That's a simple question with a complicated answer. Better to just let Permanent Mark himself break it down for you.
I was born in Libya North Africa to a father in the SAS and a mother who could not be more opposite. She was an artist and occasionally a tarot card reader who would not accept money.
My earliest memories growing up next to the Sahara desert, was of my nanny called momma, who wore the full black caftan, and adoring full face and hand tattoos, all of which were applied by sharp thorns and a thick black paste. This image was etched into my brain and it scared the sh*t out of me, but it also intrigued me. Hand and face tattoos in North Africa are Ncommon and not like your average wanker at the club in Hollywood. As crude as they looked, they have more symbolism and spiritual meaning, than your average tattoo in the modern world, which often means nothing more than “I got a tattoo, and I am a badass.” Anyways, enough of the BS and lets get to the point.
I’ve been beating down doors for 7 years in Hollywood, way before the Miami ink and L.A ink and all the other shows about tattoos on TV. I was trying to get networks to film a show about how I would break into the subcultures of indigenous tattoos worldwide no matter what nasty shit I had to eat, what new fever I would catch, or what hole I had to crap in with a leaf too small to wipe my ass. All these things would get me respect in certain tribes and cultures because I never pretend to be tougher than I was, and my humility and stupidity showed them I was only human.
With this, I finally found myself in all my tattooed glory, sitting in a lot of network boardroom meetings. This is when producers at Spike TV, who had a filthier mouths than me, said to me “do what you want, we don’t want to see the usual travel show. Get down and get f*cking dirty.” That was all I had to hear.
I wrote 13 ideas and countries down and we made the decision that the Borneo headhunters (episode 1), the yakuza in Tokyo (episode 2), and the sak yant tattoos made by the monks in Thailand (episode 3) would make the most compelling stories.
I’m not going lie to you, I lived in Japan and had my tangles with the Japanese mob as well as going to Thailand to collect tattoos by a dear friend who happens to be a monk, but I had never been to Borneo. Although everything I went through on the show was completely real, I never used my contacts in any country. It’s really important to me that I show you, the audience how over the last 30 years I was able to infiltrate and be accepted by different cultures, and not only that, but have had the honor of earning their mark, in a culture where money doesn’t mean a god damn thing, but your heart, your drinking abilities, killing the odd chicken or goat, and having the strength to eat the ceremonial sheep eye ball got me where I am today.
And here we are in the present in a very different world to the one I grew up in. And now all I need for my dreams to come true completely is for you f*ckers to tell Spike, “hey I like that bastard P.M. He is uglier than Ron Jeremy, funnier then Lisa Lampanelli and has the wit of Anthony Bourdain without his tribal armband. I’d let P.M spit in my face and then kiss me. Keep that c*nt on TV.”
Much luv n’ hate,