Daniel George Leslie Skuse (1938-2009)…
What a week that was, when the world learned the sad news that the beautiful movie star Farrah Fawcett, and music icon Michael Jackson had passed away within hours of each other on the 25th of June 2009.
Indeed I was sitting by my computer in the early hours of the 26th just minding my own business and reading about the King of pops sad demise, when I heard that tattooing legend Danny Skuse had also died.
And I’m not joking, but this shocked me more then the news about Mr Jackson, for not only was Danny a member of the most famous tattooing family in British tattoo history, he was more then that to me, he was a friend, and a man, who I was lucky enough to have spent quite a bit of time with over the years at tattooing conventions home and abroad.
Danny who was born on the 21st of February 1938, had an incredible amount of knowledge regarding tattooing history, and he didn’t mind sharing it with the old guard or any of the new young bloods entering into today’s rocking n rolling tattooing profession.
Indeed whenever Danny turned up in the United States, Japan or at any one of the number of European tattoo conventions he took in, it seemed to be more youngsters then anyone else, who made a beeline towards him to say hello and have a quick chat, proving just how well thought of he was. Even though with his very thick West Country accent, saw many walking away thinking, what did he just say, but happy that he said anything at all to them.
Oh yes I could tell you many a funny story about being Ron (Ackers) and Danny’s (well, not really Danny’s) pusher of the wheelchair and maker of the tea, for I had some great times with the pair of them.
We (me and Danny) did have our moments though (just like all good friends do) and I can still remember the time me and Danny decided to have a walk around the Spanish city of Madrid and promptly getting lost, which resulted in ‘I told you we should have went that way and I’m never going street walking with you ever again’ sort of talk coming from the pair of us who thought we knew better then each other. And when later on that night words were said in a very nice Spanish restaurant that made Danny jump up and punch me full in the face nearly knocking me off my seat, which I wouldn’t have minded so much, but Danny was getting on at the time and I was a young fit good looking bloke. Luckily no damage was done and I still retained me good looks and we soon kissed and made up.
Danny started tattooing by hand with his late father (Les) at the age of 16 in 1954, and by 18 he became a lot more involved in the business. And to gain a bit more experience with guys nearer his own age, Danny moved on to tattoo with Johnny O’Brien and Ron Ackers in the West Midlands City of Birmingham, England. After this came another move, this time to the South Coast of Brighton, before Danny and Carol (his new wife) decided to go back to Bristol, where Danny tattooed on Sundays and on the occasional week night at his Dads place. He also took charge of Les’s studio when Les went on holiday and in 1970/71 Danny started running the shop at 71 Mina Road full time, as Les was starting to suffer ill health, and sadly passed away on the 14th of June 1973.
Danny who was a born fighter alright, and during the last few years of his life he suffered a brain tumour, prostate cancer and later he had to have a triple heart by pass, died peacefully of a chest infection at 2.25 am on Friday the 26th of June 2009, and is survived by his wife Carol, son’s Jimmie, Nicky and daughter Julie as well as grandchildren and great grandchildren.
He had also just finished a stencil book of tattooing designs a short while before he passed away, and it should with any luck become available via the ‘King Pin Tattoo’ studio in the United States hopefully very soon.
It’s was also a well known fact to me, that two of Danny’s proudest moments were that he came from a third generation of tattoo artists and that in 1955 (aged 17) on the 13th of July he saved the life of a drowning woman in the river ‘Frome’ at Blackberry Hill, Stapleton and received a bravely award from ‘The Royal Humane Society’
Danny’s funeral took place at the ‘Westerleigh Crematorium’ Westerleigh Road, Bristol on the 8th of July 2009 at 1.30pm, and he will be sadly missed.
And now all that is left for me to say is, it doesn’t really matter whatever your thoughts of Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett are, it’s just so sad when anyone passes over no matter who they are. And I for one thought Farrah was lovely and Michael was great, but for me Danny Skuse was the real deal and even greater.
So mate if you are with Ronnie now, tell him for me, that I’ll see you both there myself one day, and what a bloody good convention that will be. And I won’t be making the tea or pushing that bloody wheelchair.
Copyright Paul Sayce 2009