if I continued doing that stuff.

Then there’s the women. I had the two women on my forearms done between my two wives.  I can’t remember their names - I do remember they were beautiful.  And there’s the lovely nurse and a policewoman on my bum - no comment there except that at the time I thought it was a good idea!

With the Miro ones, I just love the Surrealists.  I’d seen someone with a Miro tattooed on his back and thought, yeah, I’d like one like that’.  This is still a work in progress, I’ll finish it one day.


The green dragon was done under the influence of injected painkillers - It made me feel like a cop-out, if you haven’t gone through the pain you don’t deserve the tattoo.  But blimey, the Ganesh on my back took three hours and was intensely painful - perhaps not as painful though as the work done on my ears.  I had to have a break of six months between my left and right ear it was so bad.

Last but not at all in the least the ‘Clockwork Orange’ tattoo was done by my best mate.  It’s the only film I’ve lied about my age to get into.  You had to be 16.  I was 14 but looked 12, thankfully the cinema was so desperate for the money they let me in.  It was the first time I saw a naked woman - that film blew my young mind!

Photo of Shelley Castle

Written by Shelley Castle

Lead Researcher