All posts by probablynotadam

Tattoo industry set to fade?

By Adam Hopkin

Despite being done in a studio that holds a worrying resemblance to a hospital in a 3rd world country, or during a “sick time” in Magaluf, some people will swear by their ink. But whilst their “professionally” done sleeve may be timeless the tattoo industry as a whole is starting to fade.

“Tattoo removal is the largest growth sector in cosmetic procedures, not just in the UK but worldwide,” states Dr Tapan Patel, Medical director of PHI Clinic. This is arguably down to being passed off in that big job interview because you thought the stars behind your ear made you look hard, and according to a 2014 study 71% of employers stated tattoos would be enough to not sire someone. Dr Andrew R Timing of the university of ST Andrews tells the Telegraph that the business of tattoo removal “is largely driven” by “employment considerations”.

However In the UK there is expected to be around 20 million people that have gone under the needle and had at least one tattoo. Brits are booking themselves in for an estimated 1.5 million pieces each year, giving the industry a value of £80 million. This could be due to less of a stigma in the workplace and on the streets around owning some ink.

Writer Jesse Borg tells the Huffinton post that its all just a sign of a more open minded culture in the times we live in, “Getting tattoos is more about fitting in by standing out… There may, and probably will come a time when they are just as taboo as before.” 

Image source

Junkyard golf is a hole in one

By Adam Hopkin

Sometimes the bigger questions in life should not be pondered by the noble philosophers and thinkers of the world but by those who ask, “how can crazy golf be made any more crazy?”

For those forward thinking enough to want an answer to that question, you can safely remover your clever caps now.

Junk yard Golf is the pop up phenomenon in Manchester’s Great Northern Warehouse taking the skill and calibre of the elite sport and plunging it into into a world of cocktail induced missed swings, rave music and enough successful Ebay biddings to build a fort and slide (literally).

Dreamt up by B.EAT STREET, the two course and 18 holes are put together with all manors of weird and wonderful objects found in charity shops and Ebay, in what seems like a Frat parties take on art attack. After a short three week run in late 2015 proved to be incredibly popular the course has made its return with the newer second course Gertrude joining the original course Fred.

The second course doesn’t just bring another 9 holes to the party. Its raises the bar with a UV, neon techno-rave room with special appearance from Darth Vader himself, because who else would DJ this scene. 

For me it checked all of the boxes, slides , climbing frames sharks and even a star wars themed hole ingeniously named “Jabba the putt”. As clever as the pun may be, sinking the ball past that smug bastard after using his face to stop your mini golfing progress was almost as satisfying as it was rage inducing.

Of course after a few drinks professionally putting your way around both of the courses is going to take a couple of hours, and with cocktails being available throughout your mini golf career, the junk yard may hold potential for an amazing pre drinks opportunity. Alcohol will do nothing to help those thinking that the junk yard is a quick and easy course either, the first 9 holes tormented me all the way into triple figures, although how far I will never share. 

Featured image sourced from @aalvilss twitter page.

Turkish barbers, A shave too close?

By Adam Hopkin

Becoming widely known for their seemingly unorthodox methods of hair removal, Turkish Barbers are a far cry from the more feminine techniques of waxing and threading by introducing the manliest element of all, fire. Admittedly the thought of flames going anywhere near my face immediately recall the nightmare that was high school chemistry class, but when carried out with a pair of professional and steady hands a close shave with disaster can be avoided.

The practice of “Singeing” may have originated in Turkey but has been transforming the safety of salons  into the thrill seekers chop shop over recent years. This often involves lighting cotton or a wand soaked in alcohol and then scorching your OAP styled ear protrusions away.

Having had my fill of excitement for the day I opted for a no mess, standard hair cut, besides this was a barbers after all. But after a quick scan of the available cuts they also offered beard trims and tidies with another method determined to resurface, the cut throat razor.

During my brief time inside the shop I managed to see the owner Kaz lather up and cut away a few nose neighbours using the straight cut razor. ” In Turkey we start at a really young age, about 10 or 12″ Kaz explains but his training does more than justify such youthful beginnings. ” Holding the towel takes 2 years, just watching your master cut hair and then very slowly you begin to cut it over 7 years.”

Claiming to offer an “excellent example of Turkish hospitality” in a salon where “east meets west”, the Turkish Barbers Shop on Preston’s Fishergate Hill certainly delivered on all of these promises.  

To see what happened when I headed inside click here or watch the video below.

Video and featured image taken by Adam Hopkin.

EU tax set to stub out the e-cig

By Adam Hopkin

Despite meeting lobbyist resistance in Brussels the European Commission has unanimously voted to draft legislation ultimately ramping up the cost of electronic cigarettes to match that of its tobacco counterparts. Set to be completed by 2017 the proposals are set to change the amount of tax charged on the popular “cigalike” devices, almost doubling their price from around £23 to £54.

In spite of the demand for e-cigarettes sorrowing in recent years through their status as a “healthier” alternative to smoking, the European Commission would like to see the current 20% VAT match the 77% currently imposed on a normal pack of smokes. Its hard to not see this as little more as an extra ploy for revenue through tax as e-cigs are often marketed as a medium for smokers to quit that feels more natural than a nicotine patch or gum.

The Charity Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) argues that this will cause great damage to the public’s health after almost 900,000 Britons have successfully quit smoking using the e-cig. Additionally researchers from the University college London reported that the use of an electronic cigarette increases the chance of kicking the habit by as much as 50%.

“If the EU were to require states to ta electronic cigarettes like tobacco products it would be detrimental to public health” disputes ASH representative Deborah Arnott, “it would discourage smokers from switching.”

However the potential increase in price may come as great news to those who believe vaping is nothing more than an all to accessible gateway to smoking and that they should be available with behavioural support to ensure that the end result is more than a couple less drags each day.

Expressing she is “disappointed” with the EU deciding to concentrate on the smoking deterrent, Florence Berteletti of the Smoke Free Partnership, says that more should be done in order to “prevent young people from starting smoking.”

Featured image under Creative Commons licence: Source 

Do large development teams take advantage for the modding community?

By Adam Hopkin

As one of the more appealing motivations for trading away that gaming console in favour for the pc elitist cap and badge, community made modifications are deeply routed inside gamings history and yet development teams are repeatedly using these “mods” to exploit their own player base.

With development kits giving the player base access to the bare components of a game, they then hold ability to reconstruct and sometimes revolutionise its core aspects, giving way to new textures, game areas and in the case of the popular “Elder scrolls” and “Fallout” series, entirely new stroylines. These projects consume hundreds of hours of a modding teams time and yet it is often a labour of love, leaving them unpaid for their work that is now potentially keeping players active.

aalve software, owners of pc game retailer come “premier online gaming platform”, “Steam” and masterminds behind the hugely recognised ” Valve” game engine have somewhat pioneered what is possible by working with the players.

Describing itself as a “central hub” for player created content the “Steam workshop” is home to millions (yes millions) of modifications, ranging from a new hat for your character or slightly greener grass.

But if creating an entire gaming medium around your audience isn’t enough in 2011 Valve CEO and internet celebrity, Gabe Newell announced that developers could now not only input their creations into games but now charge for their service. This addition of an optional donation to the mods development team has raised a massive £399,900,37.77 between 2011 and january 2015.

Commenting on this leap for creators Newel stated “Our goal is to make modding better for the authors and gamers, if something doesn’t help with that, it will get dumped.” But this is more than just hot air from another company, these claims are supported by Valve’s long history of supporting creators, as some of its most popular titles to date, the”counter strike” and “team fortress”series started out as mods before becoming the face of the company.

Featured image under Creative Commons licence: Source