Tattoos are our skin diaries. This is a video diary entry.
Sebastian was always my boy name, which I wanted to have on me, scarred in between my veins. This is a story about finding the perfect font. I had to pass an interview to get into the magical Rare Manuscripts collection room at the British Library in London, where I was faced with a challenging and orgasmic task of leafing through a file of Oscar Wilde's original correspondence, hotel receipts, telegrams and memorabilia, that was luckily donated to the British Library by Lady Eccles just a few years previously. I chose my favourite signature by Oscar from the tragic period of his life after his jail sentence, when he spend his last three years in penniless exile in France in hiding under the pseudonym of Sebastian Melmoth. It was hard o find a clear, legible "Sebastian" in that pile of papers. Oscar himself admitted in his private correspondence that his health was deteriorating, and that his handwriting was a mess.
Because of the strict no-photo, no copying rule in the Rare Manuscripts department, I had to hand-draw Oscar's signature to minute perfection, relying sneakily on rulers, grids, hand and eye coordination, all the while trying not to faint from the exaltation of having my grubby mitts on the original letters of my idol.
When I'm absent-mindedly holding a hand rail on the tube and I spot my tattoo, it makes me think of the dandysim and the struggle, the glory that is easily lost, the celebrity and the outsider, the sainthood and the humility, the gifted and the challenged.
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