Will I Ever Be Bey? Part One…

I like to think that I’m pretty brave and pretty smart but there is one thing that continues to leave me doubting myself, time and time again. No matter how hard I try, how much effort I put in or how much booze I consume, I can never get over the deep-seated fear I have about my moves – of the dance variety that is.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m always the first out on the dance floor at a party – but the sprinkler is my go to move, and ain’t no body has ever made the sprinkler look all that sexy (though I do dare you to try and prove me wrong…).
I’ve been to class after class of every style of dance over the years and while I always have fun, I never seem to really get into the swing of it…
I’ve bumbled through a bit of Bollywood, stumbled through a sexy salsa class and have spent the best part of the last year and a half hobbling away from weekly hip hop classes. I’ve got the enthusiasm but if I’m honest with myself, I sure as hell ain’t got the coordination to pull it off.

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This is a thing that happened once when I attempted dancing (yes, I was also drunk at Mardi Gras but there was defs dancing!)
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See – “Dancing”….dammit tequila.

I come from a long line of terrible dancers though– my own dad being a prime example. He has one move, he calls it “washing clothes in the river” and it involves some awkward downward punching. My Grandma was a big fan of line dancing – enough said.
My dance career was doomed by genetics.

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The kind of quality dancing that my genetics allow me…

That being said, I’m always up for a challenge – even if it does mean that I could end up looking like an absolute fool – though I’m assured that this won’t be the case.

I first heard of Bey Dance a year or so ago and ever since then I’ve been keen to jump on board one of their classes. Unfortunately, as being an adult has taught me, life often gets in the way of a good time. It’s taken a while for me to have a chance to find my inner Bey but finally as Adelaide Fringe rolls around, with plenty of dance workshop opportunities with this wonderful crew, I will finally get to do it. Yes, this Saturday I get to fulfil my dream of participating in a Bey Dance class- but I’m scared…what if I make a dick of myself? I’ve done it before (publicly make a dick of myself that is) – we need not mention the unfortunate contemporary dance class I attended last year but suffice to say, struggle was the word of the day. I’ve only heard good things about the Bey Dance classes and the team behind them so I’m gonna put on my big girl pants (actually, a pair of really pretty gym leggings because dressing nicely makes me more motivated to exercise, it’s a genuine strategy…) and I’ll throw my inhibitions out the window and dance my little ass off, not caring how I look. Why? Because I have journalistic integrity and I want to be able to honestly report back to you lovely readers the full Bey Dance experience…and also a little bit because I want to learn to look sassy, fierce and all together ultra sexy next time I hit the dance floor – please help me Bey Dance!

 

Watch this space to find out how I get along…or better yet, come along and give it a go yourself – https://www.facebook.com/events/113948608992395/

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Let’s see if we can improve on this – and be more sober than this…

 

A garden without beer is just a waste.

I think I am ready to admit to myself that despite my best efforts to the contrary, I am not a gardener and nor will I ever be one. The patch of dirt in my small court yard that in my mind was to be filled with luscious vegetables and flowering natives or at the very least, pots of useful herbs is currently nothing more than mud decorated poorly with aging mulch.

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Inexplicable patch of bricks in my garden…

Two years ago I moved into my current abode, with big dreams and a heart set on being a real functioning proper adult – with the kind of outdoor area to prove to my friends and family that I’d truly made it. Flash forward to January 2016 and the only colour in my yard comes from the fading retro garden flamingos that were once used as a novelty Christmas decoration – otherwise its brown ground and asbestos fencing as far as the eye can see – which isn’t far anyways, since it (thankfully) is a tiny yard.
Encouragement came from every corner – mum would swing by on Saturday mornings and off we’d venture to Bunnings to find another pretty low maintenance flower to revitalise the passion for gardening. Upon our return however, she would cast her eye over the barren wasteland into which I intended to integrate the pretty little plant and sigh with disappointment. An avid and successful gardener herself, I’m sure she couldn’t help but feel personally responsible that I’d recently killed not one but two supposedly indestructible mint plants. Mother grew bored of my failed attempts at adult life and moved away, like far far away. I’m almost entirely sure she made this major life change so that she would no longer have to regularly bear witness to the failure of a daughter which she herself had raised.

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I planted succulents and natives because they are more difficult to kill (but not impossible…)

For the past year I have found myself getting rather cosy in many gardens – beer gardens that is, if only to water (that’s a gardening term, right?) my own sorrow – but not drown it – because that’s how we kill plants(I know that much, because humans also die if drowned, duh). My passion was momentarily relocated late last year when I read an article by the excellent Helen Razer, describing how she had found a love of gardening in recent years. Enthused by her words I stepped out into the yard – and then my phone vibrated and a single word flashed up on the screen; “pub?” – ahhhh Helens getting older, her friends are married and have children and no longer waste hours talking shit with a pint in their hand, that must be how she manages to find time to garden…
This morning I re-assessed the situation and sighed deeply – I began to pull out weeds, dressed in the oh so classy combination of pyjamas and thongs. Before I knew it I’d accidentally walked backwards into the peg basket on the washing line and tipped a substantial amount of water on myself – that’s enough gardening for this year then.

I love the idea of sitting in a beautifully landscaped garden but I’ve resigned myself to the fact that everyone needs a fantasy to keep them going in life, so that shall be mine. Perhaps I will one day marry into money, live in a fancy house and hire a gardener? Or perhaps I will continue to live the way I do for many years to come. If that is the case, my lack of gardening talent is probably the least of my worries…maybe I should upgrade to furniture that isn’t made of milk crates? Or learn to correctly file important documents instead of shoving them in drawers (that are sure to overflow soon at this rate)? I should almost certainly learn to eat the yoghurt in the fridge before it starts growing the dangerous looking red mould that I found this morning – the kind that could probably kill at least thirty three unborn babies with a single spoonful. Now I think of it, I might just top up my morning glass of sparkling (FYI it’s Prosecco – because if you’re gonna grow up to be an alcoholic, you may as well be a fabulous, European fun one- and not too expensive either) and plan a picnic – in someone else’s garden. I never said I didn’t like the outdoors but dirt? That stuff is icky.

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My bother is a beautiful and talented human. He made me this table so that I could sit and enjoy the mess of a yard that I have created. Note the dead plant in the pot actually has spiderwebs on it.

Fire At Wil!

Late last year I had the absolute pleasure of chatting to a comedian who I’ve enjoyed for many year – the fantastic Wil Anderson. He was funny, interesting and even though there was a phone line between us, he had my blushing like a little school girl! I used the opportunity, as a comedian, to grab a bit of insight from him into the ‘art’ of comedy – and how being a comedian affects every day life – I liked what he said!  I’ve copied the article below – but here’s the link to the original on Scenestr if you’d prefer to read it there…

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In 2016, the hilarious and talented Wil Anderson bring his new show, ‘Fire At Wil’ to Adelaide and Brisbane.

Always delivering fresh and exciting material, Anderson has forged a reputation in the Australian comedy scene as one of the hardest working comedians around – and it’s easy to see why, as he regularly takes on a slew of projects, delivering high-energy each time.

‘Fire At Wil’ is built on the foundations of his previous show. “The new show is always a reaction to the last show but I don’t really know what that means until I have the show written and up and going,” he explains.

That being said, the most recent show that he brought to Adelaide and Brisbane was, at the time, still a work in progress. “Adelaide last year got to see me write a show basically, on stage. That’s a fun process, I feel that some of those shows that I did in Adelaide were some of the more fun shows of the tour.”

Due to being a work in progress at the time, the show in question – ‘Free Wil’ – relied heavily on improvised material, engaging the audience and building on the energy of the room, arguably something that Anderson absolutely excels at.

While it isn’t always ideal to be workshopping a show and relying so much on improvised material, Anderson explains there is a particular magic to the occurrence. “Essentially what you’re trying to do with a comedy show is put together something that most people can relate to and you can bring a room full of strangers with completely different experiences together and make them laugh.”

However, not all audience members will have shared experiences and be able to understand all the material – that is, unless they experience it there and then. “If something happens in the room… everybody in the room has just seen that happen and just experienced that thing, so it’s one of the rare times when you can have an entire room getting the sense of what you’re meaning in that moment. So in some ways those shows are the most exciting.”

‘Fire At Wil’, however, will be a completely different beast – especially for Adelaide audiences. “Adelaide isn’t going to see a show like that this year because I decided that since I wrote the show in front of them last year, this year I should take them a show that was actually worked on before I got to Adelaide. I’m doing a week of trial shows in Canberra first, so the people in Adelaide will probably see a more advanced show that what they saw last time.”

What can audiences expect though? Anderson hopes to deliver a show that meets the high-standards that his fans have come to expect. “If you buy a ticket to the show, hopefully you’ll buy a ticket to someone who will try his best to make you laugh for an hour.”

With an ever growing profile across a range of mediums – including podcasts and a hosting gig on ABC’s ‘Gruen’ it can be difficult to please everyone though, as he recently experienced. “When they played ‘Wiluminati’ on the ABC I had a person say; ‘they should get the person who writes Wil Anderson’s jokes on ‘Gruen’ to write the jokes for his stand-up.’ But I was like you’re allowed to not like my stand-up or my TV show or vice versa, but the truth of it is that the person who writes the jokes for both of those things is exactly the same person, it’s me. Different aspects of me.”

While it does mean audiences may come to know Anderson for reasons outside his stand-up, he enjoys the variety, explaining that the biggest challenge can in fact be finding the right mix. “If I’m doing too much of one thing, I tend to hate it, no matter what that is.”

More than just being a form of entertainment, comedy is a field that can certainly teach us all a thing or two – and while there are plenty of life lessons to be had, Anderson says that his years in the entertainment industry have taught him two things – both of which are in regards to failure. “The main thing that stops people trying things is the fear of failure and comedy in particular is a failure business, if you’re not failing then you’re just not getting better.

“The second thing that goes with that is the idea that no one can stop you. Every comedian in the world has the worst gig in the world… the thing about comedy is that it teaches you to take responsibility for your own actions because you constantly have to.”

The ultimate lessons? “Embrace failure and you’re in charge of your own destiny – which is terrifying, but an empowering thing too.”

Regardless of the brutal nature of the industry Anderson explains that he wouldn’t have it any other way. “It’s my job, I’ve been doing it for 20 years and it would be tough for me to do anything else.”

‘Fire At Wil’ performs Adelaide Fringe 29 February – 3 March and Brisbane Comedy Festival 15-20 March.

 

 

The Year That Was…2015

To put it bluntly, 2015 was the year that pushed me down, and then kicked me, while I was still down and then just as I was starting to pull myself back up again it decided to throw me back down again. It doesn’t sound like a pleasant experience and to be honest, those parts of it really were the worst I have ever experienced – without being dramatic, it was the toughest year of my life. That being said, it was also the greatest year of my life with more high points than I can even recall. I learned that true, all encompassing happiness and joy can only be experienced after you’ve reached the lowest of lows and strangely enough, I am incredibly thankful for the pain that I experienced this year because if I hadn’t been through that, I wouldn’t be able to appreciate all the good times like I can now. That’s not to say that there are things I wouldn’t change – I would give anything to have Rikki back in our lives but I don’t think I really knew the true value of life until I had to say good bye to her. Losing her has taught me a lot – thanks to her I have learned to make the most of life, not to waste time on the bullshit stuff and the bullshit people, to appreciate every wonderful moment and amazing person and to share positivity and not be bitter and negative.

Beyond all the serious stuff, this year has taught me some other great lessons;
Make time for baths – and if your house mate is away, watch trashy TV whilst in the bath!
Don’t put up with bad sex (sorry Mum, I know you’re reading this…) but seriously, it’s not worth anyone’s time!
Eat ALL the brilliant food (but also go to the gym, preferably dance classes and it does not matter if you are super unco)
Do what you love and chase it with a fervent passion – and if you don’t know what it is that you love to do, FIND IT. Why waste your life waiting for an opportunity to present itself?
Say ‘YES’ to crazy adventures – I know I’m starting to sound like an ‘inspiration calendar’ but it’s ‘YES’ that caused me to dance in the mud all night in the cold of winter with some excellent people, ‘YES’ meant that I was half way up a mountain at 3am in a castle singing at the top of my lungs (and drinking red wine from the bottle) and ‘YES’ allowed me to do more writing and more comedy – which as I’ve discovered is the THING that I LOVE! (Finally, I think I’ve found it!)
Live your own life – take good advice but ditch the useless advice. I was given some shitty advice from people who turned out to be not so good at different times this year. Needless to say, they are no longer in my life.
In contrast, surround yourself with rad folks. This year I’ve had the support of some amazing people in a range of different ways – shout outs to my whole family who have been there every step of the way and the amazing beautiful Gaskin – Rollins Clan who are some of the strongest and most beautiful people I’ve ever met – your bravery through adversity has truly been an inspiration. Special love to my excellent brother – I love you more than I can express – and Ma and Pa too (you guys are crazy dream chasing nutters).
Stacey – you are one tough cookie, your grace and strength to keep on keeping on is amazing.
Sophie Miller – 2015 brought you into my life good and proper and I couldn’t be more thankful. As much as we drive each other crazy, you are a constant source of encouragement and creative inspiration and I love that you’re always up for a good bitch session – plus super talented and an absolute babe!
Mark & Chris – you get a mention together because you are awesome in many of the same ways – and basically you are a brilliant package deal!
Josh Cruse – thanks for being rad and my first comedy friend, I’ll never forget that!
Moe – My best Moe, Moe of honour, a constant friend who absolutely kicked 2015 in the dick, achieving all sorts of brilliant things – Runner Up Rural Ambassador, El Presidente – what what?!
Brittany – absence makes the heart grow fonder and I miss you a butt load, you rad chick!
Emmica – The girl who magically knows just when to check in on me and say exactly what I need to hear! Thanks huni!
Hannah W –To think you still put up with me after all the crap I put you through as a kid! You don’t have to marry my brother; I’ll still let you be a part of my family!
Bec Taylor – You are just such a beautiful, bubbly ball of positivity and an excellent hugger!
Linda Hamley – for being and excellent sounding board and a great example of how to soldier on.
Basically ANYONE who I’ve met through comedy this year – I actually cannot express how much happiness I have gained from doing comedy and just generally being around these people – you all the raddest.
My crew of awesome cousins – you guys rock! Especially Sean (who brought me a birthday cheeseburger when I was hung over as all hell and crying like a little bitch at episodes of Parks and Rec), Emma who is absolutely HILARIOUS and will probably be a better comedian than me (Emma, you are very ‘seductive’) Chelsea whose love and compassion for others and ability to know the right thing to do and say is inspiring and Russ who is always there to talk shit with when needed!

Sorry if I have forgotten anyone – you probably were amazing and please do share excellent memories of the year!
Finally, before I go I must say that I am certain this year will finish well because…look what I scored when hung-over / sleep deprived shopping this morning….HAPPY 2016 EVERYONE!

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How to Have The Best New Years Eve Ever

 

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Every year, every damned year, the anticipation builds, the invitations start to roll in and you think to yourself; “I’m going to make this the best New Years Eve ever”.

Best. New. Years. Eve. Ever.

And it never happens, does it? Well I hate to say it — but the most overrated night of the year for most has never been that way for me. I don’t mean to show off but I haven’t had a bad New Years that I can recall. Sure, I can’t recall all of them clearly but I distinctly remember fun was had. Yes, a twenty-something part-time comedian / part time wine taster (read: goon connoisseur) whose idea of a well balanced dinner is budget dips and cheese might not be the person you should logically take advice from, but seriously, since when do ‘logic’ and ‘fun’ go hand in hand? And with that in mind, ladies, my advice to help you have The Best New Years Eve Ever. You’re welcome.

 

Read the rest of the article at the following link;  http://adelady.com.au/how-to-have-the-best-new-years-eve-ever/

Adelaide Halloween Costumes on a (Very Tight) Budget

Halloween is once again just around the corner and like every year the pressure is on to come up with a unique costume that doesn’t break the bank. With that in mind, and not forgetting the fact that Halloween is supposed to be scary, may I present you my very own list of Adelaide themed Halloween Costumes on a (very tight) Budget!

Embrace your inner balls…

Grab some balls, wrap em in alfoil and holy shit, you’re the most iconic location in Adelaide. The bigger the balls, the better – mine are small because I’m lazy.

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Wrap em and get playin…

Costume requirements: Aluminium foil and your imagination…

Scare Factor: it all depends on how dirty yer balls are.

I’m a (slutty) pig – duh.

Second only to the balls, the pigs are surely the most regularly mounted attraction in the mall. Ensure that you get all the attention you deserve this all hallows eve – slut it up or play it down, the choice is totally yours.

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oink?

Costume requirements: I used post-it notes because I am poor.

Scare Factor: Depends how much you embrace your inner-pig

I’m a serial killer – duh.

It’s Adelaide. Apparently serial killers are everywhere. Mess with people even more, just come dressed like you do everyday.

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This is how I look at work everyday (except I brushed my hair and put make-up on), but y’know, I could totally be a murderer. You would never know…

Costume Requirements: None. Dress normally. Idiots will think you’re too lazy to bother with a costume, socially aware Adelaidians will know better. Feel free to add validity by hiding weapons (fake, of course) in your bag / car / dungeon – I mean basement.

Scare factor: watch Wolf Creek and Snow Town and then we can talk.

Uhm Can I Speak to the Manager? AKA The Burnside Mum

Spotted around the Eastern Suburbs but only in the right places, this woman is scary as fuck. You do not want to grow up to be her but you can take the piss out of her.

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“Pretty Woman” wig noted.

Costume requirements: You could fully commit and get one of those terrible hair-cuts or you could just use a wig. Incidentally this is the same wig I use to dress as Lady Gaga and ‘Pretty Woman’ so, y’know. Add a pearl necklace (the kind you can buy in a jewellery shop) for authenticity. I got mine from my ex-boyfriend. Incidentally he bought the same one for his mum which I feel says a lot about our relationship.

Scare factor: Have you ever worked in retail? These people are the stuff of nightmares.

Clipsal Fan

Give up on life and you’re half way there. Add a flannelette shirt and you’re almost set…the final touch is forcibly removing a few teeth to complete the look.

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I actually drank West End for this. legit.

Costume requirements: As above. You can only drink West End for the entire night, which probably isn’t the only downside of this costume…just, try to keep the racist comments to a minimum, okay?

Scare factor: petrifying to anyone who looks at you the wrong way…

Glenelg

The name is a palindrome, it’s the same backwards and forwards – and yes I am grasping as straws here. But you too can be the same backwards and forwards if you just try….

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It’s my face on the back of my head. How could you go wrong?!

Costume requirements: Stick a photo of your own face to the back of your head. Walk with pride. Also a name badge that says Hannah…or…Glenelg, I guess..

Scare factor: I guess this depends on whether people like seeing your face twice or if once is enough…

Sports Fans…

Look, I’m not a sporty person…so passionate sports fans kinda…scare me. They don’t even have to try but recently it’s gotten even worse; Crows fans can’t seem to let go of all the fact that some of their key players are leaving and they’re a bundle of emotion. Heart break and anger can do frighting things to a person, just one of the many reasons to be afraid of sports fans.

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I “borrowed” this mug from a co-worker. Borrowed.

Costume requirements: Sports…stuff. Head to your local op shop for a cheap deal on Port Adelaide merch,as I’m sure many of their ‘true fans’ have jumped off the bandwagon after the season they had.

Scare factor: Did you see Twitter when they officially announced that Dangerfield was leaving?Have you ever sat in the members’ area when the wrong team is winning? I rest my case.

All of my friends…

Leaving Adelaide is just so…Adelaide. You find yourself in your 20s and suddenly there is no worse place to be than Adelaide – apparently. So everyone packs their bags and high tails the fuck out. It’s almost iconic.

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Bye bitches. Taken on a Monday night…I was getting lazy by this point.

Costume requirements: Packed bags and a look of enthusiasm that’ll come in handy when Melbourne’s winter hits hard.

Scare factor: Terrifying. Basically I just want my friends to stop abandoning me.

10 People You’ll Meet on a South Australian Wine Tour

My second post on the FABULOUS Adelady has gone LIVE – read a little teaser here…

Living in Adelaide we’re lucky to be surrounded by some of the best wine regions in the world and boy — don’t we know it! You’d be hard pressed to find a South Aussie who hasn’t indulged in a local wine tour and I’m sure we’ve all got stories to tell. I was once part of a group that featured a girl dressed in a dinosaur onesie. Let me explain,  she’d been at a dress-up party the night before, had accidentally locked herself out of her flat and didn’t have a chance to get changed before the tour. Her hangover kicked in at about 2pm and it was game over.  While that was probably a unique occurrence, you’ll always find plenty of interesting characters on wine tours which is what makes them so much fun.. With that in mind, I present my top ten…

To continue reading, head on over to http://adelady.com.au/10-people-youll-meet-on-an-sa-wine-tour/ where this post was originally published!

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Tattoos – from subcultural rebellion to a mark of high fashion

I haven’t written anything for a while – I’ve been busy! But I have had a few people ask about an essay that I wrote a few years back, exploring how we, as a society interact with tattoos and the tattoo industry so I thought that I would share it. Below is the essay – but keep in mind it was written about four years ago – hopefully you find it interesting though!

From a recognized sign of rebellion to a feature on the pages of Vogue- how has tattooing progressed to become socially acceptable and even fashionable in Western Society? In answering this, explore possible reasons why people may get a tattoo and the relationship between consumerism and fashion tattoos.

In contemporary western society tattooing is no longer the trademark of a subculture- it is now an accessory of the main stream. The industry is a multibillion dollar a year trade and the clientele are from all walks of life (Willett 2010, p271).
The word tattoo is rich in social connotations with a wealth of complex historic discourse surrounding the subject. In order to understand the transformation of this art form, these connotations and discourses will be further explored, as will the nature of the consumer driven aspects of the industry. The culture of tattooing and discourse surrounding it is vast and complex, so for the purpose of this essay mainstream societies use of and connection with tattooing will be the focus, with the concept of tattoo sub-cultures being used as a composite to mainstream consumption.

History:

The art of tattooing and body adornment has a rich cultural history in the Pacific Islands, New Zealand and other regions, such as Africa and Central America but less is known about tattooing amongst the British aristocracy. The Aristocracy and even the Royals are said to have been amongst the very first in western society to embrace the art of tattooing (Currie-McGhee 2006, p6). In the late 19th Century the popularity of tattoos declined among the aristocracy in correlation with Samuel O’Reilly’s invention of a tattoo machine that made the acquisition of tattoos cheaper and quicker. As a result, both the British and American working class adapted the art as their own- making it less appealing to the upper-classes (Currie-McGhee 2006). At this point in history, the risk of needle related diseases and infections were also becoming more evident, contributing toward a fear of the art form (Fedorak, 2009 p75).

By the middle of the 20th century, tattooing was far from a positive fashion statement and was rather a symbol of rebellion, often taken up by groups such as bikers, gang members and criminals. These minority subcultures became the public face of the tattooing movement (Currie-McGhee 2006, p8). The negative discourses surrounding these groups as social deviants became associated with the art that adorned their skin.
Until the 1960s, states Currie-McGhee (2006, pp8-9), when the hippie movement and culture altered the perception of tattooing, it remained a deviant activity. Although popularity and perception of tattoos (and in conjunction, piercings) slowly began to be adapted by the mainstream- including celebrities. The advent of tattooing culture amongst celebrities coincides with tattoos crossing over to mainstream culture, (Levy 2009, p30) 1960s musician, Janis Joplin was one of the first celebrities publicly display tattoos.

In 1999 the world’s biggest toy company, Mattel confirmed the crossover of tattoos as a mainstream fashion item when they released the ‘Butterfly Art Tattoo Barbie Doll’. The doll featured a tattooed stomach and was accompanied by temporary tattoos for children to wear but parental concern accompanied this release and production of the ‘Butterfly Art Tattoo Barbie Doll’ was swiftly stopped- proving that although the trend was in fashion, parents were not ready to let their children be exposed to it (Currie-McGhee 2006, p15).

Health regulation of the tattoo industry has contributed to the increasing popularity and spread of tattooing, with the market now carefully managed, safer and more popular than ever (Willett 2010, p272). As of 2008, ten percent of Australians had tattoos (Brooks, 2008) a percentage that is steadily increasing. That figure is slightly higher in the US with approximately 14 percent of the population joining the trend (Levy 2009, p32). In both the US and Australia, women account for the majority of tattoo consumers, with three in five tattoos being inked on women (Levy 2009, p32) while Levy (2009, p32) found that the fastest growing market for tattoo consumption is upper-class white suburban women. It is undeniable that the industry is on the ascent, being the sixth fastest growing retail industry in the US in the 1990s and catering to the consumer in a way never before seen in the history of the art (Napoleon 2003, p46).

Celebrities, culture and tattoos-a degree of influence:

Today it is not un-common for celebrities to have tattoos. Celebrities are said to hold much influence over trends in contemporary society – as do advertisements and popular culture, so it is no surprise to see that prior to this recent rise in tattooing, body art began to appear first on celebrities and within film, television and various advertisements (Currie-McGhee 2006, p11-12). Now un-tattooed celebrities are in the minority, states Currie McGhee (2006, p12) while recently we have seen the emergence of tattoo artists as celebrities with reality television shows Miami Ink and LA Ink – about the day to day life of a tattoo studio- gaining popularity .

Pierre Bourdieu’s theories about cultural capital apply to the fashion industry- and tattoos are not exempt from this. Cultural capital can be knowledge that gives an individual higher status in society. There are three sub-types of cultural capital, two of which can be applied to the fashion industry and tattoos; embodied cultural capital which is developed as a part of an individual’s habitus- in that an individual develops a refined taste for the finer things (Bourdieu 1986, p 241) – such as a unique piece from a top designer rather than a mass produced piece. Similarly those with knowledge about particular designs and artists may recognize the pieces of particular artists- and these may be viewed in higher regard than tattoos by unknown artists. The second sub-type of cultural capital which applies here is objectified cultural capital; when an object owned by an individual projects a certain level of cultural capital through its symbolism- but the individual must own the object to have this level of cultural superiority (Bourdieu 1986, p 241) – they can not merely view or consume it. In this manner artists become sought after to create the highly regarded works of art, for example, star of LA Ink Kat Von D has become a celebrity in her own right and is sought after for both her talent and fame.

Art and Fashion

The fact that tattooing is currently considered by both the tattooists and consumers to be a form of art is a strong indicator as to the change of discourse surrounding the subject in recent decades (Kjeldgaard 2005, p2). This said, a divide between tattoos as either art or fashion does exist- even though fashion too is often considered to be art. The discourse surrounding the body art of heavily tattooed individuals, argues Kjeldgaard (2005, p2) is vastly different to that surrounding those with only a few- who are considered to be the ones consuming tattoos as a fashion statement. Consumers of fashion tattoos tend not to relate to the artistic aspect of tattoos or the tattooing subcultures that exist and merely wear their tattoo as an accessory rather than a piece of art (Kjeldgaard et al. 2005, p2). Fashion tattoos, states Kjeldgaard et al. (2005, p4) tend to be less about the imagery and meaning behind them and more about merely adorning the body- the choice of the imagery tends to be based more upon aesthetic choice than anything else.
Tattoos have traditionally been viewed by cultural theorists as anti-fashion due to their deviant connotations and the mere fact that permanence is in stark contrast to the ethos of the fashion industry (Kjeldgaard 2005, p5). The appearance of temporary tattoos on the pages of influential fashion magazine Vogue within the 2010 Chanel collection confirmed that the aesthetic of tattoos was in vogue, but as the permanence goes against the ethos of the ever changing industry are consumers ready for the fad to turn on them?

Tattooist Alex Binnie (Cole 2006) stated in a 2006 interview that the mentality and motivation of the heavily tattooed is vastly different to consumers of what we call ‘fashion tattoos’. Binnie stated that heavily tattooed individuals tend to have complex psychological reasons for getting inked, while consumers of fashion tattoos- while considering the design and decision carefully- tend to make this choice with more influence from the opinions of society that from within their personal belief system (Cole 2006). – So perhaps consumers of tattoos as a fashion trend are not ready- so why do they get inked and what influence does consumerism – and it’s weapon, marketing- have on individuals choices?

Why get ‘inked’?

In recent years, the human body has begun to be viewed as something that has the potential to be modified and improved, and as such can be a site for self expression (Kjeldgaard et al. 2005, p1). When designing an individual tattoo, the experience gives the consumer the chance to express themself and when the tattoo relates to a life event it can act as specific memory as well as a part of the story of a person (Kjeldgaard et al. 2005, p3). Velliquette et al. (1998, p464) found that “using the tattoo to express the inner self” was the most commonly stated reason for acquiring a tattoo. When selected for this reason, the tattoo becomes a part of the system of signs that help to create the public persona of an individual (Velliquette et al. 1998, p464).

In contemporary society, as tattoos are broadly accepted, the mentality of getting inked in order to offend and stand in opposition to the rest of society is not generally reason enough to get a tattoo. Napoleon (2003, p43) states that in order for this social tactic to succeed the surrounding culture must be of the opinion that this is indeed anti-cultural behaviour, a belief that contemporary western society does not subscribe to.
Napoleon offers one reason that women-uniquely young women who are the biggest consumers of tattoos- especially get tattooed is because they feel the need to “garner attention and feel special” (2003p 46). He states that being “sexy” simply isn’t enough to stand out in today’s society in which we are bombarded with images of beautiful people 24/7- but he argues that this motive is generally combined with other motives.

There are of course a myriad of reasons as to why individuals choose to tattoo their skin indeed they may choose to use the experience its self as reason enough (Kjeldgaard 2005, p5) and this may create the meaning behind the tattoo. Heavily tattooed individuals may use the opportunity as an act of play (Kjeldgaard 2005, p5) while the pain felt may constitute for reason enough to experience tattooing (Levy 2009, p 36). When analysing the inclusion of tattoos in fashion magazines, including Vogue, Emily Hill stated “I am tattooed, therefore I am”- a play on a philosophical theory- implying that many who do choose fashion tattoos do not select them for the above reason, but merely as a flippant fashion statement.

Alex Binnie (Cole 2006, p4) ponders the same notion as Hill, stating that tattooing is “more about cultural expression” than individual expression- a statement which makes for interesting consideration- as there has been a cultural move to accept tattooing this has created a cultural environment in which tattooing is more normalized than ever before. Only recently, Binnie (Cole 2006, p8) states, has tattooing even considered the individual (as a result of becoming a consumer driven venture)- previously it was considered a cultural expectation when being a part of a cultural group- i.e. sailors and criminals were expected to use the art form to express their belonging to their particular groups- but this begs the question; if tattooing becomes a part of the fashion discourse and culture will it be an expectation of the culture the of hip and fashionable to be tattooed?

Consumerism and Tattoos:

In contemporary western culture- unlike other cultures previously mentioned, such as Pacific Islander culture- markings tend not to designate specifically shared cultural meanings- unless cultural symbols are used, which as Willett (2010,p271) states is becoming less common. This allows for more variation, choice, and individuality- which are ultimately what consumers are after when making an identity related purchase. The dominant characteristic of the current era of tattooing, is choice-in terms of both deigns and artists (Atkinson 2003, p46). “Consumers embody a simple modern logic, the right to choose” (Gabriel et al. 1995, p1) and the variety of designs and artists now available embody this sentiment. Atkinson’s (2003, p47) research found that a common declaration amongst the tattooists of Canada is “If you can think it up, I can do it”, this statement represents the artists’ commitment to broad cultural attitudes, demonstrating a sentiment that is essential to the survival of free market economy- being that the customer is always right (Atkinson 2003, p47).
Tattoo artists are setting up shop in communities that are overrun by “young, hip affluent adolescents and professionals, quiet simply the business is going where the demand and money exists” (Atkinson 2003, p47). Understanding this phenomenon has become an important focus- marketers know that it is essential for them to understand the signs (such as tattoos) that consumers use and the corresponding social capital of such signs (Velliquette et al. 1998, p461). It has been argued, states Kjeldgaard et al. (2005, p1) that in mainstream society tattoos have become such a consumer phenomenon that in fact to some extent tattoos are almost considered passé. Some argue that tattooing has become comparable to other consumer practises that are merely utilized as practises to beatify one’s body in line with current fashion norms (Kjeldgaard et al. 2005, p1).
Consumers are difficult to predict and as a collective can contradict themselves, being rational and irrational, individualistic and driven by social norms (Gabriel et al. 1995) but it is clear from the nature of the tattoo industry that it is attempting to adapt to a consumer driven society. Tattooing however does not conform to the norms of consumerism, as it is finite in that individuals seeking fashion tattoos tend not to be heavy consumers- visiting a tattoo parlour maybe only once or twice. A consumer driven economy depends upon regular and repeat consumption to continue, so to participate in this the tattoo industry must depend upon attracting more new clients constantly. Acceptance in society is assisting in this occurring and the industry growing.

Perceptions in Society:

In contrast to those with multiple tattoos, consumers of fashion tattoos tend to have a more modest view and understand and even sympathise with the views of those who still consider tattoos to be a deviant activity (Kjeldgaard et al. 2005, p4). These people consider themselves a part of the mainstream culture- and not separate to it (Kjeldgaard et al. 2005, p4). Often these tattoos can be hidden so the negative stigma sometimes (although rarely) attached may not be constant (Kjeldgaard et al. 2005, p4).

Atkinson (2003, p61) touches on the subject of media representations of tattooing in western society and states that the theme underlying a majority of the current media stories about tattooing is that of the practises new found popularity. Producers of various forms of media- including magazines, newspapers and television documentaries- have recognized the popularity and used this to attract consumers of their information. In this case the media discourse is both a reflection of the culture and an integral part of it (Atkinson 2003, p65).
Previously media discourse surrounding the topic predominantly described deviant behaviour amongst consumers and focussed heavily upon the negative aspects of tattoos- such as the permanency and risk of illness- and although these media articles are still circulated, Atkinson found that they were in the decline (Atkinson, 2003, p62).
The marketing sector have also recognized the popularity of tattooing and have used this knowledge to their advantage, in the last decade aligning products that are directed at a youthful market with the “hip looking, skin flashing” generation of new consumers by including images of them in their campaigns (Atkinson 2003, p62). The inclusion of these images in advertising campaigns plays on the old discourses of deviance and the new discourses of tattoos as fashion items to position their products as cutting edge, chic and rebellious (Atkinson 2003, p62). This use within the advertising industry is a reflection of the general social discourse surrounding the topic- a mix of old and new opinions of body art, mixing together to represent an aspect of why tattoos are so popular today- they are chic because they are still slightly risqué and rebellious.

In Conclusion:

Historical summaries help us to recognize the points in history at which change occurs and an understanding of the broader social context of the time helps to explain why these things occur. Some things however cannot be fully or simply explained- tattooing is one of these things. We have found some explanation for the popularity of tattoos, in recognizing the influence of celebrities and pop culture, and the ability of the industry to adapt to consumers needs. We have established some reasons for consumers to make the decision to get ‘inked’ but these are much more complex than can easily be explained. Fashion trends often baffle the mainstream at first, and then become naturalized before they become passé. Perhaps tattoos in the mainstream will do just this, but only time will tell.

 

References:

Atkinson, M 2003, Tattoo, the sociogenesis of body art, University of Toronto Press, Toronto

Bourdieu, P 1986 “The Forms of Capital”, Handbook for Theory and research for the Sociology of Education, Greenwood Press, CA

Brooks, C 2008, “Desecration of the Depraved and Despised”, The Courier Mail, viewed online May 7th 2011, http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/opinion/desecration-of-the-depraved/story-e6frerdf-1111116871652

Cole, A 2006, ‘Interview with Alex Binnie, Into You, Farringdon, London, November 14, 2001 and June 15, 2005’, Fashion Theory: The Journal of Dress, Body & Culture, 10, 3, pp. 351-359, viewed online May 7th 2011, http://web.ebscohost.com.ezlibproxy.unisa.edu.au/ehost/detail?sid=6669ca47-ae7c-47e3-ac21-aa06b07274be%40sessionmgr112&vid=1&hid=105&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=aph&AN=22666216

Currie-McGhee, L 2006, Tattoos and Body Piercing, Thomson Gale, MI

Fedorak, S 2009, Pop Culture: The Culture of Everyday Life, University of Toronto Press, Toronto

Gabriel, Y & Lang, T 1995, The Unmanageable Consumer, Sage, London

Hill, E 2008, “I Ink therefore I am”, Guardian.co.uk, viewed online May 7th 2011, http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/jul/16/fashion

Kjeldgaard, D, Bengtsson, A 2005, ‘Consuming The Fashion Tattoo’, Advances in Consumer Research, vol. 32, no. 1, viewed online May 3rd 2011, http://web.ebscohost.com.ezlibproxy.unisa.edu.au/ehost/detail?vid=4&hid=108&sid=877d0731-b1c1-449e-bc61-f715e41f85b4%40sessionmgr104&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=bth&AN=18936309

Levy, J 2009, Tattoos in Modern Society, Rosen Publishing Group, NY

Napoleon, A 2003, Awakening Beauty: An Illustrated Look at Mankind’s Love and Hatred of Beauty, Virtualbookworm.com Publishing inc., TX

Velliquette, A, Murray, J, Creyer, E 1998, “The Tattoo Renaissance: An Ethnographic Account of Symbolic Consumer Behaviour”, Advances in Consumer Research, vol 25, no 1, viewed online May 7th 2011, http://web.ebscohost.com.ezlibproxy.unisa.edu.au/ehost/detail?sid=71fbbd88-3678-43f6-be66-815a1ed32bbc%40sessionmgr110&vid=1&hid=105&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=bth&AN=988798

Willett, J 2010, The American Beauty Industry Encyclopaedia, Greenwood Press, CA

Bibliography:

Nava, M 1992, Changing Cultures: Feminism, Youth and Consumerism, Sage, London

RiotGirlzp27- Tattoos a permanent fashion trend 2008, Youtube, viewed May 15th 2011, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GrnlX0nKpow

Russia Today- Tattoos: From prison insignia to fashion fad 2007, Youtube, viewed May 15th 2011, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eEXY2SHse1M&feature=related

Sullivan, N 2001, Tattooed Bodies: Subjectivity, Textuality, Ethics and Pleasure, Prager, CT

The Escape Room

Does voluntarily having yourself locked in a dark room for an hour just sound too good to resist? Then maybe you should go check out an Escape Room!
Last Friday, I elected to be locked in said room with my Mum, my aunty and my 15 year old cousin – completely unaware of what to expect! My friend Tiff had told me about them after giving one a go in Budapest – the unofficial capital of Escape Rooms. Apparently there are over 130 in the city of Budapest alone. We were in Melbourne, where there are 8 locations, and we took on a room in one of the newest locations. Our room was called ‘Lost in Paradise’ –and there wasn’t exactly anything too paradise like about it! That’s not to say it wasn’t great fun – it was in fact awesome! I can’t wait to try another one again sometime soon – and the best thing is, there’s one opening in Adelaide really soon! I’m so keen to give it a go – but why, I hear you ask, would I again choose to be locked in a dark room for an hour, to face the challenge of trying to get out of it?
Well why not?! The aim of the game is to follow a series of clues, unlock boxes, answer lateral thinking questions and figure out how to get out before the time is up. This means working as a team, figuring out the strengths of each member of your group and delegating as such. I’m not that great at using the lateral part of my brain sometimes (especially when I’m on holidays) so I immediately took on the role of investigator and delegator (because I’m a bossy bitch!), finding clues and hints and passing them out, whilst trying to help where I could. While we didn’t make it out in our allotted time – it took us just over 65 minutes in total and we had rather a bit of help from the game operator via a walkie talkie (you can request to have no help if you like), it was still a rad experience.
Like I said, I can’t wait to go again, so who wants to get a team together and dominate an Escape Room with me?! Promise not to be too bossy…!

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The rap battle to end all others.

Sooooo the weather is coming in a little bit average – that cold wet stuff is falling from the sky and many people are retreating indoors, my friend Moe included. The other day, I ‘innocently’ tweeted him – something about catching up that night or what have you, however, possibly in this chilly, indoor induced boredom he took my friendly tweet as a threat. What followed was an intense all out rap battle (via Twitter). I feel that there was no clear winner (I’m saying this, but deep down I feel that I won) so I’m sharing this with the word to help find a winner. Feel free to comment and let me know who you think won – my comments are in bold (because I’m the boldest, duh). Also to help give you a better idea about who we are, see these pictures that help represent us – first up, Moe;

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He’s the one in the Snow White one and all the ladies make-up, with the drunk guy passed out on top of him…
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Here he is (once again) partially dressed in women’s clothing…the rest is just….frightening
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Here he is, making fun of a culture that is not his own…what a jerk.
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and here’s an image that may explain what happened to all those missing back packers…

And just to remind you of who I am….

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Here I am, literally carrying another human person on my back, because I am just that selfless.
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Here I am, voluntarily delivering an inspirational speech – it was so moving that at the end, a wheelchair bound woman who hadn’t walked for ten years took her first steps…
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Look at me, I’m classy yet I am still ‘one of the people’…
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This one time I brought a dead fox back to life, just by patting it.

Now without further ado, see below for the battle to begin…..

@MoeLiebelt pal, mate, friend, buddy you are so off the mark it’s not even funny

@AliNorts oh daymmmn dis turnin into a rap battle now?! Don’t put your ass on the line, you got no class, if class was in you’d be schooled

@MoeLiebelt ouch that burn was hot but you are not and your rhymes? Get with the times. Mess with me, you’ll fail the test.

@AliNorts test? Please. Don’t mess with the best. You wanna measure up? Get in line with the rest. I’ll watch from the top, feeling blessed

@MoeLiebelt the best you say, don’t make me laugh, your rhymes are so bad even street dogs barf who even writes em? Slave labour staff?

@AliNorts Slavery? That’s all u got? Time for the cot. U think your rhymes r pretty funny? I’ll send u to mummy she’ll give you your dummy

@MoeLiebelt you mentioned my mother, how bout I give a shout to your brother?! Even after tinnies he’s more coherent than you, do I stutter?

@AliNorts dunno if you stutter, nobody’ll notice. It’s me they want surely you know this? So please sit down, enjoy the show miss.

@MoeLiebelt a little bit of modesty can go a long way, it’s a lesson you better learn fast or this miss will make you pay.

@AliNorts miss I think you’re mistaken. These rhymes got you shakin’? Thanks for participatin, but it’s me you’ll be payin’

@MoeLiebelt it ain’t over til I say so, when I’m done you’ll be wailing like you subbed yo toe!

@AliNlorts u stil here? Thought I was alone. Bout time you were shown to the retirement home.

@MoeLiebelt says you old man! You tryin’ to give me the flip? I’m worried you’ll break a hip.

@AliNorts if you weren’t so young I’d flip you the bird. Now have you heard? It’s nap time, hush child, don’t say a word

@MoeLiebelt With youth on my side, I’ll take all your challenges in my stride. I’ll bring the truth and put a dent in your pride.

@AliNorts youth is fine, but on this stage youth ain’t worth a dime. You rhyme so bad it should be a crime deep down u know I ain’t lyin

@MoeLiebelt cut the bullshit and get to the point, I wanna throw your sad sorry ass, outta this joint.

@AliNorts lame, tame Alicia Jane. Don’t be a pain, go play in the rain.

@MoeLiebelt Moe rhymes with hoe, got spend that money on one named joe.

@AliNorts *rolls eyes, face palm* must your rhymes be so calm? All you get is burn like chillies in your lip balm

@MoeLiebelt you want crazy? Well I can go loco, you talentless little mofo.

@AliNorts your sanity we need not mention, knew u were crazy from the moment u stepped in, best step back out and quit your frettin

@MoeLiebelt I’ll never step back, I’ll never back down because unlike you I ain’t no clown.

@AliNorts true. I open my mouth, it’s laughter you’re hearin, but it ain’t at me, it’s for you they feelin

@MoeLiebelt bitch at what you even playin?! If you spoke less words maybe more girls you would be layin…..

@AliNorts and if you think less bout me layin and more bout your words you’d be more than just playin you’d be here to be heard

@MoeLiebelt hear me loud, hear me clear, if you don’t get a lady soon, we’ll start to think you’re queer

@AliNorts I hear hate speech, please mate don’t preach. Your homophobia ain’t adorable it’s dumb’n damn deplorable

@MoeLiebelt fine, for that I apologise but quit kiddin, no more lies. You need to get it together bro, not soon but pronto!

@AliNorts I’m together, I’m with it, you see for me the sky’s the limit. But from you I hear no wit just tired tit bits

@MoeLiebelt You call me tired? I’m wide awake and with what I could drop, you should be ready to quiver and shake.

@AliNorts a shake would be nice, and some fries. It’s comfortable here watching you try

@MoeLiebelt either way I”m doing better than you, it’s as if you’ve given up, admit defeat, you know it’s true.

@AliNorts I’m not defeated it’s you who’s retreated. You’re nothing more now than deflated and depleted

@MoeLiebelt please mother licker, I’m faster stronger and fitter, than you or anyone else who dares think they can rap quicker.

@AliNorts I spit quick running backwards up Lofty. So fit you can’t stop me, believe it, just watch me.

@MoeLiebelt think you can beat me, you’ll need more than your fitness, I’m whippin ya so good – just ask God, he’s my witness.

@AliNorts you can’t whip what you can’t catch. I’m so far ahead and you’re no match. Ain’t your fault, I’m the best of the batch

@MoeLiebelt attacking my skills? At least I pay my bills, I’m climbing up hills and returning loans on time, making me pretty damn sublime.

@AliNorts your skills? There’re none to attack. My accounts are all in the black. Get back to work, quit talking smack out your crack

@MoeLiebelt work you say? like it’s something u know, your lazy ass sitting out while you watch my rhymes flow, easy just like a Hindley hoe

@AliNorts I’ve never met a hoe from Hindley, nice to meet you, thank you kindly. You say you’re easy? Must charge a low feeeeeeeeee

@MoeLiebelt oh no you did not, you filthy foul rot – but I’m surprised, I see through your lies – aren’t those the gals giving you ur highs?

@AliNorts I don’t need no highs my skills tower over you. You think you’re all that but you got no follow through

@MoeLiebelt I would follow thru but i’m not into physical violence so when I hit u with my rhymes and I hear only silence that’s my triumph

@AliNorts your hits all miss, you’ve met your measure, but I’m here to educate, it’s my pleasure

@MoeLiebelt learning from you? Couldn’t think of anything worse! You’re so bad it makes me wanna curse!

@AliNorts listen fool you’re being schooled. So far you’ve just drooled, at your feet it’s pooled and every rhyme you’ve spat I’ve overruled

@MoeLiebelt You’ve had your fun, but it’s time this battle was won, admit defeat, son you’re all done – back to mummy you should run

@MoeLiebelt You been silent a while, looks like I’ve won by a mile! I’ll see ya at 5.30 for dinner, then you can gaze on a winner!

@AliNorts she’s stupider she’s from Jupiter

@MoeLiebelt he’s a prick apparently he has a small dick

So who do you think won? Comment below or tweet either of us #rapbattle to let us know!