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Thefe are two (another year

So as the country finally managed to thaw out from its icy grip of winter, I was eager for a weekend of inky fun and frolics. The sun shone and as I walked up to the Manchester Central (formerly the G-Mex), The venue soared above me like some giant piece of rollercoaster, with its huge cast iron dome arcing up into the cloudless blue sky, I could feel this was going to be yet another great weekend of tattoos, talk and time to catch up with friends to see the new ink that had been acquired during the previous year.

The organisers of the Manchester show have quite literally come to the front when it comes to putting on a convention. In previous years the show was held in what some might say were the 'shabby chic-surroundings of the Piccadilly Hotel in the centre of town. The hotel shows were great fun and somewhat 'intimate' but it soon became obvious that the venue was too small and Jorge and the crew took the bold move to up sticks and move to the Manchester Central. For the first year the show was held in the back portion of the venue, but over the past three years as the show has increased in popularity and size, moved forward to the middle and this year, it finally made it to the front of the building. The Manchester tattoo show had arrived.

As the Skin Deep crew and myself pulled up to unload our goods and chattels, I noticed a certain air of calm inside the vast edifice that is the Centre. I looked around, and saw folk taking things easy, wandering about with coffees in their hands and chatting to old friends and making new acquaintances, "This can't be right" I thought, where are all the people running around frantically trying the get the last odds and sods finished before the doors open?" It was quite unnerving. All the booths were up and the large skate ramp was built, the stage was set up with large TV screens to relay the weekends' action were working, the food area was already serving food and drinks wafting out a tantalising aroma of home cooked food, reminding me I had not had breakfast, things just seemed too relaxed.

I should really have known; Jorge and his crew really are old hands at this game.

This year was the nintli Manchester Tattoo Show so these guys know exactly

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what they are doing and I didn't see a single hitch or problem all weekend that wasn't insurmountable. I mean, the power went of in my photo booth but no sooner than I had mentioned it to a passing member of staff, than an electrician appeared and fixed the problem in a second, such was the efficiency of the staff. I dare say that there was an awful lot of running around and coming and going had gone on prior to the traders and tattooists arriving but that what makes the difference between an okay tattoo show and a really good one. This was most definitely the later of the two.

With the booth set up and a welcome coffee in hand, I wandered back out into the sunshine to see what was happening O

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