I Got Fred from Spector Tattooed On My Neck
Fred and I somewhere or other
I'm friends with a guy named Fred Macpherson, who you might know as the lead singer of Spector, recent Buzzcocks panellist and/or the man who dared denounce the Olympic flame for its dubious Nazi past. Having known the man since we were on the grind together, I'd grown accustomed to his rise through the cultural echelons, to seeing UCL students imitating his "hipster Goebbels" aesthetic, and seeing him instagram photos of himself with people who even my nan would recognise.
Yesterday however, I saw something that took me by surprise. Somebody had got a massive colour rendering of his face tattooed on their neck.
Why would anyone do this, I wondered? Sure, Fred's a cool guy with a strong look, but most people wouldn't dare get a permanent reminder of the person they share a bed with every night inked on to their body, let alone some guy in a band they'd never met. Of course there are plenty of people with bad portraits of Morrissey or Jimi Hendrix between their shoulder blades, but one of the lead singer of a band who've released one album, on their neck? It seemed perverse.
A little bit of Twitter digging revealed the skin canvas to belong to the man above, named Tariq Khan. I looked him up on Facebook and discovered that Fred wasn't his first body portrait. His face would be joining a whole host of other stars that Tariq already had inked upon body. He claimed to be creating a kind of celebrity tattoo bodysuit, which in practice looks a bit like a flesh version of one of those monochromatic collages of rappers' faces that you can buy in the poster section of HMV, except comprised of famous people you wouldn't recognise in the street.
I got in touch with Tariq to learn more about his motivations, his passions and just why he'd got a tattoo of the guy from House Doctor on his birthday suit.
Alistair Appleton, presenter of House Doctor. As if you needed this caption.
VICE: Hi Tariq, it’s Clive from VICE here.
Tariq: Oh, hi.
How’s it going?
Fine thanks, and you?
Yeah, I’m good. So yeah, basically I came across the tattoo you got of Fred on your neck. Fred’s a friend of mine and –
Oh, is he?
Interpol's Carlos D.
Quite a few people seem to know him that I’m speaking to at the moment.
He's a very sociable guy. I was just wondering if I could ask you a few questions about your tattoos. Could you tell me a little bit about yourself?
Well I’m 34, I’m half-French, half-Indian. I’m passionate about the arts and music theatre and I’ve got a huge collection of tattoos.
Martin Daubney, former editor of Loaded magazine.
Yeah, I've seen them. How long have you been getting them done for?
I’m 34, I think since I was 18.
So quite a long time then. I saw on your Facebook page you that you're in the middle of getting a whole body suit.
What is it about portraits that appeal to you?
Well it happened by accident in one sense, because initially I only wanted to get one portrait done.
And then I realised there were a lot of portraits I wanted done, and thought, 'Okay, if I’m going to have my whole body tattooed, I need to have a theme.' I didn’t want it to be a collection of random stuff. I thought, 'Let me go down the route of portraits!'
Olympic rower James Cracknell. Looking a little like Flea here.
Okay, that makes sense I guess. What is it about Fred that made you want to get a tattoo of his face on your neck?
I just love his image. That was the first thing I said: he's very, very striking.
So you're a fan of Spector, I take it?
Yes, I am. And I was thinking of tattoos for my neck –
The neck is quite a prominent position.
If I’m going to get a portrait on my neck, it needs to be of someone that is really iconic.
Do you think Fred's iconic, then?
I wouldn’t say he’s iconic yet, because not many people know who he is.
That's true. Do you think this will be the start of a new craze for people to get tattoos of Fred inked on to themselves?
Maybe. Maybe it will start a trend.
Adam Levine, Maroon 5.
Could you tell me a few of the other people you’ve got on your body?
I’ve got Johnny Depp done. I’ve got Mark Ronson, I’ve got all the members of Franz Ferdinand.
A lot of these guys, there seems to be a theme of them being quite sharply-dressed young men. Is that part of your general aesthetic?
What other tattoos do you have lined up? Have you got any dream projects?
I’ve still got my whole back to do.
Who would you really like to get on there?
I thought I’d keep the back sort of music related. So you’d have people like Billie Joe Armstrong from Green Day, Alex Turner from Arctic Monkeys, you would have Theo from The Hurts..
The Hives, did you say?
No, The Hurts.
Do you know what Fred said about it, exactly?
He seems kind of shocked and flattered. I can’t remember the exact quote, but I'm pretty sure it was positive.
Is that the one that you put on Twitter?
No, no, no. I spoke to him.
Oh, you spoke to him, OK.
Yeah, he seemed a bit… I think if someone gets you tattooed on their body, you’re going to be flattered, aren’t you? That's the vibe I was getting, though like I said, I can't remember his exact response.
Yeah, that’s fine.
Okay, well, thanks again.
Follow Clive on Twitter: @thugclive