King of Ink Land

He is a gentle giant, that is well travelled and who loved art at a young age. “Tattoo & Body Modification culture found me,” says the King of Ink Land.

It inspired. Me that I took a journey into the unknown at 16 which would change my life forever my first tattoo. I have seen society become difficult for those who chose alternative lifestyles and started to champion this by campaigning to the government whilst raising discrimination/ hate awareness.

Were you born in Birmingham? Yes

What’s your favourite childhood memory of Birmingham? (B36) it has to be Castle Bromwich, the area where I grew up. I remember moving house 3 times in Castle Brom and staying with my grandparents at weekends. Also Arden Hall had a huge public park area. Back in those days children played out a lot more than they do these days.

When was your breakthrough moment? Sometime in the early noughties (millennium onwards) When I had my first visible tattoo work I saw massive changes in how people would react to me. I eventually found an online forum for people like minded who also had stories about how they had been treated which later on in life I would sadly experience myself.

How did you get into what you’re doing today? I have to thank my manager during the time I was a national account manager for a company. He introduced a pre work discussion to start the day if on a great feeling. We would all say what we had been up to over the weekend if Monday or night before during weekdays. There were topics in the news and politics was chucked in. I had never took notice to politics up until then however it opened my mind I done some research and joined a party. I was employed however people I knew would tell me the same thing over and over how they couldn’t find work or point me towards articles of modified people. Lots of people were talking yet doing nothing. So one day I went to a political conference met law makers and started a conversation. I have clashed with some very opinionated people who don’t like alternative looks. I have also met some people who agree that laws are out of date.

What’s the greatest memory from your career? Tricky there have been some great times. I was doing work experience during my education and was asked to go back during summer holidays to work for cash money that was good and they offered me a full time job when I was in 6th form it was a transport and haulage company and I ended up working for them on 3 different occasions in different roles. One of the customers loved my attitude and poached me which was my 2nd job in freight forwarding. I learnt so much and had a good mentor. The company was fantastic to me. I use to have to deal with some grumpy drivers but we had a great team of people. I’m thinking that the photocopier and computer scanner now might be in a museum they were dated in the 90s. I am very grateful for being given the opportunity to learn and develop and gain life experience which has set me in good stead for adult life.

Favourite thing to do in Birmingham? Traveling around the beautiful city! I love the canal areas around Brindley Place. I have seen huge redevelopment since we were the concrete capital of the world. Shopping, dining or enjoying a glass of red wine in one of the many bars and restaurants. I have spent some late nights and early mornings in the city. The fact I can go and have lots of options be it a cultural experience networking or social, I can not limit it to just one favourite thing.

What makes Birmingham stand out to you? The people make Birmingham not just Brummies. Yes we have our unique accent some people show stronger than others. The atmosphere is buzzing and the quality of life if why we go from strength to strength. I personally think our geographical location is also key central to the north the south. We don’t just welcome diversity we embrace many different cultures and celebrate many different communities here adding to a rich history and an exciting future.

What are your thoughts on the future of Birmingham? I have seen plans on the 15 year economic strategy which look very exciting with more redevelopment and investment improving and growing the city. Quality of life and more homes. Transport link improvements will help other cities benefit whilst also seeing tourism rise. The sky line is also slowly changing and as a city we are. It shy to build iconic looking landmarks be it the city of Birmingham library, the cube, Mailbox, Selfridges disc curve on the bullring to name a few. I can see more people wanting to live here because it is such an amazing city and you can travel to the capital in just a little over an hour by train however you can get there in 2 hours plus for the under a tenner (cheaper than a taxi to my home) the city is going from strength to strength.

If you could change one thing about Birmingham, what would it be? I would have a monorail system installed. I know they have just bought back modern tram with the metro however u would be in favour of a superior transport system. Despite multiple bus and train routes in and out of the city these can be crowded at the best of times.

Who’s the most famous person you think is from Birmingham? Tough question, I think my fellow BCU honorary Mr Birmingham Jasper Carrot. Great comedian and all round humble.

Who are your heroes? 3 people you look up to? Martin Luther King Jr, Patrick Joseph Whelan (My father) Paul Daniels (magician).

If you had a dinner party, which 3 people would you invite? Nick Clegg MP, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson & Trevor Francis.

What are your plans for the future? I don’t plan for the future. I always let the present take me there. The past taught me to appreciate life and live every day as it comes. I will continue to champion for human rights and seeing body modification move forward from an unregulated industry to having a national register and being recognised. Also continuing awareness and being active for positive change.

Who’s the most famous person in your phone book? Katie Piper.