Former business at the corner of Elgin/Emily and Bridge Street
Fort weeks I checked newspaper archives and there was nothing about tattooing in Carleton Place. I even checked the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum and there was nothing in the data base- even under the word “sailor”. So what did people do if they wanted tattoos in Carleton Place? Quite simply they went out of town. I am sure someone was doing them in a back room on some side street- but no one is giving up the information. Carleton Place wanted nothing to do with this industry of sin.
Certain sectors of economic activity are more or less respectable, some more or less acceptable than others. Gambling, drinking, prostitution, and tattoos were the top four in Carleton Place even though were many a crap game being run in the back room of the hotels and businesses on Bridge Street.
Today the industries of sin are: nuclear energy, arms, oil, tobacco and chemicals other less egregiously harmful industries such as the fast-food industries, tourism, pharmaceuticals, insurance, the stock exchange and even banks are also under attack and increasingly branded as “sin” industries.
Body Graphics Tattoo was the first business tattoo business to open up on Carleton Place. Next February 1st 2016 will be exactly 30 years Body Graphics Tattoo has been open in Carleton Place. Believe you me it wasn’t easy. They were not welcome in the town of Carleton Place and had their business on Townline, Charles and then Pete permanently located on Bridge Street.
For those of you body modification novices there is tattoo history in this shop with one of the chairs being formerly owned by Ottawa’s legendary tattoo artist Blue. They even still have some of his old equipment. In the Ottawa Valley Tattoo world that’s like owning Mackenzie’s King’s wardrobe.
Pete’s son now works with him carrying on the family business and has been a local body piercer for over 22 years. Still, it doesn’t matter how times have changed the elder population of Carleton Place still think that devil worshipers work there.
Of course I have many stories about controversial piercings, but instead of embarrassing anyone to the point of a lawsuit I will tell my own that happened right here in Carleton Place.
The Nose Piercing
I was asked to make and serve Siminel cake one Mothering Sunday after the church service. A Siminel cake is nothing but a glorified light fruit cake covered in Marzipan. I had just gotten my first nose stud put in that week, and it was becoming loose, and looking a tad infected. After I served the fifth piece of cake, an old man came up to me with a big smile wearing a thick wool allergy ridden sweater. I began to sneeze, and then I let one out that was nothing short of gale force.
Howard McNeely’s Barber Chair that once resided in this location
You can all guess what happened next. That little rhinestone nose stud took one giant leap for mankind, right across the front of the church. I didn’t falter, I did not sway, but I did let out a scream that was heard through out the whole town.
“Don’t anyone move!” I yelled. I have lost my nose stud, and no more cake until it’s found!”
The strange part is no one blinked an eye. Immediately they looked down and tried to find it. One little old lady started picking at something with her cane and said,
“Is this it dear?” and she started to giggle.
She took her cane and launched it across the rug in one fell swoop like she was trying to get a hole in one. I grabbed it, smiled, and resumed the serving of the Siminel Cake.
Would Howard McNeely– whose barber chair once sat in this very building be horrified now that a tattoo parlour sits in his former location? You bet your sweet bippy he would!:)