Adam O'Grady

Übermensch Tattoo

My first tattoo I got done when I was about 20, something I’d wanted for about four years leading up to it. I’d always been set on the word “Übermensch”, partially due to it featuring in a hardcore/gabber song I loved, partially due to seeing stylised versions of it as tattoos on the frontperson of Psyclon Nine, Nero Bellum, and partially because my readings into the term showed it differently to how it is often seen now. I saw the term as referring to someone who transcended existing human structures and systems - not as the “Superman” archetype that reinforced traditional roles, and ethics, the conservative bastion - but as someone progressive who wanted to change humanity for the better, elevate us all to new heights.

Unfortunately in more recent years it’s been taken over by some right wing/white supremacist chuds - a group of people who should all drink bleach to help purify the gene pool. Which goes to show, never get any sort of tattoo because eventually the symbol will be wrongfully used by some group of fuckers and you don’t want to be tarred with that brush.

I got this done by a lovely friend of mine who was apprenticing at the time, and we agreed to do it at her house. We lacked some good transfer paper but we made do and we’d had a few glasses of wine (let’s be honest, goon) and got to the business of it. It was by far my most enjoyable tattoo experience; we chatted and laughed and the sensation was more akin to uncomfortable pressure then any sort of real pain.

However after it was done she let me investigate the work and I noticed a slight problem.

We’d misspelt it.

We’d totally forgotten the “n”.

My tattoo said “Übermesch”.

I don’t have any pictures of it at the time, but I told her not to worry and soothed her (she was understandably freaking out) and told her I’d sort it out. I subsequently went home and hopped in the shower with some steel wool and a scalpel and scrubbed and sliced until I got a fair portion of the last part of the word removed. I let it heal over the following month or two and then went back to her to get it re-done and it all went smoothly from there (you can still see some of the old lettering around the edges).

Übermensch Tattoo