I got my first tattoo (on my inner left arm) a few weeks ago as a gift from my brother, who has been encouraging me for months. I had a bunch of ideas, mostly revolving around family and Chinese characters for things to do with family, but settled on something in English, and individual. I was inspired by one of my favorite songs by Wilco, The Late Greats

why 'The Late Greats'?

because I like the song.

whenever I hear it, I am momentarily transported to my time in London, spring 2007. I remember the walk I did from the train station to the PR office where I interned. Those solo walks bundled up in layers, everything around me gray and glum, but I loved it. breathed it in, wide eyed, excited to see any bit of mundane. i couldn't get enough. and Wilco was the soundtrack. it was the first time in my life i felt like i was on my own, getting to experience the world as a curious human.

I like the message of the song, or what I am interpreting it to be, that is, the best songs, the best art, and stories in the world aren't always the ones you hear or see. the world just didn't align for it to happen, they tried, but failed, the Man, or they never shared to begin with. the late greats, to me, is about all the beautiful art that is lost or dies with the artist. as a storyteller, i am at once heartbroken and thrilled by the thought that so much good shit I'll never be exposed to or know about.

what was getting it like?

it took about 20 minutes and it hurt, but not that badly. it felt like a sharp blade was lightly stabbing me, but in thoughtful form, with consistency and breaks for breathing.

any regret?

no, but I did find myself having to explain to a kid (who follows me on Instagram) why. ;)



Authorjustine lee