Spit On a Stranger

Ever since I started blogging tattoos, I like to carry a folder with printouts and my camera with me, wherever I go.

So on Wednesday night, when I realized I had until midnight to return a video to Blockbuster (Rescue Me, Season 2, Discs 1-3, all unwatched) or face stiff penalties, I dragged my stuff with me, just in case. At that time of night (11:30 PM), I figured opportunities would be slim to none.

Let me clarify, I saw some cool tattoos, but figured it would not necessarily be the best idea to ask bar patrons out of the blue on the street to participate.

Anyway, video returned, happy with just a shot of a new look from The Loneliest Lamp Post in Bay Ridge, I walked past, near the stroke of midnight, a harmless looking gentleman unchaining his bicycle . At first glance, he looked like he had a bicycle tattoo on his right forearm.

Not quite. Instead he had this:

Well, obviously, he agreed to participate in Tattoosday. So, what is this?

Well, the host, named Matt, offered up the following explanation (loosely paraphrased here). The tattoos is based on the cover art for Spit on a Stranger, a 1999 EP by the indie rock band Pavement. Take a look:

Matt is a resident of Williamsburg, but works in Bay Ridge. In retrospect I marvel at his midnight bike commute, although I hope he just rides to the nearest train station. Matt's tattoo was adapted from the Pavement EP, which was one of the band's final records. He says he gets a lot of comments and questions about it, and that people interpret it differently, yet all seem to be in the right ballpark when coming to their own understanding of it. Matt studied political philosophy in school and appreciates the vagueness of the piece, and the fact that it is able to be so widely interpreted by others.

This work was inked at Cherry Bomb Tattoo in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

Thanks to Matt for talking to me and letting me take a picture so late in the evening.